Forgotten Reels is a new update theme here at Rotten Ink and will take us to the Rotten Ink Theater to sit around and talk about Silent Cinema! As I am sure you all know by now, I am a major fan of all types of films and genres, but did you know that I am a huge fan of Silent Films? And when it comes to Silent Horror Films as well as Silent Science Fiction films, I am a major geek for them and have been trying to figure out a way to cover them here on Rotten Ink and thanks to the success of the “Wild West Round Up” updates I have found the formatting that would work to share my love for them! When covering the Silent Films, I am also going to cover a different bag of my favorite kind of snack food and I am talking about potato chips! And like before, I will be given a star rating to both the film and the chips. For these Forgotten Reels updates I will be covering releases from companies like Alpha Video, Grapevine Video, Creature Feature Video and Madacy Entertainment. And yes, I know that Kino Lorber and Criterion a lot of the times has the way better prints that have been restored and re-mastered, I just feel that the companies above have the look and quality I remember seeing these types of films for the first time as a kid. I also want to give my friend and amazing artist Jason Gilmore a big thank you for the Forgotten Reels logo that will be used for these Silent Film themed updates. Oh, I almost forgot the first film we will be covering for Forgotten Reels is a real classic in cinema as it’s the 1925 film The Lost World! So let’s find our seats and get ready to talk some Silent Cinema!
The Lost World is a 1925 film that was based on the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and was released by First National Pictures and had a budget of $700,000. Harry O. Hoyt was brought on the production to direct as he was the man in the director chair for such films as “The Moth (1917)”, “The Rider Of The King Log (1921)” and “Sundown (1924)” to name a few, and they had screenwriter Marion Fairfax in to adapt the novel for screen as she had a long history of being behind the pen for many classic silent films. The film brought in classic actors like Wallace Beery, Bessie Love, Arthur Hoyt and Bull Montana to fill roles, and the film is considered one of the first in cinema to use stop motion special effects. Willis O’Brien, the godfather of this style, was the man behind these amazing dinosaur effects, and he is one of the all time great effects masters and would go on to work on the 1933 King Kong among many other iconic films of cinema. The dinosaurs of the film were based on the artwork of Charles R. Knight and decades after the film, it’s said that Forrest J. Ackerman had many of the O’Brien models in his private collection. Ackerman was a true lover of classic Horror and Sci-Fi cinema and saved many items like them from being lost to time. The river scenes of the film were said to be shot behind MGM studios in an open sewer area, or so the Hollywood story goes. Another great story about The Lost World is that in 1922 Conan Doyle showed a ton of magicians including Harry Houdini test footage of O’Brien’s dinosaurs and would not tell the origins of the footage while they all viewed it and they as well as the press was said to have been blown away by the effects. The film over the years is said to have made $1.3 million dollars and was the first film to be shown on a flight in 1925 via a nitrate film reels and is as well what kicked off the dinosaur movie craze that is still going to this day. Over the years some prints of the film have fallen into the Public Domain and have been shown on many Horror Host programs as well can be found on many budget VHS, DVD and on YouTube. And over the years Lost World has had some lost footage found as well as has been re-mastered.
The chips I chose to pair with this film are “Grippo’s Bar-B-Q,” a chip that I have loved since I was a young kid and a potato chip company from the great state of Ohio. Growing up as a kid, popcorn, Andy Capp’s Hot Fries and potato chips were the snacks of choice for my brother and I as we watched USA Saturday Nightmares or WWF Monday Night Raw, and one of our favorites hands down when it came to chips was always Grippo’s! You see my father has always worked in the grocery business and he would from time to time bring home different styles of snack food for not only him to eat but also for my brother and I to try, and Grippo’s was always a popular eat at our house during movie and TV watching. Grippo’s started in 1919 and is based out of Cincinnati, Ohio and was founded by Angelo Grippo. The company over the years has made all types of snack foods from Pretzels, Sugar Cones and their most popular item is Potato Chips that comes in many flavors from the overly popular BBQ as well as Cheddar, Salt & Vinegar as well as a few others. Grippo’s is still going strong to this day and so many of my friends love these chips. Below is a shot of a freshly opened bag so that you can see these BBQ Grippo’s in their natural habitat.
