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The Lost World (1925)
So you’ve seen Nosferatu, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Still bitten by the silent film bug? Well, if you’re looking for something a little lighter than the run-of-the-mill silent horror flicks, you can do no better than The Lost World. A unique tale coupled with wonderful special effects makes this a fun way to spend 69 minutes.
The Lost World begins with a expedition to South America. The expedition is going to search for a missing scientist who was thought to be trapped on a plateau run by the last remaining dinosaurs. Of course, the expedition also ends up being trapped on the plateau and spend the majority of the time dodging the carnivorous Allosaurus. After being rescued, they discover a brontosaurus stuck in a pile of mud. Being the infinite geniuses they are, they decide to take the dinosaur back to London with them. Of course, the brontosaurus escapes and wreaks havoc on the city. Mayhem ensues. The End.
This movie is flawed, but it doesn‘t hamper the movie experience too much. First of all, to label this a horror film would be like labeling Citizen Kane a “light drama”. The film wouldn’t even scare a small child. The film’s story is a little choppy, but that’s almost a given in many silent films. Also there are some lapses in logic (like the brontosaurus being more ferocious than the T-rex), but this actually makes the film more fun.
So, why should you watch this film? The special effects are impressive for the time. The dinosaurs are stop motion, but surprisingly, look more realistic than Godzilla ever did. The script is light, and often times comical. Phantom of the Opera it’s not, but it’s kind of like the Charlie Chaplin of horror flicks. It is enjoyable, funny, and leaves a smile on your face. So, go ahead, venture into The Lost World.
Yet another early film nearly lost due to the bungling and shortsightedness of early studio execs. The film was so successful that plans for a talkie remake were made - one stipulation of this being that the current silent version would be destroyed. It is not certain whether this was done, but it is known that the original negative is long gone.