Lost Continent, which stars Caesar Romero and the dad from Leave it to Beaver, is one of the most boring movies I have ever seen. Most of it can be described as filler, and not very good filler at that. It begins, as did so many low-budget movies from the '50s, with stock footage of a rocket launch. The rocket soon crashes in some unnamed county (I think it's in South America, but it might be the South Pacific, or Africa) and a team of scientists and military types are sent to retrieve it. No points for guessing that their plane immediately crashes in the middle of wherever it is they are.
They find out from the few remaining natives that the rocket landed on a nearby plateau, which they proceed to climb. Once on top, they discover a lost world where dinosaurs roam and uranium paves the streets, so to speak. Dinosaurs, jungles, treacherous climbs, and even a massive unexplained cataclysm at the end- this is the kind of material that pulp magazines and B-movies thrive on. Lost Continent has all the ingredients of a dumb but exciting adventure movie. You wouldn't expect this to be Oscar material, but you'd think there'd be a lot of action.
Alas, Lost Continent fails to meet even these minimal expectations. Most shots involve the team members making small talk, slogging through jungles, or climbing. Oh how they climb. The movie is only 80 minutes long, and a full thirty minutes of that is spent getting up the cliffs. This could have been dangerous, or exciting, but that would have taken too much money. So instead we get the Captain Video effect, in which the actors climb the same fake ledges over and over again, while the cameras studiously avoid any breathtaking vertical shots which would reveal that they're actually at ground level. Even when someone falls to his death, we only see the reaction of the companion who failed to save him.
You'd think the dinosaurs would spice things up a bit, but no. We get cheap Claymation dinos that are less detailed than the ones in King Kong, filmed twenty years earlier. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that the scenes with the dinosaurs are yet more stock footage lifted from other films. This would explain why we never see the dinos and the actors in the same frame, even through rear projection. And the Brontosaurus looks suspiciously like the one in 1925's The Lost World. So no, there isn't a single bit of excitement generated by the dinosaur attacks.
The movie is further hampered by the lack of any real acting. True, I wasn't expecting the actors to be convincing, but I thought there might be some campy over-acting. Instead the cast performs as if they were on downers. Every line sounds like they were reading it off the script while fighting drowsiness. These guys are more wooden than a cigar store Indian. They get over their colleague's death in less than a minute, and pronouncements that they're running out of food and may never get home alive are delivered with no more urgency than if they were missing an episode of House. I suspect this is a reflection of the cast's total apathy. I also suspect that Lost Continent was made just so the distributers would have something to show on the bottom of a double-bill.
If you've read many of my previous reviews, you've probably guessed by now that I cheated and watched the MST3K version. I was pretty good, as Joel and the 'bots had a field day pointing out the utter lack of action. This version is worth checking out for a few laughs. The original is worthless, except as a sleep aid.