Forgotten Reels is a themed update that will be sticking around for a very long time here on Rotten Ink as being able to share my thought and the wonders of Silent Films is something that I really like to do! And I will be grading both the film and the chips on a classic 1-4 star scale. I also want to say on my film rating, I am basing it on a scale that is for silent films of all budgets and eras. So sit back in your theater seat, grab some chips and a soda and let’s travel to The Lost World with Alpha Video. And yes, the stills used in this review update are indeed taken from the Alpha Video print and the DVD that I own.
Starring: Wallace Beery and Bessie Love Directed: Harry O. Hoyt
Not Rated 1925 63min Alpha Video DVD Full Frame
We open in the office of the London Record Journal, and the Editor is upset as he has just gotten word that Professor Challenger is going to sue them over the paper doubting his story of living dinosaurs, and they are also worried, as Challenger has attacked three reporters just that day! In order to get the interview with Challenger, they send eager reporter Edward Malone who stumbles into the editor’s office and has to hurry to Zoological Hall to cover a lecture that Challenger is giving and try to score the sit down interview for the paper, as well as sneak in as reporters are banned from the lecture. At the Hall many people are in line for the lecture including Sir John Roxton who is an explorer and hunter who wants to disprove Challenger’s claim of dinosaurs. And it seems like many of those attending are there to mock Challenger and his claims. Malone is able to easily get into the lecture thanks to Roxton who brings him in on his pass. As he starts the crowd mocks Challenger, who in turn wants to get a committee and a group together to head to the Amazon and to this Lost World with him! And some in the crowd who believe and disbelieve take him up on this chance to see the Dinosaurs and they are Professor Summerlee, John Roxton and Edward Malone. But when Malone alerts Challenger of his profession, the Professor goes into a rage and tries to attack the young man and chaos breaks out. And Challenger, mad that a reporter got in, returns to his home.
As Professor Challenger gets home for the night, still mad over the lecture, he soon finds that Edward Malone has entered his home via a window, as he would like to talk to the Professor and says that he really needs to go on the expedition in order to impress his fiancé who will not marry him until he faces a major challenge, and this means nothing to Challenger who attacks Malone and they two fight and struggle so much that they end up in the street! A Police Cop witnesses the fight and when Malone refuses to press charges and even takes blame for the fight, Challenger ends up listening to Malone when he finds out that he is also close friends with Sir John Roxton. Once inside the parlor, Challenger has his butler call upon Miss Paula White, and also Roxton comes to the house and they talk about the diary of Maple White and as Paula shows up the story of the Lost World that is populated with Dinosaurs is discussed. Paula explains how her father discovered a plateau in the Amazon alone as she was back at camp sick from a fever, and as she speaks Malone flips through the pages of the diary and sees the explorers drawings of Dinosaurs that he said he saw! And then Paula claims that she has seen them herself and that her father is lost on that plateau as his crew left him behind in fear of the beasts. And as they talk, Mrs. Challenger enters the parlor and is upset that her husband has kicked out everyone up to this point has come to the house to help. Edward Malone then comes up with the idea to get the paper to pay for the rescue mission as he can pass it off as a good human-interest story as they might think that the talk of Dinosaurs is fake but saving an explorer in a exclusive story they would bite on. Challenger agrees to this pitch and everyone is happy. Malone asks Roxton to go talk to the editor with him, and before they leave Roxton tells Paula that he is going on this mission for her. Paula looks both happy and taken back by this, but is happy they help is on its way for her father.
The London Record Journal funds the rescue mission and Professor Challenger, Sir John Roxton, Professor Summerlee, Paula White, Austin and Edward Malone meet up with some natives and boat down the river to the secret location deep in the Amazon. Once they reach the plateau they all make camp and Malone is writing to his editor as everyone else is enjoying the rest and wildlife around the area. But watching them is a strange apeman who is monstrous in nature and watches and Roxton talks of how Paula said her father used a fallen tree in order to get to the plateau and Challenger says in the morning they will knock down another tree and get across. The apeman then pushes a bolder off the cliff and tries to crush the rescue party, his attack fails and causes the men to look around and they see a massive Pterodactyl flying around and then landing and eating, and Challenger then declares that everything in Maple’s diary is true.
