In the first film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel, Wallace Beery stars as explorer Professor Challenger, who claims that dinosaurs still rule the Earth in the Amazon. And so, as no one believes him, he sets off with a gang of explorers, heading off to the South American jungle in search of the prehistoric creatures.
The old tale, the iconic cast and the antique special effects are still appealing in director Harry O Hoyt’s fast-moving and enjoyable 1925 silent film version of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story. It also stars Bessie Love as fellow explorer Maple White’s daughter Paula, Lewis Stone as renowned hunter Sir John Roxton, and Lloyd Hughes as newspaper reporter Ed Malone.
It is notable for its pioneering special effects, research and technical direction, all achieved by the 1933 King Kong supremo, Willis O’Brien. And it is remarkable that author Arthur Conan Doyle enjoys a cameo as himself. Conan Doyle attended a screening of the movie with his family and liked it. It is shot in black and white by Arthur Edeson but there is hand-colored tinting and toning. Marion Fairfax wrote the screenplay.
A 1991 version runs only 64 minutes, but the film is now restored in 2000 at 93 minutes with a new score. It is in the public domain.
Also in the cast are Alma Bennett, Arthur Hoyt, Margaret McWade, Bull Montana, Frank Smiles, Jules Cowles, George Bunny and Charles Wellesley.
It was remade by Irwin Allen as a talkie in 1960, with Claude Rains, Michael Rennie and David Hedison.
You can view it free now on the Internet Archive.
© Derek Winnert 2017 Classic Movie Review 5121
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