Summer of Forgotten Horror – Week 13: The Lost Continent (1951)
Cast: Cesar Romero as Maj. Joe Nolan (Batman: The Movie)
Chick Chandler as Lt. Danny Wilson (Mr. Moto Takes a Chance)
John Hoyt as Michael Rostov (Star Trek, When Worlds Collide)
Hugh Beaumont as Robert Phillips (The Mole People, The Human Duplicators)
Whit Bissell as Stanley Briggs (I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Monster on the Campus)
Sid Melton as Sgt. Willie Tatlow (Captain Midnight)
Acquanetta as Native Girl (Captive Wild Woman, Jungle Woman)
Story by Carroll Young (Tarzan and the Leopard Women, Jungle Jim)
Screenplay by Richard H. Landau (The Black Hole, The Quatermass Xperiment)
Directed by Samuel Newfield (The Mad Monster, Dead Men Walk)
Plot: Our movie begins with a secret rocket test that ends with it crashing in the South Pacific. Three scientists (John Hoyt, Whit Bissell and High Beaumont) join a rescue mission headed up by ladies man Maj. Joe Nolan, the reluctant Lt. Danny Wilson and comic relief Sgt. Willie Tatlow. When their plane loses power and crashes on an island, they discover the rocket is there atop a mountain full of uranium and, yes, dinosaurs.
Personal Thoughts: On the surface, this movie would seem to have a lot going for it. A good cast with a younger Romero in the prime of his lady killer days portraying a good hero. You’ve got a questionable scientist, a weak one who you know should be wearing a red shirt for this mission and the comic relief. Add in a cameo appearance of Aquanetta as a pretty native girl and some dinosaurs and you should have a classic. Unfortunately, the script is a snooze fest with one of the longest plane rides this side of an Airport movie. However, when it comes to walking and climbing and more climbing, this flick is the winner (the word of the day is “padding”). And just how many cartons of cigarettes did these guys smoke during the movie? But let’s not forget the dinosaurs. Apparently, the Brontosaurus and Triceratops were really carnivores. And the T-Rex on the poster is nowhere to be seen. That said, the stop motion work isn’t horrible for the time and is actually quite graphic. The movie does switch over to a green tint for the mountain top sequences, which is also fun. But clocking in at nearly 85 minutes, this is a movie best played in the background as it never quite fulfills on the promises of the movie poster.
- The movie was shot in eleven days. About 10 ½ of those had to be of climbing and smoking.
- When Briggs falls to his death, the image of Rostov gradually disappears.
- Rostov is supposed to be Russian but John Hoyt speaks in what appears to be a German accent.
- Ever wondered what happened to the native girl and her brother? I guess we can assume she left after showing them the mountain.
- Hillary Brooke (Invaders from Mars, The Maze) received second billing as a love interest for Nolan despite only appearing in the film for a few minutes.
- Yes, there appeared to be one or two rock sets…shot from every angle possible…over and over again.
Availability: The Lost Continent is available on DVD at Amazon for less than $20. The print looks great, which helps you make it through the long sequences between the action. Check out the trailer on YouTube or watch it for free with either Spanish subtitles or in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version (sorry, no green tint here). It does cross over into the “so bad it’s good” category. This one isn’t quite forgotten but maybe it should be?