Saturday, October 7, 2017

THE LOST WORLD (1925) On Blu-ray From Flicker Alley

The 1925 silent movie THE LOST WORLD is one of the most important and influential fantastic films ever made. This adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's famed novel about the discovery of dinosaurs on a remote plateau near the Amazon set the template for almost all giant monster stories to follow. The original KING KONG, the GODZILLA movies, even modern films such as JURASSIC PARK were inspired by THE LOST WORLD. The basic story structure of THE LOST WORLD is still being used in productions to this day.

For several years, the only way one could view THE LOST WORLD was through a succession of poor quality public domain home video versions. This Blu-ray version, produced by Lobster and Blackhawk Films, uses nearly a dozen different elements to create what is the longest and most complete example of the film since its original release.

Because so many elements were used, the end result is not of pristine quality...but there is far more detail than on other releases, especially in the scenes featuring special effects pioneer Willis O'Brien's stop-motion animation. And it is O'Brien's work that is the lead star of this movie. You can't watch THE LOST WORLD and judge it against 21st Century FX techniques--one has to place it in the context of the times, and realize that O'Brien's work was groundbreaking and extraordinary.

Not only has the film been restored visually, intertitles and tinting & toning have been restored as well. A brand new music score has been created for the Blu-ray by silent film composer Robert Israel, and it fits the story very well.

A beautifully designed 16-page booklet is included in the release. The booklet contains an article written by Serge Bromberg, and it goes into great detail on the how's and why's of the restoration. An excellent and insightful audio commentary features Nicolas Ciccone, and it is chock full of information on all aspects of THE LOST WORLD. Ciccone goes out of his way to give background on Conan Doyle's novel and how it compares to the movie.

Other extras include examples of O'Brien's stop-motion work for films before THE LOST WORLD, and there's deleted scenes from the film. There's also some footage from O'Brien's unfinished project CREATION, and a image gallery.

Releases from Flicker Alley are a bit more expensive than the usual Blu-ray, but this one is worth the price. It is simply an outstanding package, and it will more than likely wind up on my year-end Top 5 2017 Blu-rays post. I know many folks will not watch a silent film to save their lives, and those same people won't appreciate any type of vintage special effects--but most of the geek cinema today's audiences flock to is descended in some way from THE LOST WORLD.

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