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Help Save The Lost World Now!



Perhaps some of you will be excited at the news that much of the missing
footage from the 1925 version of "The Lost World" has been rediscovered
in Czechoslovakia. The restoration, however, is very expensive, so we
are spearheading a campaign to help The George Eastman House to raise
the money. Consider it, if you will, a form of artistic archaeology. 
Especially if you were one of the paleontological folks who were
inspired by either "King Kong" or the work of Ray Harryhausen, you might
owe it to yourself to help out just a little.

Remember, also, that this charming and exciting film was state of the
art in its day and without it, dinosaur art and movies and perhaps
paleontology would not be what they are today.

E. Summer

Following is an advance look at the text of the article which appears
complete with movie scenes unseen in 72 years! at:

http://www.users.interport.net/~dinosaur/lostworld.html

----- Draft of Article Follows ----

Save The Lost World!

               Help restore the world's most important dinosaur movie!

                    By Edward Summer

               The Lost World opened on Broadway at New York City's
Astor Theater in 
               February, 1925.

               Now wait a minute. The Lost World doesn't hit theaters
until Memorial Day, 1997. What's going on here?

               Those of you who are ahead of this article undoubtedly
know that Michael 
               Crichton's The Lost World owes its title to a famous
novel by Sir Arthur Conan 
               Doyle which originally appeared as a serial in the Strand
Magazine in London, 
               England beginning in April 1912. It was optioned for a
motion picture in 1919, 
               and finally made it to the screen in 1925.

               Responsible for the startling state-of-the-art special
effects in this wonderful film 
               was none other than Willis J. O'Brien, the genius who
would later bring King 
               Kong to life. O'Brien had produced a number of short
stop-motion dinosaur 
               films for Thomas Edison in 1917, and did the effects for
1918's The Ghost of 
               Slumber Mountain which is arguably the first
"feature-length" dinosaur movie.

               The Lost World of 1925 was measured at 9209 feet --
approximately 10 reels 
               (a reel being 1000 feet) -- of 35mm film. It would have
run between 104 and 
               106 minutes depending upon the projection speed. A
musical cue sheet 
               indicates that it was intended to be shown at 23 frams
per second which would 
               have worked out to 106 minutes, but Variety reported that
the film ran 104 
               minutes on opening night.

               Now the fun begins.

               In 1929, Aileen Rothacker who held the remake rights to
Conan Doyle's novel 
               made an agreement to have First National (the ancestor of
Warner Brothers - 
               First National), withdraw the 1925 film from
distribution. The prints and all but 
               one domestic negative were to be junked. Sadly, even this
"all but one" negative 
               seems to have disappeared forever.

               On July 8, 1929 First National made a sub-license
arrangement with 
               Kodascope Libraries, Inc. to make an abridged 16mm
version that ran 5 reels 
               (approximately 5300 feet or about 55 minutes). This
version was intended for 
               distribution to schools and churches, so all but the most
"essential" footage was 
               trimmed. Apparently this was edited from a print made
from the camera 
               negative and subsequently preserved in a 35mm dupe
negative. This, with the 
               exception of the original trailer which contains five
shots that originally appeared 
               in the film and some still photos of the missing scenes,
is all that survived of the 
               original The Lost World.

               There was, in fact, a Cinemascope/color remake of The
Lost World in 1960 
               starring Michael (Klaatu) Rennie. Regretably, it is no
match for the original, so 
               we'll just leave it in peace.

               In 1991, a laserdisc (LumiVision, LVD 9109) was released
with the best 
               existing version of the 1925 film, some supplementary
materials including the 
               trailer, and a still frame supplement that explained the
missing material. The disk 
               was mastered from the three remaining reels of 35mm
negative, and two 16mm 
               preservation prints that were in the possession of the
George Eastman House in 
               Rochester, New York.

