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Film: The Lost World
My brontosaurus has escaped. Keep off the streets until I recapture it.
The Lost World is a 1925 silent film adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 book of the same name. The movie was produced by First National Pictures, a large Hollywood studio at the time, and stars Wallace Beery as Professor Challenger. This version was directed by Harry O. Hoyt and featured pioneering stop motion special effects by Willis O'Brien (an invaluable warm up for his work on the original King Kong directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack). Writer Doyle appears in a frontispiece to the film. In 1998, the film was deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. The film can be seen here.

Every movie featuring dinosaurs, from the Godzilla movies to Jurassic Park owes a nod to this film, as it was the Trope Codifier for dinosaurs as movie monsters. Even King Kong can be seen as a remake of The Lost World.

Not to be confused with the 1997 movie The Lost World: Jurassic Park.


This film provides examples of:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Professor Challenger.
  • Anachronism Stew: Various species of prehistoric animals from different periods.
  • Ascended Extra: Challenger's butler Austin joins the expedition; in the novel, he's barely seen.
  • Badass: Professor Challenger.
    "My brontosaurus has escaped. Keep off the streets until I recapture it."
  • Beast Man: Apeman.
  • Berserk Button: Reporters for Prof. Challenger.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Challenger.
  • Break the Cutie: Paula is teased with the possibility that her father might still be alive, then falls for Ed, only for her father's corpse to be found later and Ed to have a fiance.
  • Bridge Logic
  • Bring It Back Alive: The expedition brings back a brontosaurus that survived the volcanic eruption.
  • Call to Adventure: Ed, who's looking for a way to prove himself as a real man, boldly accepts Professor Challenger's invitation to journey to the depths of the Amazon.
  • Cannibal Tribe: Appears in a deleted scene.
  • Canon Foreigner: Maple White was given a daughter as a love interest for Roxton (and then Malone who unintentionally steals her from him). She contributes almost nothing else.
  • Cringe Comedy: When Ed goes into his employer's office looking for a dangerous assignment, he immediately spills a bottle of ink all over a desk covered in papers, tries and fails to clean it up with a handkerchief, which he then wipes his face with, covering himself in ink as well, and on his way out he slips and falls headfirst through a closed door.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Jocko.
  • Frazetta Man: the expedition is stalked by an ape-man portrayed by an actor in a furry suit and makeup, and his buddy who's just a normal chimpanzee.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: Sir John Roxton
  • Intrepid Reporter: Edward Malone
  • Kaiju: The very first. That brontosaurus going on a destructive rampage through London was such a trendsetter.
  • Ptero Soarer: the first prehistoric creature shown in the film is a massive pterosaur that grabs a peccary and carries it to its perch to eat.
  • Public Domain: while certain restored version of the movie are owned by the organizations that oversaw them, the heavily-edited 60-minute version is in the public domain and can be found for free in many places online, usually without color tinting and featuring generic music.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: For sauropods we've got Brontosauruses/Apatosauruses and Brachiosaurus. For predators we've got an Allosaurus and a Tyrannosaurus rex. Other herbivores include Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Trachodon (Now Edmontosaurus). There's also the aforementioned Pteranodon/Pterodactyl. There's one non-stock dinosaur that deserves special note. Agathaumas today is a synonym for Triceratops, but here it was a separate animal, using Charles R. Knight's illustration as a guide. It gets the big fight scenes against the two large predators rather than Triceratops.


The Killer ShrewsPublic Domain Feature FilmsThe Lodger
Sky High 1922National Film RegistryThe Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Lady Windermere's FanFilms of the 1920sLes MisÚrables
Lost ContinentDinosaur MediaPlanet of the Dinosaurs

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