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The Land Unknown

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The Land Unknown (1957) starring Jock Mahoney, Shirley Patterson, William Reynolds, Henry Brandon, Douglas Kennedy
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The Land Unknown (1957) starring Jock Mahoney, Shirley Patterson, William Reynolds, Henry Brandon, Douglas Kennedy

 The Land Unknown is one of those science fiction movies where good acting is undercut by truly terrible special effects.  At its heart, it’s The Lost World – but with several interesting twists, including a very different character stranded there.

Synopsis of The Land Unknown

Buy The Land Unknown from On a naval expedition to Antarctica, three sailors and reporter Maggie Hathaway crash-land in a crater 1000 m below sea level. There, they encounter steamy tropical forest, dinosaurs, carnivorous plants, and human footprints. They have only 25 days to escape before the Navy leaves them behind.

Review of The Land Unknown

What sets The Land Unknown apart? The acting is fine, and the script is very intelligent – more so than expected from the 1950’s. There’s a survivor from an earlier expedition living in the hidden “land that time forgot”. The survivor has become cold, and cruel, in order to survive. He offers his plane parts to the protagonists – in exchange for their leaving the woman behind with them. It’s a surprising turn for a movie of this era, as is giving him a chance at redemption. He’s not a cardboard cutout character. The rest of the cast isn’t either – except, perhaps, for Maggie.

The “spunky, beautiful, girl reporter” cliche is in full force. Also, she becomes eye candy as the movie goes on, and she begins to lose more of her clothing.

Horribly unrealistic dinosaur in The Land Unknown

I’d be remiss to mention the absolutely terrible special effects. The threatening dinosaur that chases them is obviously a man in a bad rubber suit, the “carnivorous plant” clearly has strings attached to its’ tentacles, and so on. As I say, it’s a pity, since it really brings the overall value of the movie down.

Cast of Characters in The Land Unknown

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