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My brontosaurus has escaped. Keep off the streets until I recapture it.
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The Lost World is a 1925 silent film directed by Harry O. Hoyt. It is an 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,note  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 (1933) 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.

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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 (1933) can be seen as a remake of The Lost World.

Not to be confused with the 1997 movie The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which borrows quite a few plot points to The Lost World nonetheless.


This film provides examples of:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder
  • Adapted Out: The traitorous "half-breeds" Gomez and Manuel, and the entire backstory about Roxton having killed Gomez's brother. Gomez may have appeared in the deleted sequence involving the cannibal tribe, however.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Gladys' last name is changed from Hungerton to Hungerford, and the man she marries while Malone is away, named William Potts in the novel, has been rechristened Percy Potts here in the movie.
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  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Professor Challenger is more of an adventurer paleontologist.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: An Agathaumas kills an Allosaurus in battle, only to fall victim to the bigger and more powerful Tyrannosaurus.
  • Anachronism Stew: Various species of prehistoric animals from different periods coexist in the plateau, including the Late Jurassic Brontosaurus and Allosaurus, the Late Cretaceous Trachodon, Triceratops and Pteranodon, and a primitive hominid, which evolved in the Pliocene.
  • Ascended Extra: Challenger's butler Austin joins the expedition; in the novel, he's barely seen.
  • Beast Man: An Apeman that looks like a hairy human with sharp teeth stalks the expedition on the plateau and causes some trouble.
  • Behemoth Battle: The film features plenty of stop motion dinosaur fights. An Allosaurus gets to fight a Trachodon, a mother Triceratops and an Agathaumas (which is treated as a separate species from Triceratops). The last one kills the Allosaurus, only to be killed by an even bigger Tyrannosaurus rex.
  • Berserk Button: Reporters for Prof. Challenger.
  • Blackface: Zambo, the black expedition member, is played by white actor Jules Cowles in blackface makeup. This was 1925, when blackface wasn't seen as offensive yet by the general public.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Challenger.
  • Break the Cutie: Paula is teased with the possibility that her father might still be alive, then falls for Malone, only for her father's bones to be found later and Ed to have a fiance.
  • Bridge Logic: The expedition gets to the plateau from another cliff by crossing a cut-down tree, which then gets tossed down by a Brontosaurus, trapping them on the plateau.
  • Bring It Back Alive: The expedition brings back a Brontosaurus that survived the volcanic eruption.
  • Call to Adventure: Malone, 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, Paula, as a love interest for Roxton (and then Malone who unintentionally steals her from him). While she's a typical passive female for most of the expedition, she plays a crucial role in how they escape the plateau: by calling Jocko the monkey, who carries a rope ladder up for them.
  • Cringe Comedy: When Malone 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.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: The whole reason Malone went on the expedition was to impress Gladys, who marries Percy Potts while he's away. He does however win the hand of Paula - but since Paula was engaged to Roxton, now it's Roxton who doesn't get the girl.
  • Dumb Dinos: Most of the dinosaurs spend their screentime attacking and killing each other and humans, including the herbivorous Brontosaurus (though it only attacks humans during its rampage in London, which actually would be a realistic scenario for a large animal in a place it would find unsettling). The Allosaurus, for example, goes on to kill a Triceratops immediately after it has killed and eaten a Trachodon. However, a moment with a parent Triceratops and its young averts the trope, as the mother hides the young from the Allosaurus before confronting the predator.
  • Escaped Animal Rampage: May have been Trope Maker as far as monster movies are concerned.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: The explorers have a cute capuchin monkey named Jocko, whereas the ape-man has a mischievous chimpanzee companion. The former even plays a crucial role in their escape from the plateau, by carrying up a rope ladder to Paula and Roxton.
  • 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.
  • Funetik Aksent: The dialogue cards for the expedition members Austin and Zambo are misspelled to represent their accents.
  • Gentle Giant Sauropod: Challenger describes the Brontosaurus as "perfectly harmless". Subverted later in the movie, as the Brontosaurus, after taken to London, panics and goes on a rampage.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: Lord John Roxton is this, combined with Great White Hunter. He's a well-mannered gentleman and a famous big game hunter. He's also willing to let Paula go, despite having feelings for her, when she reveals she is in love with Malone.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: This seems to be reason why Roxton lets Paula go when she professes her love for Malone.
  • Improbable Taxonomy Skills: The explorers are able to identify the dinosaurs to the precise genus all while looking at them from a distance, despite them only having seen dinosaur skeletons and so they should not know precisely what the real versions would look like—especially considering the millions of years of evolution in the interval, as well as the fact that only a handful of dinosaurs had been discovered back then anyway. (To say nothing of feathers.)
  • Intrepid Reporter: Edward Malone joins Challenger's expedition to write a story that will impress his fiancée.
  • Kaiju: The very first. That Brontosaurus going on a destructive rampage through London was such a trendsetter. It predates King Kong (1933) by 8 years and Gojira by 29.
  • Living Dinosaurs: Might be the first filmic example of this trope. Surviving dinosaurs are discovered in the eponymous Lost World.
  • Lost World: A film adaptation of the Trope Namer book. The eponymous Lost World is a plateau in the South American jungle, inhabited by various prehistoric animals.
  • Mama Bear: The mother Triceratops protects its calf from the Allosaurus.
  • Ptero Soarer: The first prehistoric creature shown in the film is a massive Pteranodon 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.
  • Roar Before Beating: In a silent film, no less! The Allosaurus is stalking a grazing Trachodon, but instead of pouncing on it, it roars at it from behind, as if it was challenging it for a fight.
  • Skewed Priorities: Summerlee, who stops during the log crossing to examine and capture a beetle, briefly holding the expedition up.
  • Staircase Tumble: As in the novel, the tussling Challenger and Malone tumble down the front steps of the Professor's home.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: For sauropods we've got Brontosaurus 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.
  • Team Pet: Jocko is a pet capuchin monkey who accompanies the expedition.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: Downplayed. While T. rex does appear, it's only for one short scene. Allosaurus instead takes its place as the main threat.

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