The Lost World (1925)

108 mins | Adventure, Fantasy | 22 June 1925

Full page view
HISTORY

A cast list in the Nov 1925 Pictures and Picturegoers and a photograph in the 13 Dec 1924 Exhibitors Trade Review identified actress Virginia Browne Faire as “Marquette,” a native girl, but she is not listed in film credits. Credits do include Alma Bennett in the role of “Gladys Hungerford,” the fiancée of “Ed Malone,” but her character was not in the abridged sixty-six-minute copy viewed for the Summary. Nor was the original introduction by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of The Lost World. There were also no production credits.
       The character of “Paula White” did not exist in Conan Doyle’s original story, but was added to the film to provide romantic interest. Also, Conan Doyle’s literary expedition brought a pterodactyl, not a brontosaurus, back to London, England. The film omitted a significant subplot about warring tribes of apemen and primitive humans.
       According to the 10 Jan 1925 Motion Picture World, 31 Jan 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review, and Apr 1925 Pictures and Picturegoers, co-producer Watterson R. Rothacker, founder of the Chicago, IL-based Rothacker Film Manufacturing Company, worked for seven years to bring The Lost World to the screen. He bought the screen rights, conducted research on dinosaurs, and experimented with photographic effects to bring nonexistent creatures to life. The non-miniature scenes of London were shot on a 220-yards-long studio set, using 2,000 people and many moving buses and automobiles, supervised by five assistant directors, as eighteen cameras rolled. A full-page advertisement in the Jul 1925 AmCin touted the use of sixteen Bell & Howell cameras in filming The Lost World, ...

More Less

A cast list in the Nov 1925 Pictures and Picturegoers and a photograph in the 13 Dec 1924 Exhibitors Trade Review identified actress Virginia Browne Faire as “Marquette,” a native girl, but she is not listed in film credits. Credits do include Alma Bennett in the role of “Gladys Hungerford,” the fiancée of “Ed Malone,” but her character was not in the abridged sixty-six-minute copy viewed for the Summary. Nor was the original introduction by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of The Lost World. There were also no production credits.
       The character of “Paula White” did not exist in Conan Doyle’s original story, but was added to the film to provide romantic interest. Also, Conan Doyle’s literary expedition brought a pterodactyl, not a brontosaurus, back to London, England. The film omitted a significant subplot about warring tribes of apemen and primitive humans.
       According to the 10 Jan 1925 Motion Picture World, 31 Jan 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review, and Apr 1925 Pictures and Picturegoers, co-producer Watterson R. Rothacker, founder of the Chicago, IL-based Rothacker Film Manufacturing Company, worked for seven years to bring The Lost World to the screen. He bought the screen rights, conducted research on dinosaurs, and experimented with photographic effects to bring nonexistent creatures to life. The non-miniature scenes of London were shot on a 220-yards-long studio set, using 2,000 people and many moving buses and automobiles, supervised by five assistant directors, as eighteen cameras rolled. A full-page advertisement in the Jul 1925 AmCin touted the use of sixteen Bell & Howell cameras in filming The Lost World, especially “double exposures” cameras that allowed actors to interact with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. Chief technician Fred W. Jackman, normally a director, supervised the special effects scenes, assisted by Homer Scott and J. D. Jennings, according to the Jan 1925 and Aug 1925 editions of AmCin. The stop-motion action was created by Willis O’Brien, who was later responsible for the effects in King Kong (1933, see entry). King Kong followed the basic story line of The Lost World.
       The 24 Jan 1925 Moving Picture World noted that The Lost World was being titled and edited under Earl Hudson’s supervision.
       Several sources, including the 17 Jan 1925 and 21 Feb 1925 issues of Moving Picture World, reported that the world premiere was held at the Tremont Temple Theatre in Boston, MA, on 2 Feb 1925, and that the film opened six days later, on 8 Feb 1925, at the Astor Theatre in New York City. The 7 Feb 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review ran an illustrated article on the “Heavy Pulling Power” of the film’s dramatic posters, which displayed what appeared to be an Allosaurus or Tyrannosaurus Rex terrorizing Londoners. Newspaper reviews, which focused mainly on visual effects, were glowing, and the film broke attendance records wherever it was shown, according to the 17 Oct 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review.
       Before the release of The Lost World, Earl Hudson told the 19 Nov 1924 FD that he intended to make a sequel, but the project did not come to fruition.
       The Lost World was voted one of the “Top Best Features” of 1925 by the 1929 Film Daily Year Book, as reported in the 7 Feb 1930 FD.
       Conan Doyle’s The Strand magazine series and subsequent novel were also the basis for the 1960 Twentieth Century-Fox production The Lost World, directed by Irwin Allen and starring Michael Rennie and Jill St. John (see entry). In 1997, Steven Spielberg directed the similarly-themed The Lost World: Jurassic Park (see entry), but it was adapted from novelist Michael Crichton’s sequel to his own Jurassic Park, not Conan Doyle’s original.
       In 1998, the Library of Congress selected The Lost World for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. There have been a couple of restorations using Czech National Film Archive source materials, but neither included the entire original film. In 2001, Image Entertainment released the first of these, a restored ninety-three-minute version that included special features, such as animation outtakes.

Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Jan 1925
p. 7
American Cinematographer
Apr 1925
p. 7
American Cinematographer
Jul 1925
p. 26
American Cinematographer
Aug 1925
p. 12
Exhibitors Trade Review
4 Oct 1924
p. 13
Exhibitors Trade Review
1 Nov 1924
p. 45
Exhibitors Trade Review
13 Dec 1924
p. 16
Exhibitors Trade Review
27 Dec 1924
p. 103
Exhibitors Trade Review
31 Jan 1925
p. 20
Exhibitors Trade Review
7 Feb 1925
p. 42
Exhibitors Trade Review
14 Feb 1925
p. 3
Exhibitors Trade Review
28 Feb 1925
p. 38
Exhibitors Trade Review
19 Sep 1925
p. 8
Exhibitors Trade Review
17 Oct 1925
p. 31
Film Daily
19 Nov 1924
p. 1
Film Daily
24 Dec 1924
p. 7
Film Daily
15 Feb 1925
p. 6
Film Daily
7 Feb 1930
p. 8
Life
5 Mar 1925
p. 24
Moving Picture World
10 Jan 1925
p. 127
Moving Picture World
17 Jan 1925
p. 275
Moving Picture World
24 Jan 1925
p. 382
Moving Picture World
21 Feb 1925
p. 808
New York Times
9 Feb 1925
p. 15
Pictures and Picturegoer
Apr 1925
p. 12
Pictures and Picturegoer
Nov 1925
p. 35
Variety
11 Feb 1925
p. 31
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
First National Pictures, Inc. Presents
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Stupendous Story of Adventure and Romance
By arrangement with Watterson R. Rothacker
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Editorial dir
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Spec eff cam
J. D. Jennings
Spec eff cam
Spec eff cam
Spec eff cam
ART DIRECTORS
Willis H. O'Brien
Tech dir
Art dir-architecture
PRODUCTION MISC
Fred W. Jackman
Chief technician
Willis H. O'Brien
Research
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on The Strand magazine serial and novel The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (London, 1912).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 June 1925
Premiere Information:
Boston, MA, world premiere: 2 Feb 1925; New York opening: 8 Feb 1925
Production Date:

Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
First National Pictures, Inc.
24 January 1925
LP21068
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
108
Length(in feet):
9,700
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

