The Lost World
00:00 Introduction by Anthony L'Abbate, Preservation Manager, Moving Image Department, George Eastman Museum
07:40 The Lost World
The Lost World (US 1925)
Writer: Marion Fairfax
Director: Harry O. Hoyt
Cast: Bessie Love (Paula White), Lewis Stone (Sir John Roxton), Wallace Beery (Professor Challenger), Lloyd Hughes (Ed Malone), Arthur Hoyt (Professor Summerlee), Margaret McWade (Mrs. Challenger), Finch Smiles (Austin, Challenger’s butler), Jules Cowles (Zambo), Bull Montana (Apeman), George Bunny (Colin McArdle), Charles Wellesley (Major Hibbard), Alma Bennett (Gladys Hungerford), Jacko (By himself), Virginia Brown Faire (Marquette), Mary (Apeman’s chimpanzee companion)
Producers: Walter R. Rothacker; Earl Hudson
Photography: Arthur Edeson
Special effects camera: Homer Scott, J. D. Jennings, Floyd Jackman, Perry Evans
Art Directors: Willis H. O’Brien, technical director; Milton Menasco, art direction, architecture
Chief Technician: Fred Jackman
Research: Willis H. O’Brien
Literary author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, novel and Strand Magazine serialization The Lost World (London, 1912)
Restored by: Edward E. Stratmann, George Eastman Museum
Production company: First National Pictures Inc.
Distribution company: First National Pictures Inc.
Release date: 2 February 1925
Original length (in feet): 9,700 ft.
Original length (in reels): 10
Original running time: 108 min.
Restoration color: replication of original tinting using Desmet color injection
Restoration length (in feet): 6,796 ft.
Restoration length (in reels): 4 double reels
Restoration running time: 100 min.
Frame rate: 18 fps
Restored with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Hugh M. Hefner, and many other generous individuals
Preserved at Cinema Arts Inc.
Digitized by Eastman Museum Film Preservation Services
The piano accompaniment for this online presentation was composed and performed by Philip C. Carli.
Without a doubt, The Lost World remains one of the largest and most technically complex restorations undertaken by the George Eastman Museum. Over a ten-year period beginning in the early 1990s—which included constant fundraising to complete the project—Assistant Curator and Head of Preservation Ed Stratmann worked to reconstruct this film, a peak technical achievement of the silent era.
While trying to assist a colleague with a film loan, Stratmann had realized there were no 35mm viewing prints of The Lost World. He compared the Eastman Museum’s 35mm nitrate reels and 16mm Kodascope prints with holdings at other archives and determined that the Eastman Museum’s incomplete prints were still the best existing material. He gathered multiple 35mm and 16mm film elements to restore this remarkable fantasy adventure. News of the restoration was greeted with enthusiasm from film archivists and the public, and the search for additional elements eventually turned up an incomplete 35mm print with Czech intertitles held by the Národní filmový archiv (National Film Archive) in Prague. Although it is still missing footage—most notably the original introduction by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in which he sets pen to paper and begins to write the story—the Eastman Museum restoration remains the most complete and truest version of the film, adhering to original scenarios and intertitle lists.
Contemporary fans of dinosaur films were particularly eager to see the first major work of stop-motion animator Willis H. O’Brien on the big screen. O’Brien’s genius set the bar high for all larger-than-life creatures to appear on the silver screen. He followed up The Lost World with King Kong (1933) and Mighty Joe Young (1949), which influenced all of the dinosaur movies to follow, straight through to the digital dinosaurs of the Jurassic Park films. O’Brien mentored Ray Harryhausen (his first assistant on Mighty Joe Young) who advanced stop-motion animation in such films as Jason and the Argonauts (1963), The Valley of Gwangi (1969), and Clash of the Titans (1981). Even at nearly a hundred years old, The Lost World continues to delight and engage audiences with live actors occupying the same screen as O’Brien’s detailed stop-motion miniatures.