The Lost World (1960)

Article #983 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-23-2003
Posting Date: 4-21-2004
Directed by Irwin Allen
Featuring Claude Rains, Michael Rennie, Jill St. John

Professor Challenger organizes an expedition to a plateau which is inhabited by dinosaurs.

I’m not an Irwin Allen fan, but I do feel that he had a flair for eye candy and makes nice use of color at times. The movie is very easy to look at, and the slurpasaur scenes are certainly some of the better I’ve seen of that variety, so much so that I’d even forgive him using slurpasaurs if Willis O’Brien’s name hadn’t been hanging there in the credits to remind us of what could have been. What tries my patience is his handling of characters and actors; the movie is so overloaded with stock melodramatic characters and situations (love triangles, secret vendettas, etc.) that you look forward to the dinosaur scenes merely in the hope that it will distract us from the human characters. It’s depressing to see Claude Rains overacting in one of his rare bad performances; his dialogue is so florid and melodramatic that he would have been better off underplaying. I like Michael Rennie, but somehow I don’t quite buy him as a big-game hunter and adventurer. Other distractions include Jill St. John’s pink pants and poodle (two things she should have left at home), and somehow I find it truly annoying that the script makes Jay Novello’s character 1) a craven coward, 2) an incessant whiner, 3) a lip-smacking would-be rapist, 4) a greedy diamond hunter, and 5) a person who speaks with a foreign accent; any one of those qualities would probably guarantee his death before the final reel, and to heap them all on the same person is overdoing it more than just a little.

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