When Edward E. “Ed” Malone, reporter for the Record-Journal in London, England, begs for a “dangerous assignment” to impress his fiancée, managing editor Colin McArdle sends him to the Zoological Hall, where Professor Challenger is presenting a paper to disbelieving students and faculty that details his recent South American expedition. Challenger is antagonistic toward the press for ridiculing his assertion that a “lost world” of prehistoric creatures exists on a nearly inaccessible “great plateau” above the jungle. During his presentation, Challenger asks for volunteers to join him on a new expedition to prove his claim and find his colleague, Maple White, who disappeared on the plateau. Thanks to his friendship with big game hunter Sir John Roxton, Ed Malone convinces the professor to include him on the expedition, and then gets the Record-Journal to finance the expedition in return for exclusive story rights. Challenger introduces Ed to Maple White’s daughter, Paula, who was in the Amazon when her father disappeared. She did not make it to the plateau due to illness. Challenger, Roxton, Ed, Professor Summerlee, Paula White, her pet capuchin monkey named Jacko, Challenger’s butler Austin, and an Indian named Zambo travel to the upper reaches of the Amazon. Leaving Austin and Zambo below, the five, along with Jacko, climb to the plateau. All but the capuchin are trapped when a brontosaurus tips their log bridge into a chasm. Penetrating the jungle, the explorers encounter an apeman, a flying pteranodon, and dozens of lumbering dinosaurs. During one of several battles between dinosaurs, a brontosaurus is pushed over a cliff and lands in a muddy river below. Although John Roxton expresses ...

More Less

When Edward E. “Ed” Malone, reporter for the Record-Journal in London, England, begs for a “dangerous assignment” to impress his fiancée, managing editor Colin McArdle sends him to the Zoological Hall, where Professor Challenger is presenting a paper to disbelieving students and faculty that details his recent South American expedition. Challenger is antagonistic toward the press for ridiculing his assertion that a “lost world” of prehistoric creatures exists on a nearly inaccessible “great plateau” above the jungle. During his presentation, Challenger asks for volunteers to join him on a new expedition to prove his claim and find his colleague, Maple White, who disappeared on the plateau. Thanks to his friendship with big game hunter Sir John Roxton, Ed Malone convinces the professor to include him on the expedition, and then gets the Record-Journal to finance the expedition in return for exclusive story rights. Challenger introduces Ed to Maple White’s daughter, Paula, who was in the Amazon when her father disappeared. She did not make it to the plateau due to illness. Challenger, Roxton, Ed, Professor Summerlee, Paula White, her pet capuchin monkey named Jacko, Challenger’s butler Austin, and an Indian named Zambo travel to the upper reaches of the Amazon. Leaving Austin and Zambo below, the five, along with Jacko, climb to the plateau. All but the capuchin are trapped when a brontosaurus tips their log bridge into a chasm. Penetrating the jungle, the explorers encounter an apeman, a flying pteranodon, and dozens of lumbering dinosaurs. During one of several battles between dinosaurs, a brontosaurus is pushed over a cliff and lands in a muddy river below. Although John Roxton expresses his love for Paula, she is attracted to the much younger Ed Malone, and they develop a relationship. When the explorers find safety in a cave from a vicious allosaurus, John Roxton discovers Maple White’s remains, along with a pocket watch, which he gives to Paula. He also finds a natural tunnel that ends midway down a cliff, where he is able to call out to Zambo and Austin below. They send Paula’s capuchin, Jacko, scrambling up the cliff with a rope, allowing the trapped explorers to pull up a ladder made of vines and make their descent, just as a volcanic eruption sets the jungle on fire. Seeing the fallen brontosaurus stuck in the mud, Challenger decides to bring in a dredge, cage the dinosaur on a raft, and float it down the Amazon during the upcoming rains to prove to the world it exists. However, in London, the brontosaurus escapes when its cage is dropped on the dock. The creature terrorizes the city and smashes buildings until its weight collapses a section of the Tower Bridge, dropping it into the Thames River. As the dinosaur swims toward the ocean, Ed and Paula ride off together in a cab, and John Roxton, always the sportsman, wishes them well.

Less

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

Gone with the Wind

[ Note from the Editors : the following information is based on contemporary news items, feature articles, reviews, interviews, memoranda and corporate records. Information obtained from modern sources ... >>

Androcles and the Lion

The onscreen title card reads: "Gabriel Pascal presents Bernard Shaw's Androcles and the Lion ." Although Shaw's play is set in 150 A.D., during the reign of Antoninus ... >>

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Michelle Bjornas, a student at ... >>

The Joint Is Jumpin'

The above credits were taken from an incomplete print of the film. The synopsis was based on the original dialogue continuity contained in the NYSA. Although the screen credits ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.