Two Lost Worlds



Notes: Sterling Productions Inc. 63 minutes.
Kirk Hamilton: Jim Aurness (later, James Arness, of Gunsmoke fame)
Elaine Jeffries: Laura Elliott
Martin Shannon: William Kennedy
Nancy: Gloria Petroff
With Pierre Watkins, Thomas Hubbard, Jane Harlan, Tom Monroe, Rye Billsbury, Fred Kohler, Jr.

Producer: Boris Petroff
Director: Norman Dawn
Screenplay: Thomas Hubbard
Musical Score: Alex Alexander

Summary: On August 16, 1830, the Hamilton Queen sets off from Salem to the East Indies. The Captain yammers with First Mate Kirk Hamilton about America’s rise to prominence what with these clipper ships to the Orient and all. Sailor Salty forces comic relief into our faces with his cigar theft from the Captain, but a cry of “Sail ho” prepares the crew for battle with pirates aboard the Phantom (and she’s yar). They outrun the pirates but Hamilton has a splinter in his leg which requires that he stay in Queensland for two months as the ship goes on.

Martin Shannon is an Australian sheep rancher who calms his workers (none of whom sound Australian) regarding the piracy. He and Elaine Jeffries are an item, and Elaine’s 10-year-old sister Janice is a loud brat. Daddy Jeffries is the local magistrate, back from Brisbane. Elaine’s friend Nancy is smitten with Kirk, exuding, “The way he smokes … it’s the way he holds it, Elaine!” Janice gets bitchy about the general reaction to her intention to seduce Kirk, and trounces off. Elaine follows to Kirk’s cabin where the intention was to celebrate his birthday with Salty and Mercer, another sailor who stayed behind. We are treated to some sexist talk about ships and women, and nothing much happens while I go to the kitchen for another drink.

Hamilton inflames the locals to form a militia against the pirates, and Cavanagh Peak is a nice central strategic location for something. Martin wants to announce his engagement to Elaine, arguing that Kirk “is from a different world.” But Elaine and Kirk romp around in the springtime. Then there’s a hoedown and I’m out of another drink already. Elaine and Kirk have issues about whose home is the winner in their relationship, such as it is. Fortunately, pirates invade. Shannon’s horses are gone. There’s a lot of that ’40s-style adventure crap with horse chases and ambushes and all that rubbish. Ultimately, Elaine and Nancy are kidnapped. Men pursue and Janice is discovered to be a stowaway aboard ship.

The pirate captain listens to Elaine snot on for a while and then slaps her. It works. Another battle follows. Martin is shot a little but he, Kirk, Elaine, Nancy, Janice, and a guy called John Hartly float in a lifeboat for days. They wash ashore at a “cruel horrid place,” and somehow the surf acts “as if cheated out of its human prey.” This is declared also a “forbidding” place. We see vultures. The lifeboat is broken. Then we remark “barren, windswept, very little vegetation.” After a while they discover water. Janice lolls about and the narrative voice announces “Children know no danger … the world is their playground.” She notes a “hoptoad.” Elaine brings water to the wounded Martin. But all of this is interrupted by footage of lizards photographically enlarged from One Million BC (1940). “Resuming their painful journey,” the morons are glad when “grass and trees began to appear … the odor of growing things.”

The Hamilton Queen is back but Kirk is gone, of course. So they go off in search. He’s busy being deep about a volcano. The castaways run pointlessly back and forth. Nancy becomes a cavewoman in the 1940 movie and is washed away in lava during this “hideous nightmare.” Lizards suffer. Afterwards, on the shore, Martin dies nobly. The Hamilton Queen notes the decimated island. Since nothing could survive, they are about to turn back, but wait. Among dreams of home and hope and happiness, they’re rescued.

Commentary: So this was cheap thrills half a century ago. Hm. Pitiful. No wonder we’re laboring under the atmospheric results of two generations of morons.

The One Million BC footage is still upsetting, even as decoration. Anything having to do with the natural order is dismissed or vilified here, and I don’t count the reverdie backdrop to the obligatory springtime romp (since otherwise these two have no relationship whatsoever). Male mechanical ingenuity is the hero. Australians are pathetic and need some Americans down under there to whip them into a militaristic paranoid frenzy. After all, what if eight pirates landed on that continent?!

I couldn’t even hazard a guess as to what “two worlds” are lost here. Probably mine.