April 23, 2014

Films

The Lost Continent – 1968 | 89 mins | Adventure, Fantasy, Horror, Drama | Colour

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Plot Synopsis

The Lost Continent

Following on from The Devil Rides Out (1968), Hammer had already commenced production of a second Dennis Wheatley adaptation, The Lost Continent (1968). One of Hammer’s larger-budgeted productions of the late 1960s, the studio-hound yarn adapted from Wheatley’s novel Uncharted Seas had many of its oceanic sequences shot in a purpose built 175,000 gallon tank at Elstree. Scripted by Michael Carreras (under the pseudonym Michael Nash, apparently his gardener), the film oddity emphasizes the book’s more fantastical elements.

Unfortunately, the production lacks the courage of its way-out convictions despite Arthur Lawson’s eye-catching production design. The direction – also by Carreras, who took over from Leslie Norman who was let go after just a couple of days – is, as usual for Carreras, pedestrian and unadventurous. Despite a poor showing at the box office and its obvious shortcomings, the film nevertheless has its followers who take pleasure in the ludicrously endearing film as a camp classic.

A tramp steamer fleeing the African customs, the Carita, captained by Lansen (Eric Porter) is making its way from Freetown in Africa to Caracas with a cargo of contraband explosives. The boat finds itself waylaid in uncharted waters in the Sargasso Sea where it’s s secretive passengers – a collection of archetypes including dictator’s mistress Eva Peters (Hildegard Knef), disgraced Dr Webster (Nigel Stock) and his daughter Unity (Suzanna Leigh), also a blackmailer and his victim – are shipwrecked on an mysterious isle and encounter not only a curious community run by descendants of The Spanish Inquisition, but also some very phoney-looking prehistoric monsters and killer seaweed.

Production Team

Michael Carreras: Director
Leslie Norman: Director
Arthur Lawson: Art Direction
Paul Beeson: Cinematography
Carl Toms: Costume Design
Chris Barnes: Editing
James Needs: Editing
Elsie Alder: Makeup Department
George Partleton: Makeup Department
Roy Phillips: Original Music
Gerard Schurmann: Original Music
Michael Carreras: Producer
Michael Carreras: Script
Roy Baker: Sound Department
Dennis Whitlock: Sound Department

Cast

Eric Porter: Capt Lansen
Hildegard Knef: Eva Peters
Suzanna Leigh: Unity Webster
Tony Beckley: Harry Tyler
Nigel Stock: Dr Webster
Neil McCallum: First Officer Hemmings
Ben Carruthers: Ricaldi
Jimmy Hanley: Patrick, the bartender
James Cossins: Nick, chief engineer
Dana Gillespie: Sarah
Victor Maddern: The mate
Reg Lye: The Helmsman
Norman Eshley: Jonathan, the prisoner
Michael Ripper: Sea Lawyer



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