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The Land Unknown (1957) - Blu-ray Review

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The Land Unknown (1957) - Blu-ray Review

Fun with helicopter models and CinemaScope exploits! 

The Land Unknown arrives on blu-ray thanks to Kino Lorber Studio Classics and while it is definitely C-grade 1950s entertainment – happiest when knocking off King Kong and The Lost World – the adventure film, directed by Virgil W. Vogel (The Mole People), has one of my favorite scenes in it.  It is right before two GIANT Gila monsters attack each other, battling to the death, whereupon the corpse of a pterodactyl is discovered face down in the sand.  Wait.  What?

"Combining dino chills and spills with oversized monster suits actually makes for one hell of a campy flick"


All the poor man wants is a drink.  It is hotter than Hell after all.  What he gets is the discovery of a lifetime and with that unburied find is a whole heap of trouble involving other dinosaurs and some pretty strange monsters, all claiming this warm area of Antarctica as their own.

Because that’s what happens when it is discovered that Antarctica is found to be hiding a pocket of warm water.  Could there also be a swamp there?  And trees?  But, of course, there could be!  Dinosaurs, strange toothy creatures, and all manner of rubber-suited humanoid monsters patrol the area!  They all await those poor souls brave enough to enter The Land Unknown.

Starring Jock Mahoney and Shirley Patterson as two of the dumbest scientist you are likely to ever meet, The Land Unknown begins, as most 1950s B-pictures do, with a geographical and a science lesson that is absolutely nutso.  That’s alright because if we wanted straight facts, well, we wouldn’t be turning to a popcorn flick of yesteryear for that source.  Antarctica.  Warm?  You had me at “this might sound crazy…”

This loopy film, complete with a kinda, sorta Captain Caveman, is all sorts of crazy fun.  Combining Dino chills and spills with oversized monster suits actually makes for one hell of a campy flick.  Because it turns out that, in 1947, a discovery was found and now, with the right helicopter and crew, the odd area of Antarctica can be explored again (as a first expedition was lost) and the secrets that this bizarre world has tucked away from humans will be exposed.The Land Unknown (1957) - Blu-ray Review

With one over-sized mechanical creature (with a really big mouth) and a fanged water creature as its main source of all threats,  this film sees the survivors of this accidental touchdown on the surface of Antarctica constantly on the move.  Whether by sea, land, or air, nothing is going to get in the way of these monsters and their unyielding appetites for destruction and delicious human flesh.

Planned to be released in color, The Land Unknown could have been something incredibly over the top and IN LIVING COLOR, but thanks to an out of control special effects team, the studio wound up paying dearly for a goofy-looking Tyrannosaurus, an Elasmosaurus, live action monitor lizards, and a bulbus-looking giant flesh-consuming plant that sneaks up on people and eats the expedition’s pet Loris.  That bastard.

Make The Land Unknown known to you and scoop up this certifiable B-movie blast on blu-ray today.

4/5 beers

The Land Unknown (1957) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
78 mins
Director
: Virgil W. Vogel
Writer:
László Görög
Cast:
Jock Mahoney, Shirley Patterson, William Reynolds
Genre
: Adventure | Sci-fi
Tagline:
THRILLS...IN A PARADISE OF HIDDEN TERRORS!
Memorable Movie Quote: "We're not going to dig our way out of here through human flesh. Not Maggie's, Hunter's, not even yours."
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 30, 1957
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 23, 2019
Synopsis: A Navy expedition led by Commander Hal Roberts (Jock Mahoney, Tarzan Goes to India) is sent to explore a mysterious warm-water region shrouded in the ice of Antarctica. When a fierce storm drives them into a cloud bank, their helicopter is disabled. Descending through the heavy fog into a deep chasm, they encounter a hot, tropical landscape of prehistoric terror! Untouched by the Ice Age and the imprint of time and evolution, a 20th-century Mesozoic era awaits them, complete with ferocious dinosaurs and carnivorous plants. While trying to repair their chopper and forage for food, they discover they are not alone. The only female among them, journalist Margaret Hathaway (Shawn Smith, World Without End), is captured by the sole survivor of a previous expedition. Driven to madness by isolation and the terrors of life in the primordial jungle, this desperate man may be their only hope for escape from The Land Unknown.

The Land Unknown (1957) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- April 23, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: 6-bit DTS-HD Master Audio
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The brand new 2K restoration, handling the crisp B&W photography, is simply gorgeous.  The newly minted 1080p transfer is black and white gloriousness in all its crisp visuals.  Textures are full of life and the details are strong, ringing true in almost every scene.  Black levels are deep and keep their edges in the shadows.  Optical effect shots are clear, with some minor fuzziness, but the edges are usually quite sharp.  The 16-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack in two-channel mono is adequate for the at-home experience.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is an excellent NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historians Tom Weaver and David Schecter that fans of the film will definitely want to check out.

Special Features:

We get animated galleries, a new commentary (which is fabulous), and a theatrical trailer.

  • Animated Image Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Land Unknown (1957) - Blu-ray Review

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