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16 October 2007 @ 10:37 am
what what WHAT? The 1925 Lost World  
So I found out yesterday that the controversial George Eastman House restoration of the 1925 The Lost World has finally been made available on home video... resulting in me damning student poverty by running out and getting it.

As a brief overview for those not acquainted with the controversy, up to 1991, the only known version of The Lost World was an hour-long edited down version. In '91, several new prints were discovered in outtake libraries and the Czech national archives, permitting restorers to build the film back up to something comparable to its original hour and a half length.

George Eastman House acquired the materials and, with a massive donation drive headed by the Dinosaur Interplanetary Gazette website, restored The Lost World. However, the print was dogged by controversy. To the chagrin of doners (including the Nat'l Endowment for the Arts and Hugh Hefner) and fans, they refused to release the print on home video. Furthermore, reports started coming out of private screenings that there was a lot of footage still missing... Including footage in the hour-long version.

This controversy in turn provoked David Shepard to construct his own restoration from the same (and some additional) materials. It wasn't a perfect restoration - amongst other things he changed some of the dialogue to excise the accents put on some of the characters - but at least it was made available through Image Entertainment in 2001.

I guess it took 20th Century Fox to finally provoke George Eastman House. The print has finally - a decade later - been released as a bonus disk along with the new DVD of the 1960 version of The Lost World. Unfortunately, the reports of missing footage have born out.

If you want to read a fuller account of the controversy and a review of the print, please feel free to visit the 1925 Film section of my site Silent Movie Monsters: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. The short answer, though, is that it'll do if you plan on getting the 1960 DVD anyways or somehow can't get the previous Image release. Otherwise it could only be recommended to the really studious fan of The Lost World.