Henry O. Hoyt
Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone, Bessie Love
group of explorers discover prehistoric creatures.
silent 1925 film, based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s wonderful novel (recently
dramatised again by the BBC), is a rollicking good yarn. The film benefits
enormously from some pretty good stop-motion special effects, by the man
who would go on to bring life to King Kong, Willis O’Brien.
is usually the case with surviving films from this era, The Lost World exists
in several different versions, and, once again, the restoration process
has been mildly controversial. Along with debates about which footage was
actually intended to be used, and which Hoyt consigned to the cutting room
floor, this version seriously undermines its aim as a restoration project
by attempting to eliminate or tone down racial stereotypes.
tinted version on Eureka’s disc has been restored to something closely
approaching its original length from eight different prints (most of them,
understandably, heavily worn). The clarity and stability of the transfer
is generally quite remarkable, and what might have been very smeary on VHS
is rendered with much more precision on DVD. The disc offers a choice of
three audio options: a traditional score (in 2.0 stereo, at 224kbps), a
much more modern rock score and a commentary track by the author of The
Annotated Lost World, Roy Pilot. The disc also contains a photo’
gallery, about twelve minutes of animation “outtakes”, and text
articles on Conan Doyle, the film, and its restoration.
hard to fault Eureka’s presentation, from the striking and sturdy card
slipcase, with its charming contemporary cover, to the disc’s unusually
elaborate and atmospheric menus. This is an essential purchase for any
serious film buff, or fan of the genre.