The Lost World, dir. by Harry O. Hoyt

The Lost World is a shameless rip-off of King Kong – though, as with say Robert Walser, curiously it was made before it. Unlike Robert Walser, however, I can’t say it’s preferable to the succeeding original.

* Contains spoilers – though, to be honest, this resume may be more interesting than the film itself *

The plot: a man claims to have discovered a lost world in the Brazilian jungle, where dinosaurs still roam the Earth. He gets together an expedition to visit said lost world, whose party includes one attractive young man and one attractive young lady. This expedition then finds said lost world, along with the dinosaurs which inhabit it. The members of the expedition subsequently “kidnap” a brontosaurus, which they then transport back to London intending to put it on display, but the brontosaurus escapes and runs amok through the city, causing diverse damage to buildings.

The differences to King Kong are as follows: the brontosaurus does not fall in love with the leading lady; the brontosaurus is not killed at the end.

As exciting as all this sounds, The Lost World is one of those films which (much like a lot of contemporary literature) attempts to remove any possible interest the viewer might have in the events he is watching. The build-up to the expedition is entirely tedious; the romance is sorely lacking in spirit; almost nothing of interest happens once they get to the lost world: we are merely treated to a succession of Allosauruses attacking a variety of other dinosaurs; nobody is killed; nobody even seems to suffer any great emotion; the girl’s father -who was left behind on the previous expedition and whom ostensibly they have set out to rescue – in a marvellous moment of anticlimax is simply discovered as a skeleton; and – as I said before – the brontosaurus neither falls in love nor is killed – he merely swims off down the Thames.

The only good part of this film is when the brontosaurus maraudes round London and knocks over a few buildings.

6 thoughts on “The Lost World, dir. by Harry O. Hoyt

  1. Regardless of your view on this film you got ONE thing wrong…

    The Lost Wrold (1925) CAME before King Kong (1933). The novel is even older (1912). If anything, King Kong is the rip-off. What worries me is that you couldn’t even tell which film is older (TLW is silent while KK is in sound).

  2. Oh, nevermind. You stated obvioulsy that the TLW was made before Kong. My apologies. Still doesn’t change that Kong is still technically the rip-off in this situation.

  3. Hi Alex

    Yes, sorry about that – it’s a sort of in-joke about the nature of influence; how things that are rip-offs are seen as originals (like Franz Kafka), and then people like to base their claim to greatness on their originality.

    It was interesting how particularly the whole latter part of The Lost World was so obviously copied in King Kong.

  4. Canny choice of monster in King Kong I think which allowed the animators to go to town.

    Brontosaruses don’t have such expressive hands as gorillas – they don’t even appear to have hands.

    But it would be entertaining to see a Beauty & the Beast relationship between Fay Wray and a diplodocus.

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