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The Lost World [Blu-ray]
(Harry O. Hoyt, 1925)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: First National Pictures
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 38,120,669,188 bytes
Feature Size: 30,682,377,792 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.72 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: September 19th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio - 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
• Audio Commentary: Feature-length audio essay by Nicolas
Ciccone, amateur filmmaker and film historian.
Description: True to its title, the 1925, 10-reel version of
The Lost World effectively disappeared from circulation in
1929 - all known positive prints destroyed - a move by First
National Pictures to help clear the way for another
"creature film" utilizing special effects and Willis
O'Brien's cutting-edge animation techniques:
King Kong. For
more than 80 years, only abridged editions of The Lost World
remained in existence… until now!
This adventure virtually butchers its source, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic novel. But with stop-motion photography and special effects that were incredibly innovative in 1924 and 1925, who cared? These effects were the whole film, and Wallace Beery's inspired performance was a bonus. The tale opens on reporter Edward Malone (Lloyd Hughes), who wants to marry Gladys Hungerford (Alma Bennett). Gladys, however, only wants to marry a man of great deeds. So Malone, having asked his editor for an adventuresome assignment, is given the task of interviewing Professor Challenger (Beery), who is planning an expedition to a "lost world." Malone accompanies Challenger and his men to South America where, on a great plateau, they find a prehistoric world occupied by dinosaurs and ape-like men. They barely escape with their lives, but they manage to bring a brontosaurus back to London. The beast breaks out and terrorizes the city before crashing through the London bridge and swimming out toward the ocean to freedom. In the midst of all this, Malone has fallen in love with Paula White, the daughter of an explorer (Bessie Love). Since Gladys, it turns out, has married a clerk, Malone is able to wed his new sweetheart.Excerpt from B+N located HERE
Audiences who enjoyed the latest in dinosaur technology in such films as Jurassic Park (1993), they can thank two men for creating a genre that has become a literary and big-screen bonanza. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle started it all in 1912 with his novella, The Lost World, in which the blustery Prof. Challenger, a character he modeled on himself, leads an expedition to a lost mesa in South America where dinosaurs still rule at least a part of the Earth. But his story might never have made it to the screen - indeed, it had thwarted attempts to film it for over a decade - had it not been for the special-effects wizardry of Willis O'Brien. His work made the 49 model dinosaurs of The Lost World (1925) live and breathe so convincingly that many audience members were convinced the filmmakers had discovered the real thing.Excerpt from TCM located HERE
The idea that a film of Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World was itself lost seems so apt, you'd almost suspect it was mislaid on purpose - but wait, it was. A pioneering exercise in stop-motion animation effects in its day (1925) courtesy of 'research and technical director' Willis O'Brien, it was withdrawn just four years later, deemed obsolete by the arrival of the talkies. All known prints and export negatives were destroyed in favour of a sound remake. That of course became King Kong, and you can see how not only O'Brien but the latter's dramatic team learnt from the first film's successes and failures. Collated from some eight known sources, including a 35mm print rediscovered in the Czech film archives, this best-possible restored and remastered version shows the drama skewed towards the adventurers' exploratory rumpus in the jungle, with the more startling spectacle of a brontosaurus loose in London almost tacked on as an epilogue (the Blue Posts on Berwick Street really gets it).Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Highly anticipated, The Lost World on Blu-ray from Flicker Alley starts with a text screen that states "For decades, The Lost World could only be seen in an abridged version about an hour in length. This new edition, completed in 2016, combine portions of eleven film elements to present the most complete reconstruction believed possible". This looks gorgeous in the new 2K restoration. The tints are stunning and , as Nicolas Ciccone informs us in the commentary, the tinting and toning become more intricate as the film moves into the lost world sequences. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate and, even with flickering contrast and occasional rain of vertical scratches - a function of the age and best source - this looks absolutely amazing in-motion. There is even depth apparent. This Blu-ray is extremely pleasing in its appearance despite the, acceptable, and less-consistent imperfections. I think most will be blown away by the 1080P - it far exceeded my expectations.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The score is via a linear PCM 2.0 channel track (24-bit). Described as "Robert Israel contributes a new and ambitious score, performed by a full orchestra in 2016" and it sounds totally fitting. The quality sounds brilliant in the uncompressed. There are reconstructed titles, and intertitles (see sample above). My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Included is an audio commentary as a feature-length audio essay by Nicolas Ciccone, described as an amateur filmmaker and film historian. He give us plenty of historical data, specifics of the reconstruction - including the Czech fragments - tinting and toning combinations, racism, deviations from Doyle's book, comments on the story - and the occasional missteps with subplots cut. He brings up information on Arthur Conan Doyle, Wallace Beery and many others. It's quite good but he rhymes of details so quickly - it's hard to keep up. There is a 9-minute deleted scene from The Lost World (1925) that was "pulled from a nitrate reel found by Peirce Rafferty in 1993 and restored by Scott Macqueen - with support from "friends of the challenged expedition" - These deleted scene represent Willis O'Brien's first animation attempts for The Lost World. This new transfer comes from the original nitrate copy (2016), and was made possible thanks to The Library of Congress." Also an extras is R.F.D., 10,000 B.C. a 9-minute short film from 1917 directed by Willis O'Brien for producer Thomas Edison. The Library of Congress described it as "An animated mannequin comedy (also known as an O'Brien plastic stop-work comedy) set in prehistoric times. Henry Saurus, the mailman, and Johnny Bearskin, the favored suitor, vie for the affections of Winnie Warclub on Valentine's Day." The Ghost of Slumber Mountain is a 13-minute 1918 film, in a new 2K restoration by the Dinosaur Museum, written and directed by Willis O'Brien, produced by Herbert M. Dawley, and starring both. It is regarded as the first film to show live performers and stop-motion creatures together on the screen and is often cited as a trial run for The Lost World. Creation is a 1930's unfinished film directed by Willis O'Brien assisted by Marcel Delgado. The inclusion represents five minutes of the film, presented Silent, that convinced Merian C. Cooper to entrust O'Brien and Delgado with King Kong as he had initially wanted to use a real chimpanzee. Animated frame-by-frame, this film's production was interrupted so that O'Brien could concentrate of the special effects for Kong. There is an image gallery featuring original production, exhibition, and promotional materials. The package has a liner note booklet with an essay: "The Lost World: Secrets of the Restoration" by Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films.
September 7th, 2017
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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