The Lost World (1960 film)

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The Lost World
Original 1960 theatrical poster
Directed by Irwin Allen
Produced by Irwin Allen
Cliff Reid
Screenplay by Irwin Allen
Charles Bennett
Based on Novel:
Arthur Conan Doyle
Starring Michael Rennie
Jill St. John
David Hedison
Claude Rains
Fernando Lamas
Music by Paul Sawtell
Bert Shefter
Cinematography Winton C. Hoch
Editing by Hugh S. Fowler
Studio Irwin Allen Productions
Distributed by 20th Century Fox (Worldwide, Current)
NBC (1963, TV)
Fox Video (1998, VHS)
BBC (2006, UK, TV)
Mill Creek Entertainment (2007, DVD)
Centfox (West Germany, 1960)
Emerald (2011, Argentina, DVD)
Release dates July 13, 1960 (USA)
Running time 97 min.
Country U.S.A.
Language English
Budget $1,515,000[1]
Box office $2,500,000 (US/ Canada)[2]

The Lost World is a 1960 fantasy adventure film based on the novel of the same name by Arthur Conan Doyle and directed by Irwin Allen. The plot of the film revolves around the exploration of a mysterious flat mountain (see Tepui) in the heart of unknown Venezuela inhabited by cannibalistic natives, dinosaurs, carnivorous plants, and giant spiders. The cast includes Claude Rains, David Hedison, Fernando Lamas, Jill St. John, and Michael Rennie.

Special effects for the film were rather simple and involved monitor lizards, iguanas, and crocodiles affixed with miniature horns and fins. Director Allen later stated that though he wanted stop motion models, he could only work with lizards and live creatures in accordance with the studio's budget. This technique has been given the nickname slurpasaur by fans. Though it received mixed reviews in its day, the film got constant runs on TV and Cable and is liked as one of Irwin Allen's earliest excursions into science fiction films and TV shows. Later he did make the jump to other sci-fi numbers (mostly on TV) while Doyle's tale got remade for TV and Video.


A professor leads a group of diverse characters to a remote plateau deep within the Amazonian jungle to investigate reports that living dinosaurs still exist there. Adventure ensues.


The boisterous, arrogant Professor Challenger (Claude Rains), a reputed biologist and anthropologist, dares the London Zoological Society to mount an expedition to verify his spectacular claim, without physical proof, that his previous expedition to the Amazon Basin found live dinosaurs. Apart from him and his 'socialite' counterpart, Professor Summerlee (Richard Haydn), the adventurous party consists of experienced discoverer Lord Roxton (Michael Rennie), the young reporter Ed Malone (David Hedison) - who got publicly struck down with Challenger's umbrella at his arrival - and Jennifer Holmes (Jill St. John), Malone's news agency's boss's daughter, who is allowed by her father to come essentially as one of the conditions for putting up the money. In Brazil they are joined by Jennifer's brother David (Ray Stricklyn) and local 'guide' Manuel Gomez (Fernando Lamas). They arrive by air, soon discover the dinosaurs and other creatures are real and dangerous ( their helicopter is incidentally destroyed by fighting dinosaurs), and the party is desperate to get off the isolated plateau. They learn Roxton knew about the fate of Burton White, an explorer whose diary they find, search for diamonds, and confirm that the local tribesmen are lethal guardians of the plateau's secrets. Additionally they learn Roxton accidentally killed Gomez' brother on a separate trip before this one, leaving Gomez hungry for revenge. During a volcanic eruption, they manage to escape from the plateau, carrying a Tyrannosaurus rex egg with them. The egg hatches when it is dropped by accident, and Professor Challenger resolves to take the infant dinosaur (here represented by a cosmetically altered gecko lizard) back to London with them.

Featured cast[edit]

  • Michael Rennie as Lord John Roxton — A member of the expedition and a confident gamekeeper who volunteers to join Professor Challenger into the Amazon, he is also a field equipment expert, who also shot the expedition's guide Gomez' brother years before.
  • Jill St. John as Jennifer Holmes — A disobedient member who is the daughter of Malone's boss, she disobeys Challenger's orders to stay off the expedition and also ventures into the Amazon, she takes her brother David Holmes with her much to Challenger's disapproval.
  • David Hedison as Ed Malone — A journalist who volunteers to become a member of the expedition, he is disliked by Challenger because of many journalists bothering Challenger with their non — stop questions, Malone eventually befriends Challenger when he rescues him from falling off a cliff.
  • Claude Rains as Professor George Edward Challenger — The head of the expedition who has a disliking of reporters, he takes an immediate dislike to Malone, promptly pushing the reporter down the steps of an airplane, Challenger eventually makes a truce with Malone when the reporter rescues him from a sheer drop over a cliff.
  • Fernando Lamas as Manuel Gomez — A guide and expedition of the team, he flies the expedition onto the plateau before trying to execute them because of the death of his brother who was killed by Roxton, Gomez eventually redeems himself when he sacrifices himself to pour lava onto a carnivorous dinosaur.
  • Richard Haydn as Professor Summerlee — A sarcastic raspy-voiced scientist, who joins the expedition, he is the rival of Challenger and Summerlee doesn't believe Challenger's theory of dinosaurs living on an Amazon Plateau, he quickly apologises to Challenger when he sees a dinosaur and Challenger forgives him.
  • Ray Stricklyn as David Holmes — The confident and brave brother of Jennifer Holmes and the son of Malone's boss Stuart Holmes, he sneaks into the Amazon with his disobedient elder sister much to Challenger's disapproval, and becomes a member of the expedition, and reluctantly gains Challenger's trust.
  • Jay Novello as Costa — Gomez' cowardly and selfish assistant who also guides the expedition into the plateau, he uses Gomez's plan to kill the expedition to take all of the diamonds hidden in the volcano for himself, he later receives his punishment when he scrambles for his spilt diamonds and is promptly devoured by a carnivorous dinosaur.
  • Ian Wolfe as Burton White — A professor who ventured into the Amazon Plateau a couple of years before Challenger's expedition did, he never returned but his diary with sketches of dinosaurs in them is discovered, White is later found by the expedition blind living in the core of a volcano, and he is presumably killed when it erupts.
  • | John Graham as Stuart Holmes — The boss of Edward Malone, owner of the Daily Gazzete, and the father of Jennifer and David Holmes, he allows Malone to venture onto the plateau with Challenger.
  • Colin Campbell as Prof. Waldron — The employer of Professor Challenger and Professor Summerlee, he organises the expedition that the two scientists agreed to go on.
  • Vitina Marcus as the Native Girl — A native girl found on the plateau by the expedition, she helps the expedition get into the volcano, find Burton White, and eventually point out to them an escape tunnel leading off the plateau.

Prehistoric Creatures[edit]


Irwin Allen utilized stock footage from this film for episodes of his various TV series, including Land of the Giants, Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. In 1966, Irwin Allen even tried to sell a TV series based on the film as he had done with Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea but was unsuccessful.[3] Stock footage was also used in the 1970 movie When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p252
  2. ^ "Rental Potentials of 1960", Variety, 4 January 1961 p 47. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
  3. ^ James Van Hise, Hot Blooded Dinosaur Movies, Pioneer Books Inc. 1993 Pg.157

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