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Friday, July 25, 2014

The Lost World (1925)

The Lost World is not only a great adventure story, it’s a technical marvel as well.  The stars of this show are definitely the men who made the dinosaurs come alive in this adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel.  The two main players in this special effects extravaganza are Marcel Delgado and Willis H. O’Brein, both uncredited.  Remarkably, this was Delgado’s first picture.  He vastly improved the techniques used in model building to make them appear as life-like as possible.  Delgado would later wow audiences with King Kong (1933), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), and Fantastic Voyage (1966).

O’Brien was the special effects person who helped to bring the dinosaurs to life.  He would work again with Delgado on King Kong (1933) and Mighty Joe Young (1949).  Most notably he worked with a young apprentice on Mighty Joe Young by the name of Ray Harryhausen [Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts] who would become a legend in the special effects world himself.

Credit also has to be given to cinematographer Arthur Edeson [Frankenstein, The Invisible Man] who was one of the best in the business and director Harry O. Hoyt who has numerous writing and directing credits to his name.  Hoyt was able to get a more natural acting style from his actors instead of the big gestured, melodramatic approach that was favored in many silent films of the era. Among the standouts in terms of acting were Lewis Stone whole played a big game hunter, Lloyd Hughes who played a young ambitious reporter, and Bessie Love his love interest who tried her best not to be the “helpless hysterical girl” that was so prevalent in early movies.

If you’ve never watched many silent movies, this is a great place to start.  It is very accessible to modern audiences and is the perfect example of how inventive and visionary some of these early films were.  A definite must-see.

RATING: Excellent.
 

A copy of the film can be downloaded for free at Archive.org.

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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