ISLAND OF THE LOST (1967) – Directed by John Florea and written by Richard Carlson and Ivan Tors, this family adventure movie starred Richard Greene, known for playing Robin Hood in the 1950s television series and for playing Sir Denis Nayland Smith in a few of the Fu Manchu movies from the 1960s.
In addition to Greene, Island of the Lost provides additional cultural kitsch appeal: You’ve got producer Ivan Tors of Flipper fame dragging along Luke Halpin, the boy star of that series. Ivan also seems to have brought along a LOT of Flipper stock footage for the underwater scenes. Jose de Vega from Blue Hawaii is also in the cast as are soap opera queen Robin Mattson and the ubiquitous Irene Tsu. Plus the screenwriter is THE Richard Carlson, star of many b-movies.
Richard Greene AND Richard Carlson? You know that with a couple of Dicks like them around we are in for some campiness and lame special effects that might have been acceptable in the 1950s … in black & white, not color.
Greene portrays Professor Josh MacRae, a scholar who is convinced that there are undiscovered islands in the Pacific Ocean, islands on which live creatures long thought extinct. Like so many movie professors, he organizes his own expedition to try to prove his theory. And if he dies in the attempt he plans to take his whole family down with him!
Sheilah Wells IS Sharon, not Sheila, MacRae, Josh’s daughter and one of the family members he takes along with him into unknown peril. Thanks Dad!
Luke Halpin keeps his shirt on for once in his life as Stu MacRae, the mischievous, musically inclined son of the professor.
Robin Mattson channels Bert I Gordon’s daughter Susan as the spunky, fun-loving youngest MacRae sibling, Lizzie.
Irene Tsu plays Judy Hawllani, a research associate of Professor MacRae, who is along for the ride so that Stu can leer at a scantily clad woman who isn’t related to him, since all the other women on board are his sisters.
Mart Hulswit, later a co-star on Shining Time Station, portrays Gabe Larsen, who is a budding genius in his scientific field and a star on the football field at his current college. Gabe and Sharon become our romantic leads after some initial squabbling. (Hey, what a unique approach! Other movies should do that! I’m being sarcastic of course.)
The MacRaes also take along a pet seal whose well-trained antics make it a nice substitute for the dolphin Flipper from Tors’ and Halpin’s show.
Our heroes travel by boat, enjoying themselves and hula-dancing (I’m serious) until they reach a Pacific Ocean version of the Bermuda Triangle. Instruments go wild, etc. You know the drill. The adventurers are lost and soon become shipwrecked on one of those undiscovered islands that Professor MacRae theorized about.
In addition to headhunters posing a threat to the expedition members, this title island features plenty of those life-forms that the professor predicted might still be around. Those creatures are cheaply and hilariously depicted by attaching props to real animals, making them look ridiculous rather than dangerous.
Huge teeth are inserted into the mouths of dogs to make them pass as “saber-tooth wolves.” Horns on the heads of ostriches turn them into alleged dinosaurs who eat their victims alive and a different type of headwear transforms alligators into unconvincing primordial beasts.
The aforementioned Jose de Vega shows up as a native lad facing his test of manhood and there’s lots of stock footage of volcanoes, too.
SPOILERS: The expedition members survive against all the menaces and escape in the end on a raft they constructed.
Island of the Lost is one of those movies you can’t help but wish was better than it is. It may sound like a dream come true for fans of bad or comically overdone “wholesome” movies, but actually it’s just incredibly dull. Sure, it’s safe enough for your kids to watch but even they probably won’t want to.
By the way, if you see this movie advertised with a greenish glow-eyed monster on the cover, it IS this movie but the cover art is incredibly misleading. +++
FOR MY REVIEW OF MYSTERIOUS PLANET (1982) CLICK HERE.
FOR MY LEO FONG MOVIE MARATHON CLICK HERE
FOR MY ROBERT GINTY MOVIE MARATHON CLICK HERE
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