The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

THE LOST CITY (1935) *

A scientist (Kane Richmond) tries to figure out what is causing a rash of unexplained natural disasters around the globe and deduces that the epicenter of the incidents is coming from the unexplored jungles of Africa. There, William “Stage” Boyd is using his high-tech “brain destroyer” to turn the natives into mindless brutes. It turns out that the electrical fallout from his experiments is what’s causing the worldwide anomalies so Richmond goes to Africa to investigate. Shortly after arriving, he’s attacked by Boyd’s musclebound slaves and is brought to his “Lost City”. Boyd wants to turn Richmond’s mind into grape jelly, but after SEVERAL close calls, he and his comrades escape into the jungle where they have to deal with angry natives, greedy Arabs, hungry tigers, and a group of spider worshippers. The zenith of the zaniness comes when we learn that the “good” doctor has the ability to turn black people white, and here’s the kicker folks… the natives LINE UP for it.

Now we know where Michael Jackson was during those years between the Bad and Black or White albums.

Whether you catch this in it’s original 12 chapter serial format, or in one of it’s many condensed versions, The Lost City remains hilariously dated and filled with tons of racist sentiment. It doesn’t help that it’s boring as all get out either (especially if you watch all twelve chapters in one sitting as I did). The action is pretty slack, even for a low budget 30’s serial and the cliffhangers themselves are fairly weak.

Richmond makes for a bland hero, but it’s fun to watch Boyd go way over the top as the hopelessly uptight villain who dresses like a Flash Gordon extra. Too bad he disappears about halfway through. Roy Rogers’ sidekick George “Gabby” Hayes also turns up in a supporting role as Boyd’s rival, who also wants to make an army of automaton Africans. Easily the best thing about The Lost City is the cool, complex, electrical equipment that was provided by Kenneth Strickfaden, the man who created all the electric gadgetry for Frankenstein.

The Lost City as a whole is a ho-hum and forgettable experience, but what ISN’T forgettable is the hateful, racist dialogue such as “I have big news! White men are coming this way!”, “That sounds like a white girl’s voice!”, “I’ll control his brain, even if I have to make him a white giant!”, “A white man? You’re yellow!”

AKA: The Lost City of the Ligurians.
Tags: l, serial
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