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THE LOST WORLD ($25) is one of the great classic adventures of the silent film era, and certainly far more entertaining than the Steven Spielberg atrocity that bore the same name. Of course Willis O’Brien’s stop motion special effects appear primitive and crude when compared to what can be done today, but this is still a better made movie by any standard. The plot of the 1925 edition of THE LOST WORLD centers on an expedition to a plateau on the South American continent, where dinosaurs are still believed to exist. The scientists do discover living dinosaurs and manage to capture a live brontosaurus. The creature is brought back to London to prove the existence of living dinosaurs, but escapes and tears up much of London during the film’s climax. I feel that the 1925 edition of THE LOST WORLD is a true treasure amongst silent films. This silent classic deserves to be seen for both its entertaining story and for Willis O’Brien’s pioneering stop motion special effects. Without Willis O’Brien, much of movie history would have been radically altered. O’Brien brought King Kong to life and served as the inspiration for later stop motion masters such as Ray Harryhausen. The cast of THE LOST WORLD features Wallace Beery, Alma Bennet, George Bunny, Lewis Stone, Arthur Hoyt and Charles Wellesley.

Lumivision has produced this edition of THE LOST WORLD several years ago for Laserdisc with the cooperation of the George Eastman House, from the best surviving 35mm and 16mm materials. Since this edition was produced, additional footage cut from THE LOST WORLD has been discovered, but is in desperate need of restoration before it can be incorporated back into the film. Unfortunately, funding for the restoration is still required, so it may be years before a more complete edition of THE LOST WORLD will be released. This shorter version of THE LOST WORLD remains a marvel and is certain to please fans. The quality of the film elements for THE LOST WORLD is fairly good, especially for a film from 1925, which a major studio hasn’t carefully preserved. The film isn’t pristine, but remains entirely enjoyable. The transfer features a fairly detailed image and reasonably good black and white contrast. Sequences have been tinted to recapture the feeling of an original theatrical presentation. Digital compression artifacts were never bothersome on this DVD.

The Dolby Digital soundtrack is two channel stereo and offers a pleasant musical accompaniment for the film.

As supplement, Lumivision has included an original trailer, promotional materials, excerpts from Willis O’Brien’s shorts, a still frame library, short films O’Brien made for Edison and technical notes.

THE LOST WORLD is a great silent film, and this DVD is the best way to enjoy it.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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