Every giant monster movie ever made owes some kind of debt to The Lost World. While we pretty much take the sight of King Kong, Godzilla or the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms for granted, it was The Lost World that pioneered the giant monster running loose on the city genre. Although somewhat creaky by today’s standards, The Lost World still remains one of the best movies about dinosaurs ever made.
The brilliant Professor Challenger (Wallace Beery) is met with ridicule when he proclaims that there are still dinosaurs roaming the Earth. To prove his claims, he gathers together some people (a skeptic, a big game hunter, a reporter, and a hot chick) for an expedition to the mysterious South American plateau where dinosaurs still thrive. There they encounter pterodactyls, brontosauruses, an allosaurus, and a few triceratopses. Not only do they see dinosaurs, but the expedition also runs afoul of a clan of scary looking ape-men too. In the end, Professor Challenger brings a wounded brontosaurus back to
The Lost World has been remade and rehashed several times, but that doesn’t necessarily dilute it’s impact or importance. It was the first film to employ stop motion animation (a technique that would continuously be used for the next 50 odd years), and the film is worth checking out just for the special effects alone. While they may be slightly uneven (the brontosaurus and the triceratops are the most realistic), the animation still holds up well today. They were created by the great Willis O’Brien, who would later go on to do the effects for King Kong.
The film also has the distinction of being the first film ever shown on an airplane.