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Two Lost Worlds

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1951). Sterling Productions, Inc. Produced by Boris Petroff. Directed by Norman Dawn. Dinosaur stock footage by Roy Seawright from One Million B.C. (1940). Written by Tom Hubbard from a story by Phyllis Parker and Boris Petroff (uncredited). Cast includes James Arness (credited as James Aurness), Bill Kennedy, Gloria Petroff, Kasey Rogers (credited as Laura Elliott) and Michael Rye (credited as Rye Billsbury). Narrator: Dan Riss. 61 minutes. Black and white.

In 1830, the US clipper ship the Queen is attacked by pirates near the New Hebrides islands; the attackers are driven away, but First Mate Kirk Hamilton (Arness) is injured. He is put ashore at Queensland Colony, Australia, to recover, and meets Elaine Jeffries (Elliott), who is set to be engaged to rancher Martin Shannon (Kennedy). The two are attracted to each other regardless, and a rivalry develops which is interrupted by the returning pirates. Conducting a raid on the settlement, the pirates – led by Captain Hackett (Billsbury) – abduct both Elaine and her younger sister Janice (Petroff). Hamilton and Shannon set off in pursuit along with a rescue party; a second battle with the pirates results in the sinking of the settlers' ship, leaving them stranded on a remote volcanic Island. The island proves to be inhabited by both hostile cavemen and surviving Dinosaurs portrayed by photographically-enlarged lizards. An earthquake strikes and the volcano erupts, just as another friendly ship arrives to rescue the handful of survivors, for whom all ends well.

Two Lost Worlds is reportedly made up from two edited-together episodes of an unsold Television series, released as a feature; indeed, it has the feel of a television programme. This minor film is notable mainly as the first acting credit for Aurness, who was soon to become Arness and to star in The Thing (1951) and in Them! (1954). Arness found lasting fame as Marshall Matt Dillon in the long-running Western series Gunsmoke (1955-1975). [GSt]


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