June 9, 2013
“Lost Continent” is coupled with “Hellgate” which will be released as a separate review, both works composed by Paul Dunlap in the early 50’s. Offering an all star cast of ‘B’ supporting actors which included Cesar Romero, Hillary Brooke, Chick Chandler, John Hoyt, Acquanetta, Sid Melton, Whit Bissell, and Hugh Beaumont, the dynamic duo of Sigmond Neufeld and Sam Newfield produced and directed it for Lippert. I’ve likely seen most of their pictures, at least 150 of them as they were Producers Releasing Corporation at one time. Neufeld was considered to be “America’s most prolific sound director who also went under the name of Sherman Scott and Peter Stewart as he did so many pictures that people wouldn’t believe it was possible for one man to do so many films.
“Lost Continent” was loosely based on the Conan A. Doyle novel “The Lost World” as it told a story about a rocket crashing on a remote desert island filled with prehistoric creatures. By todays standards the special effects aren’t very good but it was stop motion animation and when your only a few years old as I was it made a big impression on me. Today when I watch the film I get bored at all of the rock climbing sequences and wish they would end.
Paul Dunlap who worked most of his life in the ‘B’ movies was actually given a budget to work with for this film and he compiled a 47 piece orchestra. He truly did write and orchestrate a score that enhanced the low budget film to the point of making it a watchable (without rock climbing) film. The story of how the recorded material came to the surface is nicely explained in the liner notes. You’ll notice and understand why there were no end titles. The notes as is always the case with a MMM recording are superb, in fact better than the music sometimes. You realize the great care and number of hours that go into one of his releases.
The Main Title, a theme which is used in several cues throughout the soundtrack begins with a brass statement that is somewhat dissonant and brash but does offer a melody that is recognizable. I’ve included this cue as an audio clip. The clanking percussion, pounding drum, and strings enhances the mood of the theme. Steel Giant produces more of the main title melody with more activity from the brass which lead the way in this track. Trek Introduction, and Mountain Approach, are organ chords and definitely in the category of underscore material. Taboo Mountain’s beginning has a sound similar to some of the “Star Trek” material written 25 years. It is a brass statement that is coupled with the main title again. Familiar sounding chords from the brass are featured in Briggs Death around the main title until the finale which is a swirling dissonant statement from the orchestra. Animal Fight features the brass with a plodding sound. The main title is hinted at but the dissonant motifs from the brass are featured. Erotica conjures up images of a quiet tide until the piano takes over and introduces a new melody. Not the Les Baxter that you might be thinking of but very pleasant and almost out of place on this CD. Exotica conjures up a bar scene with couples dancing to a South American beat.
This limited edition of 500 is an archival mono recording and you’ll hear little pops and hiss in the background. Be grateful that MMM made the time and effort to bring to CD a nearly forgotten exposure. I like it.
Love Theme, No. 1 (00:28)
Love Theme, No. 2 (00:38)
Tracks 38-54 from LOST CONTINENT (1951), Total Time – 27:39
Music composed by Paul Dunlap