City of Lost Men (1935)

(a.k.a. THE LOST CITY)
Article #1538 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-31-2005
Posting Date: 10-28-2005
Directed by Harry Revier
William ‘Stage’ Boyd, Kane Richmond, Claudia Dell

A madman named Zolok plans to take over the world with his electrical machine hidden in the African jungle.

At this point I’ve seen many of the classic serials – DAREDEVILS OF THE RED CIRCLE, GANG BUSTERS, SPY SMASHER, FLASH GORDON, THE CRIMSON GHOST, etc. So why is it that the one whose siren song I hearken to with the most affection is one of the cheesiest of the lot, THE LOST CITY? I don’t know; maybe I’m just perverse. It is, after all, the PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE of serials, loaded with bad acting and hilarious dialogue. Maybe it’s because I can actually tell all the characters apart, something that doesn’t happen very often with other serials. Maybe it’s just because the campy acting, bad dialogue, silly costumes and general air of cheapness holds my interest a lot more than non-stop action. I don’t know. The fact of the matter is that I just love that serial.

Heck, I even like this feature edit of the serial, though reportedly this is just one of several. Nevertheless, I do think that this serial-turned-feature does at least one thing right; rather than attempting to cram the whole serial into eighty minutes, it just grafts together the first three and a half episodes and then staples on the last ten minutes of the last episode. Does this result in an outrageous break in continuity? It sure does. The simple fact of the matter is, though, that I find this huge break of continuity much easier to bear than the flood of nonstop action of most other feature versions of serials. Besides, the best part of the original serial was the first few episodes and the ending anyway. And I do find it rather amusing that at this point my tolerance for the feature version of a serial runs in inverse proportion to the quality of the serial itself.

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