The Lost World (Harry O. Hoyt, 1925, USA)

The Lost World is arguably the first monster movie ever made, paving the way for King Kong, Godzilla, and countless others. The film was directed by Harry O. Hoyt and is probably his most well-known film credit. One of the first female screenwriters, Marion Fairfax, was responsible for the film's script. The film was based on Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 novel and was produced by First National Pictures, the independent studio which threatened the majors in the 1910s and 1920s by signing major contracts with stars like Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford. The real star of the film however is special effects and stop-motion pioneer Willis O'Brien, who would later go on to make King Kong. The film was the first feature-length film ever to use stop-motion animation, and it is still a joy to watch this animation.

The story itself and the performances are rather pedestrian. Nothing stands out of the film formally. The dinosaurs arrive about halfway through the film, and from then on the film delivers on its special effects promises - we get lots of brontosauruses, T-rexes, and plenty of other creatures. 

As with most silent films, the effectiveness of the film largely depends on which score is accompanying the film. The score we watched the film with was composed of repeating classical cues that did not particularly match the events going on onscreen. The highlight of the film is truly the finale when the T-rex heads to London. Unfortunately, this segment of the film is far too short. Still, it is fun to see the T-rex stomping around various sites in London. This wouldn't happen again until the British version of Godzilla arrived on screens in the 1960s. Overall, The Lost World is an at-times impressive, at-times dated example of special effects cinema from a bygone age. 



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