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 The Lost World
by 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
Edited by Hugh S. Fowler
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
July 13, 1960 (U.S.)
Running time
97 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,515,000[1]
Box office $2,500,000 (US/ Canada)[2]

The Lost World is a 1960 De Luxe Color and a CinemaScope fantasy adventure film loosely 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 flat mountain in Venezuela inhabited by cannibals, dinosaurs, carnivorous plants, and giant spiders. The cast includes Claude Rains, David Hedison, Fernando Lamas, Jill St. John, and Michael Rennie.


Professor Challenger (Claude Rains), a famed biologist and anthropologist, reports to the London Zoological Society that he has discovered living specimens of supposedly extinct animals, including dinosaurs, on an expedition to the Amazon Basin and up a plateau that time forgot..

Much to Challenger's dismay, he has attracted a few very unscientific people to join him on his second journey to the Amazon. This expedition group includes big game hunter Lord John Roxton (Michael Rennie), newsman Ed Malone (David Hedison) whose publisher advances $100,000 to pay for the expedition. The publisher's adventurous daughter, Jennifer (Jill St. John) and son David join the group at the head of the Amazon. Also, in the group is a Zoological Society bigwig (Richard Haydn), helicopter pilot Gomez (Fernando Lamas) and sidekick Jose Costa (Jay Novello).

First night on the plateau, a dinosaur wrecks the helicopter. As the expedition proceeds, Malone chases a primitive jungle girl (Vitina Marcus) through cobwebs to a giant spider. Roxton argues with the others, and jealousies over Jennifer leads to a fistfight between Malone and Roxton. They discover a diary of a previous explorer, Burton, who was lost on the plateau. Roxton is mentioned several times in the diary. Roxton reveals that he had visited the plateau years before, and claims the plateau holds a bounty of diamonds.

At one point, Malone and Jennifer are separated from the others and have a near death encounter with two battling dinosaurs. Cannibals kidnap the cast but before they can become dinner the jungle girl leads them to a passage that leads down the plateau. Along the way, they encounter Burton, now living as a blind hermit. More obstacles: the cannibals are chasing them, spider plants, the “graveyard of the damned,” and a dinosaur in a lava pit guarding the diamonds. During a volcanic eruption, they escape from the plateau carrying the egg of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The egg hatches when it is dropped by accident, and Professor Challenger decides to take the infant dinosaur back to London with them.

Featured cast[edit]

  • Michael Rennie as Lord John Roxton — An experienced big-game hunter who joins the expedition.
  • Jill St. John as Jennifer Holmes — The daughter of the owner of the Global News.
  • David Hedison as Ed Malone — A journalist at the Global News who volunteers to join the expedition.
  • Claude Rains as Professor George Edward Challenger — The short-tempered leader of the expedition.
  • Fernando Lamas as Manuel Gomez — The expedition's helicopter pilot.
  • Richard Haydn as Professor Summerlee — A rival of Challenger's who joins the expedition.
  • Ray Stricklyn as David Holmes — The brother of Jennifer Holmes and the son of Malone's boss Stuart Holmes.
  • Jay Novello as Costa — Gomez's assistant who also guides the expedition into the plateau.
  • Ian Wolfe as Burton White — A professor who visited the Amazon Plateau before Challenger's expedition.
  • John Graham as Stuart Holmes — Edward Malone's employer and the father of Jennifer and David Holmes.
  • Colin Campbell as Prof. Waldron who organises the expedition.
  • Vitina Marcus as the Native Girl.


In 1959 Allen purchased the rights to Doyle's novel for $100,000. He wanted to make the film with Trevor Howard, Peter Ustinov, Victor Mature and Gilbert Roland (who had been in the 1924 film). He hired Charles Bennett to help him adapt the book into script form and got Willis O'Brien, who worked on the 1924 film, to do models. He said he wanted to start filming on 15 October 1959.[3]

Allen eventually received financing to make the film from Buddy Adler, head of production at 20th Century Fox.[4]

Allen said he wanted to cast Trevor Howard and Peter Ustinov in support to Rains.[3]

Special effects for the film were rather basic 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.[citation needed]


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.[5] Stock footage was also used in the 1970 movie When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.

Comic book adaptation[edit]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ a b LOCAL FILM VIEWS: Return to 'The Lost World' Planned -- New Indian Drama -- Other Items By A. H. WEILER. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 28 June 1959: X7.
  4. ^ Entertainment Films Stage Music: Adler Signs Allen for 'Lost World' Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 01 Oct 1959: B12
  5. ^ James Van Hise, Hot Blooded Dinosaur Movies, Pioneer Books Inc. 1993 Pg.157
  6. ^ "Dell Four Color #1145". Grand Comics Database. 
  7. ^ Dell Four Color #1145 at the Comic Book DB

External links[edit]