This 1960 version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s story starred Michael Rennie as an aristocratic playboy and big game hunter named Lord John Roxton and Claude Rains as the bombastic zoologist Professor Challenger, the leader of an expedition which finds more than it bargained for.
Jill St John co-starred as Jennifer Holmes, the daughter of the expedition’s backer David Holmes (Ray Stricklyn).
David Hedison played newspaperman Ed Malone, and Fernando Lamas was Manuel Gomez, the expedition’s helicopter pilot. Costa (Jay Novello), was a jungle travel agent and guide.
The special effects men worked overtime, creating stunts such as a combat sequence between two 60-foot dinosaurs, the destruction of a helicopter by a 70-foot ditto, a 100-foot-long fire monster which emerged from a lake of bubbling lava, and man-devouring spiders.
Producer/Director Irwin Allen wanted to use stop-motion dinosaurs for the film, but due to budgetary constraints – 20th Century Fox was slashing the budgets of all their productions at the time as costs on Cleopatra were spiralling out of control – he had to use real lizards and baby alligators as dinosaurs. Plastic horns and spikes were attached to them to make them look more like dinosaurs.
But the movie still entertains in all its wide-screen CinemaScope glory.
Lord John Roxton
Jill St. John
Professor George Edward Challenger