The next morning Challenger leads them to the top of the plateau and chops down another tree to make a bridge across a cliff and while doing all this dinosaurs start to pay attention to the noises being made by these human invaders. One by one they cross the fallen tree and then watch as a Brontosaurus feeds on leaves. They are scared and yet also so amazed by this sight. The massive creature then does the unthinkable and knocks their tree bridge off the cliff and causing them all to be stuck now. All the while back at the camp native Zambo with his pet monkey Jocko and Austin, the butler of Challenger watch on and are helpless to save them from being stranded.
As night falls, the group starts a fire to stay warm and try and come up with a plan, and unknown to them the apeman once more is watching them this time from the trees. Malone heads to Paula and tries to find out what is on her mind. She tells of the worry she has that something bad has happened to her father as she feels he would have made his way to the fire if he was still alive. Malone tries to comfort her as Roxton watches on and is not pleased that someone else talking to the woman he loves. But before anything else can be said, the whole group gets a scare as a T-Rex appears and attacks and kills another dinosaur before their eyes. They then watch as the T-Rex’s path of murder doesn’t stop as it goes after a Tyrannosaurus and its baby. He fails in his attempt to kill and gets a horn would to his side that makes him even more mad as he heads out into the jungle and into the camp! Challenger and Roxton armed with rifles open fire on the T-Rex and Malone throws a lit torch at it scaring it off and back into a battle with a Tyrannosaurus. As the group then finally spots the apeman and Roxton shoots him in the arm scaring him away. Meanwhile the T-Rex kills the Tyrannosaurus as well as then kills a Pterodactyl. Meanwhile at the base camp, Zambo and Jocko are drinking water when Austin has an idea that they can make a giant rope from the hammocks and have Jocko climb the mountain plateau to give it to them.
After all the excitement of the T-Rex attack, Challenger and the group find a cave to seek shelter in from the craziness of the jungle. They decided that this cave would be their home until they are saved or for the rest of their lives and then Challenger tries to design a catapult weapon out of bent down trees in order to fight off dinosaurs. While in the cave Roxton is looking around and finds a skeleton of a human that has a locket, and inside that locket is a picture of Paula…the hunter thinks he has found the remains of her father Maple White, he then also finds an open at the back of the cave that leads straight down the mountain and fires his gun and gets the attention of Austin and Zambo who yell back and fourth with Raxton that they will be turning the rope into a ladder and will send Jacko up with it in the morning, but the monkey needs to see Paula to make the climb. Meanwhile alone in a part of the cave Malone tells Paula that he loves her, and is breaking his promise to his fiancé as he wants to be with her. Roxton walks in on the two embracing and sharing loving words, Malone informs his friend that he and Paula are going to marry each other in the cave as Summerlee was once a minister before he was a professor and goes off to find him. As Roxton says he needs to tell Paula something very important.
In the jungle Challenger and Summerlee are watching a Brontosaurus feed and are following it, as back in the cave Raxton gives Paula the locket and tells her the bad news of her father’s death. The T-Rex shows up once again and this time goes after the Brontosaurus and knocks the massive creature over the cliff, the T-Rex is mad that he did not get to eat his victim and wonders off into the jungle. Meanwhile in another cave the apeman along with his chimpanzee friend sulk over the humans being around and him being wounded by a bullet. Paula and Raxon are waiting for the others to return as they have been gone for hours now and they are worried, but Raxton tells her they must wait for them in order to lead them to the cave opening so they can all escape. And also a volcano on the plateau is about to erupt adding more danger for Challenger and his crew as the lava starts to flow the dinosaurs start to stampede and it’s making it hard for Challenger, Summerlee and Malone to get back to the cave for shelter. The T-Rex is attacking his fellow fleeing dinosaurs as fire is breaking out all around in the jungle! And they are finally able to make their way to the cave as the volcano calms down and the fires stop and the dinosaurs go back to their normal lives.
Back in the cave Raxton shows Paula the opening as she calls for Jocko, the little monkey, who with the ladder makes his way up the mountain to get to her, and does so delivering their way to escape the Lost World. The Brontosaurus who fell from the cliff is shown to be alive and stuck in mud, and it’s the mud that spared its life and cushioned the landing. With the ladder now in place Paula White starts making her way down the mountain, Jocko the monkey is next, then Professor Summerlee, Professor Challenger, Edward Malone and lastly Sir John Roxton gets on the ladder. But the apeman and his chimpanzee friend and a score to settle with Roxton and they start to pull the ladder up with him still on it as his friends below try to pull it back down, but the apeman is just too strong. They fire a rifle up at the mountain and hit apeman in the chest and Roxton makes it down to land safe. As they are heading away from the mountain, Challenger spots the wounded Brontosaurus and with the help of Major Hiddard of Brazilian Geodetic they get the dinosaur out of the mud in a month’s time with a one-way ticket to London.