               In 1993, a Canadian company made a two part film version
of the book called 
               The Lost World and Return to the Lost World. Not widely
released, it was 
               actually a fairly faithful adaptation of the original
Conan Doyle story, but is 
               irretrievably scarred by a last minute budget cut
necessitating laughably cheap 
               papier-mâché dinosaurs that are a total disaster.

               Then something miraculous happened.

               In the Fall of 1991, Scott MacQueen (now film archivist
at the Walt Disney 
               Company) wrote an article about the 1925 The Lost World
for American 
               Cinematographer Magazine. Someone named Pierce Rafferty
called in great 
               excitement. Rafferty operated a stock footage library in
New York City called 
               Petrified Films. They had purchased what had been the
Warner Brothers studio 
               stock footage library. In that library was a nitrate fine
grain positive of 
               dinosaurs! At 24 frames per second, it ran about 8
minutes. And Rafferty knew 
               from Scott's article exactly what it was from. These 8
minutes turned out to be 
               unused takes from The Lost World with technical flaws:
Camera fog, an 
               animator in frame, interrupted takes. Some may have been
alternate takes or 
               scenes that were excised before the release of the film.
Rafferty gave 
               MacQueen permission to preserve the negative, and money
was raised privately 
               to cover lab costs. The resulting copy negative was
gifted to the Eastman 
               House.

               Then, around 1992, Jan-Christopher Horak, formerly of
George Eastman 
               House somehow located a nearly full-length print of the
1925 film through 
               friends in Prague, Czechoslovakia at the Filmovy Archiv.

               In addition, there were two "excerpts" of approximately
325 feet in 35mm at the 
               Library of Congress and additional material found in the
hands of two private 
               collectors.

               Using all of these materials, Ed Stratmann of the George
Eastman House, has 
               begun the job of "reconstructing" The Lost World with a
team of interns.

               It is estimated that with all of the material available
to the restoration team, 
               between 8,000 and 8,500 feet of the original 9,209 will
be reconstituted. For 
               the first time in 72 years, the full narrative is there.
What is missing seems 
               actually to be minor snippets: Broken or spliced shots,
shattered reel ends, etc. 
               There is enough now of the original opening to know that
the story started with 
               the reporter, Edward Malone, promising his girlfriend
Gladys that he will do 
               something to make a name for himself so that she will
marry him.

               The actual lab work is being done by Haghefilm in the
Netherlands. The 
               resulting 35mm negative will be black and white, but
release prints will be tinted 
               using the Kodascope version and historical knowledge of
tinting as a guide.

               The map for this reconstruction is a combination of the
script in the Academy 
               Film Archive and a script available in the Classic Images
series, plus a mass of 
               research information collected by the Eastman House over
many years.

               That's the good news.

               The bad news is that the estimated cost for all this will
exceed $50,000 US.

               However, Y O U can help!

               The Dinosaur Interplanetary Gazette, the ultimate
dinosaur site on the World 
               Wide Web (http://www.users.interport.net/~dinosaur) is
spearheading an effort 
               to raise these funds. The Dinosaur Interplanetary Gazette
has nearly 3000 
               readers and Films in Review Magazine (the oldest
continuously published 
               newstand film magazine in the world and our collaborator
in this effort) has over 
               10,000. If all of these readers contributed a mere $5.00
each, The Lost World 
               can be saved.

                  So stop what you're doing. Get out your checkbook
right now. Please write 
               a check (for whatever you can afford even if it is only
one dollar) payable to 
               George Eastman House, pop it in a snail mail envelope,
and send it to:

                    Dinosaur Interplanetary Gazette's SAVE THE LOST 
                    WORLD Fund 
                    The George Eastman House 
                    900 East Avenue
                    Rochester, NY 14607 

               The George Eastman House would love to be able to
premiere the real, true, 
               original The Lost World in this the year that the new
Spielberg/Crichton version 
               appears. It's been 72 years since this film was seen, and
it's about time we all 
               get a look!
----- END of article ----

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