Lost Continent (1951 film)
|Directed by||Sam Newfield|
|Produced by||Jack Leewood
Robert L. Lippert
|Written by||Orville H. Hampton
Richard H. Landau
Carol Young (story)
|Edited by||Philip Cahn|
|Distributed by||Lippert Pictures Inc.|
Lost Continent is a 1951 American black-and-white science fiction film from Lippert Pictures, produced by Jack Leewood, Robert L. Lippert and Sigmund Neufeld, directed by Sam Newfield (brother of producer Sigmund Neufeld), and starring Cesar Romero, Hillary Brooke, Chick Chandler, Sid Melton, Hugh Beaumont and John Hoyt.
An expedition is sent to the South Pacific to search for a missing atomic-powered rocket in order to retrieve the vital scientific data recorded aboard. On an uncharted island they discover more than their rocket, now crashed atop a mysterious plateau: they find a lost jungle world populated by prehistoric dinosaurs.
Maj. Joe Nolan (Cesar Romero) is the head of an expedition to the South Pacific to retrieve an atomic-powered rocket that vanished without a trace. Their aircraft mysteriously crash-lands on a remote, unknown tropical island in the area where the rocket was lost on radar. They find only two occupants left of the island, a native woman (Acquanetta) and her young son. The woman indicates something fell from the sky atop a forbidding, cloud-shrouded plateau that dominates a part of the island; the rocket's arrival caused the rest of the native population to abandon the island.
Despite numerous obstacles (one of their number is accidentally killed on the ascent) and long, long stretches of tedious rock climbing, the expedition finally reaches the top of the escarpment. Emerging from the toxic, poisonous gas cloud cover, they discover a lush, prehistoric jungle inhabited by various dinosaurs and a large field of uranium, which has sabotaged their electronic tracking equipment. A second member of the expedition is killed during their search of the plateau, gored to death by an angry Triceratops; more danger follows before the rocket's crash site is finally discovered.
Only four members of the expedition manage to return to the island's flatland with the rocket's critical component. This proves to be just in time to escape the island using a native outrigger canoe. The survivors watch from a distance as the island is first rocked by violent Earthquakes and then the catastrophic eruption of the island's formerly dormant volcano, which finally destroys everything: prehistoric jungle, dinosaurs and all.
Lost Continent was a low-budget independent film shot in just 11 days from April 13 to late April 1951 at Goldwyn Studios. Black-and-white footage set atop the prehistoric escarpment was tinted a mint-green color on all theatrical release prints to produce an eerie, other-worldly effect. The general plotline of the film strongly resembles that of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel, The Lost World.
Lost Continent was not able to overcome its low-budget origins despite having former screen idol Cesar Romero in a leading role. A later review clearly identified the main issue: " . . . a good third of the movie is spent showing our characters climbing the same styrofoam set prop from different angles, it is fitting. The pacing is pretty slow: the first twenty minutes is spent introducing the characters; the next 20 is spent having them climb up a mountain, and then jamming what little action there is into the remaining run time—all of which you would have seen in the trailer" 
Lost Continent was featured in a season 2 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank taunted Joel Robinson before the film began with the words "Rock Climbing." In a host segment Michael J. Nelson portrayed actor Hugh Beaumont as a member of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse).
- Warren 1982, pp. 151–163.
- "Original print information: 'Lost Continent' (1951)." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: February 3, 2015.
- Ulmer, Jeff. "Image Entertainment presents 'Lost Continent' (1951)." digitallyobsessed.com, December 6, 2001. Retrieved: February 3, 2015.
- The Lost Continent at the Internet Movie Database
- Original soundtrack from the film score released by the "Monstrous Movie Music" label (sound samples available)