The Land Unknown (1957)

Genre: 50’s Science Fiction/Adventure

This film was supposedly inspired by the discovery of an area of inexplicably warm water in Antarctica in 1947.

A naval science team lead by Cmndr. Harold 'Hal' Roberts (Jock Mahoney) is sent to investigate this unusual phenomenon. On the expedition they are accompanied by blonde female reporter Maggie Hathaway (Shirley Patterson).

Once over the area of warm water, their helicopter is brought down by a combination of bad weather and being hit by a flying prehistoric Pterodactyl.

Descending a couple of thousand feet below sea level, they land in a strange tropical land. With no time to lose they get to work repairing the helicopter while Maggie gets to work doing her womanly chores. Suddenly they realize they aren’t alone - this land is inhabited by prehistoric dinosaurs.
 With their food mysteriously gone and no spares for the helicopter, it looks like the expedition party is doomed. That is, until they meet Dr. Carl Hunter (Henry Brandon).

Dr. Hunter, who’s clad like a caveman in animal skins, has been stranded alone in this land after his plane crashed ten years earlier killing the rest of his team. He has adapted well to this inhospitable place with his home in a cave, but there has been a price to pay for his years of danger and solitude – he has gone mad.

Now with the arrival of some more people, there is one thing he’s been missing and he wants it now, and that is - a woman. Maggie becomes his bargaining chip for the survival of the others.

Made by Universal Pictures and directed by Virgil W. Vogel (THE MOLE PEOPLE), this is a great adventure/science fiction movie with some beautiful lush tropical sets. The dinosaurs are a mixture of real lizards and models. The dinosaurs in the water are especially effective, although the Tyrannosaurus Rex is obviously a man in a suit. Don’t let that disparage you because this film is definitely not your average 50’s sci-fi film. Never once does it become dull.

The Land Unknown can be found on the The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection, Volumes 1 and 2.


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