The Lost World (1960)

The Lost World
Directed by Irwin Allen
Written by Irwin Allen and Charles Bennett from the book by Arthur Conan Doyle
1960/USA
Irwin Allen Productions
First viewing/Amazon Instant

Professor George Edward Challenger: [to the people at the Zoological Institute] Live dinosaurs!

Lizards in dinosaur suits just don’t cut it.

The irascible Professor Challenger (Claude Rains) arrives in London to assault reporters and report to the Zoological Society.  He claims he glimpsed a world evolution passed by high atop a plateau in the Amazon.  Challenger needs money to return and prove his sighting was real.  Thus he collects a party including an adventurer (Michael Rennie), his admirer (Jill St. John) and her younger brother, and even the reporter he hit at the airport.

When he arrives in the Amazon, he collects a helicopter pilot (Fernando Lamas) who is investigating the death of his brother on a previous expedition and an offensively stereotypical greedy and cowardly Hispanic guide.  The party has adventure after adventure with dinosaurs and cannibal natives.  This being Irwin Allen, the whole thing is capped off with a fiery disaster.

Willis O’Brien was hired to do stop-motion animation for this film but budget woes meant none of his work made the screen.  As it is, we have some lizards, flicking their tongues helplessly, standing in for the dinosaurs.  The cast, a mixture of the great and some TV regulars, was burdened with some equally lame dialogue and could not save the movie.  There are some pretty nice shots of Iguazu Falls.

Trailer