The Lost Continent (1968 film)

The Lost Continent is a 1968 adventure film made by Hammer Films and Seven Arts featuring Eric Porter, Hildegard Knef, Suzanna Leigh, Tony Beckley, and James Cossins. The film was produced, directed and written by Michael Carreras based on Dennis Wheatley's novel Uncharted Seas (1938).[2]

The Lost Continent
Film poster
Directed byMichael Carreras
Produced byMichael Carreras
Written byMichael Nash aka Michael Carreras
Based onUncharted Seas
by Dennis Wheatley
StarringEric Porter
Hildegard Knef
Suzanna Leigh
Tony Beckley
Music bySoundtrack
Gerard Schürmann
Songs
The Peddlers
CinematographyPaul Beeson
Edited byJames Needs
Production
company
Distributed byWarner-Pathé (UK)
20th Century Fox (US)
Release date
  • 19 June 1968 (1968-06-19) (US)
  • 27 July 1968 (1968-07-27) (UK)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
BudgetOver £500,000[1]

The film sees the crew and passengers of the dilapidated tramp steamer Corita heading from Freetown to Caracas. While the passengers all have their own reasons for getting out of Africa, the captain of the ship is also eager to leave, as he is smuggling a dangerous explosive cargo. Whilst en route to South America the ship is holed and eventually what's left of the crew and passengers find themselves marooned in a mist-enshrouded Sargasso Sea surrounded by killer seaweed, murderous crustaceans and previously marooned descendants of Spanish Conquistadores and pirates.

Plot

Captain Lansen (Eric Porter) reads the burial rites over a coffin watched by Spanish conquistadors, priests, pirates and seamen. As a coffin is ditched overboard the captain asks "What happened to us? How did we all get here...?".

On board the tramp steamer Corita, Captain Lansen ignores a customs launch wanting to inspect his ship as he is smuggling the explosive Phosphor B ('Phosphore Blanc', i.e. white phosphorus) (which explodes on contact with water). His ship's passengers also have various reasons for leaving Freetown: Dr. Webster (Nigel Stock) and his daughter Unity (Suzanna Leigh) for his indiscretions with patients; an alcoholic conman Harry Tyler (Tony Beckley); and Eva Peters (Hildegard Knef), who has stolen bearer bonds to pay for the ransom on her son in Caracas, with lawyer, Ricaldi (Ben Carruthers), after her to retrieve them.

An accident nearly sets off the explosives and power is lost. Some of the crew mutiny and take to a lifeboat. Chief Engineer Nick (James Cossins) cannot fix the generator and Lansen, fearing the ship may explode, takes the remaining crew and passengers into a lifeboat. Dr Webster is devoured by a shark.

The next morning the lifeboat finds itself adrift in carnivorous seaweed, which kills the cook. The lifeboat bumps into the Corita and they find the propellers fouled with the seaweed. During the night, Unity is attacked by a huge octopus, which kills Ricaldi when he attempts to rescue her.

Sarah (Dana Gillespie) appears walking on the weed, using buoyancy balloons attached to her shoulders. She warns the captain of an impending attack. The crew and passengers defend the ship, with the surviving attackers returning to a Spanish galleon. Child leader "El Supremo" (Darryl Read), the descendant of the Spanish Conquistadores, along with members of the Spanish Inquisition had ordered the attack to steal supplies. The leader of the failed attack is fed to a sea monster in a pit.

Sarah attempts to return to her island but is tracked down by the Spanish. While on a rock, the bartender is killed by a giant crab. Sarah, the ship's chief, and Tyler are then captured by the Spanish and taken to the galleon. Lansen uses the explosives to destroy the galleon and rescue his crew/passengers. Lansen and his crew, along with those Spaniards who have decided to join him, head back to the Corita and we return to the start of the film with the burial of "El Supremo", who, toward the movie's end, tries to save the Lansen party, but is killed by one of his followers: it is later revealed that "El Supremo" is really Eva's son.

Principal cast

Crew

  • Directed by Michael Carreras
  • Produced by Michael Carreras
  • Music by Gerard Schürmann and title song by The Peddlers
  • Special effects by Robert A Mattey

Production

A 175,000 gallon tank was constructed at Elstree Studios to shoot the sea scenes. The credits list Michael Nash — a pseudonym for Michael Carreras — as the screenwriter.

The production began under the direction of Leslie Norman, but he was soon replaced by Carreras. Hammer's musical director Philip Martell rejected the original film score by Benjamin Frankel and commissioned a new one from Gerald Schumann.[3]

This film was one of several Hammer movies that featured unusual characters and prehistoric creatures, following the tradition of One Million Years B.C.. It was rated X when first released.

Reception

According to Fox records the film required $2,025,000 in rentals to break even and by 11 December 1970 had made $1,100,000 so made a loss to the studio.[4]

Soundtrack

The film titles has the song Lost Continent performed by The Peddlers played over them.

See also

References

  1. Bruce G. Hallenbeck, British Cult Cinema: Hammer Fantasy and Sci-Fi, Hemlock Books 2011 p176
  2. "The Lost Continent (1968)". BFI.
  3. p.49 Huckvale, David Hammer Film Scores and the Musical Avant-Garde McFarland, 01/01/2008
  4. Silverman, Stephen M (1988). The Fox that got away : the last days of the Zanuck dynasty at Twentieth Century-Fox. L. Stuart. p. 327.


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