[box cover]

Lost Continent

Well, one positive thing might have come from this cheapie 1950s sci-fi flick. It's the births that resulted from backseat couplings when it played the drive-in circuit. Otherwise, this generic dinosaurs-menacing-modern-humans effort from 1951 is at best an example of the Poverty Row fare stereotypically associated with the genre's shopworn tropes — stock scientists and military men, gung-ho American jingoism and know-how, a written-in-a-weekend script, and dismal special effects.

After an experimental atomic-powered missile crashes on a plateau, a band of scientists and their military escorts track it to an isolated land populated by clay-animation dinosaurs. Cesar Romero (the Joker from TV's Batman) heads the cast, with Hugh "Ward Cleaver" Beaumont, John Hoyt, and Whit Bissell in tow. Reels of film are devoted to the adventurers rock-climbing past the same formations again and again. When they finally enter the verdant jungle where the tabletop monsters roam, a garish green tint is applied over the black-and-white film and the most astute member of the team remarks that it looks like someone "must have put a green bulb in the sun."

For a down-market ripoff of 1925's The Lost World, this outing from 26 years later displays no advances in dinosaur effects or cinematic ingenuity. So stick with the classic original, which has more dinosaurs, is more fun, and isn't as dull (plus, being a silent film, has better dialogue). 1951 was a watershed year for science fiction films, though fans looking for what played on screens that year are better served by The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Thing from Another World, When Worlds Collide, and The Man in the White Suit.

*          *          *

Image Entertainment's DVD release of Lost Continent presents an okay full-frame (1.33:1) print occasionally marred by some speckling and signs of wear. The DD 2.0 monaural audio is good but not very clean. An alternate audio track isolates the musical score for no good reason. We're also subjected to the original theatrical trailer plus trailers for Mesa of Lost Women, Teenage Dolls, The Brain From Planet Arous, Cat Women of the Moon, and H.G. Wells' Things to Come. Keep-case.

—Mark Bourne



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