In London Professor Challenger is giving another lecture to a roomful of people and he tells them that they are brining a living Brontosaurus to London and that reporter Edward Malone is on the ship that is bringing the creature to them in mere moments. Challenger then gets a phone call from Malone who informs the professor that during unloading at the dock the straps on the cage broke and now the Brontosaurus is loose in the streets and causing panic and chaos. In the streets people are running and driving away in fear as the dinosaur is on a rampage. Challenger tells the crowd at the lecture to stay inside as his dinosaur is free in the streets, and the crowd starts to think that this is a scam and begin to boo and turn on Challenger who they think is a liar. All the while the Brontosaurus is stomping around the city causing destruction and ends up on the London Bridge and it ends up breaking under its weight and it falls into the water and swims away. After the dinosaur is gone Paula and Malone come together and Roxton pushes his feelings for her aside and is happy for the couple. And Professor Challenger sits on the bridge and watches as his dinosaur fades away into the horizon.
Review: The Lost World is a truly amazing early cinema film that allowed the team of Harry O. Hoyt and Marion Fairfax to truly bring the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to life on the big screen and offered thrills, chills to movie goers who left the theater wondering if they had just seen footage of real dinosaurs! The film really focuses on reporter Edward Malone and his quest to cover the big story of the lost world as well as him falling in love with Paula White who his own friend famed hunter Sir John Roxton also is crushing on. And all three of these characters are great and their story is interesting and helps add more drama to the story and also adds a good amount on tension to a group that is already stuck in a land of dinosaurs who want to eat them for dinner. But I think like most people who have read the book as well would agree that the real star of the film is the eccentric Professor Challenger whose anger, passion and personality sets him apart from the rest of the cast of characters and Wallace Beery was the perfect actor to cast in that role. The Dinosaur effects were done by the true legend and godfather of early day special effects Willis O’Brien and this film was a great warm up for him as in 1933 he would bring us the masterpiece of cinema King Kong. And the T-Rex in this movie is such a jerk and gets his jollies in just killing other dinosaurs as well as trying to kill our heroes. And let’s not forget to point out the awesome Brontosaurus rampage in London, a scene that influenced many Kaiju and Giant Monster movies over the decades. One thing I have to point out is that actor Bull Montana played the Apeman on the Lost Planet and he is one of cinema’s early creature actors as he would wear that suit or one just like it in the 1920 Horror Comedy Film “Go And Get It” and had the movements of creatures down, but that I am sure this is due to his years of being a Pro Wrestler. This film is also very much the inspiration for the Jurassic Park book and film series, and The Lost World is one of the world’s best Silent Films from that era as it brings so many emotions with it and best of all its super entertaining from start to finish. If you have not seen this film, do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy from Alpha Video or another home media copy and give it a watch.
Now let’s briefly talk about the Grippo’s Bar-B-Q Potato Chips, a snack food that has always been a favorite in my family’s household growing up. When eating this bag I can see why I loved them as a kid. The BBQ seasoning on these chips is very flavorful and have a nice spice taste that makes it so easy to eat a full bag in one sitting. They have a taste like no other BBQ chip and that is why those who have tried Grippo’s always put them at the top of their shopping list for snack food. And they are not afraid to coat the chip in the seasoning and hands down these are some amazingly good potato chips!
The Lost World really is a fantastic Silent Film. The effects that they pulled off in 1925 are amazing and set the guidelines for special effects to come in Hollywood, and really the film is a mix of Adventure, Sci-Fi and Horror and really was one of the early versions of a Giant Monster movie as the end of the film has a Dinosaur running wild in a big city that would go on to be a staple of the kind of films. And as you can see, this first Forgotten Reels update starts off with a perfect Silent Film as well as a perfect bag of chips. But the house lights have been turned on and that is our cue to head out, but before we do, I would like to let you all know that our next update will take us to New York and the time that Dracula visited it as the topic is the 1979 film Love At First Bite and the photo comic book based on it! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Silent Film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you soon as we continue our countdown to Halloween 2022 and spend some time with Count Dracula.