The Land Unknown (1957)

land unknown poster 1957 movie
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 3/10
Visuals: 5/10

Classic '50s sci-fi/fantasy

Cheesy special effects but still fun, dull story and characters

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Land Unknown

Studio: Universal-International

Genre(s): Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  August 21, 1957 (Premiere)/October 30, 1957 (US)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

land unknown dinosaur tyrannosaurus rex

Hey…a lame Godzilla rip-off is coming at us…I can’t remember….are we scared?

An expedition in Antarctica runs into a massive storm which forces them to land. Alan Roberts (Jock Mahoney), Jack Carmen (William Reynolds), Steve Miller (Phil Harvey), and Maggie Hathaway (Shirley Patterson) find themselves trapped in an uncharted lost world.  With their helicopter damaged, the group’s only hope might be a man named Hunter (Henry Brandon) who has managed to survive in the savage world.

Directed by Virgil W. Vogel, The Land Unknown is a science-fiction fantasy.  The movie was released to average reviews.

The Land Unknown just feels like a movie that was pumped out.  The “lost world” aspect of the story and the visuals scream B-Movie…but the film allegedly had grander plans when it was in production.

land unknown killer plant maggie shirley patterson

A triffid that spits poison and kills?

The story is one of those films that starts out and then has nowhere to go.  The characters land in the lost world but then they just encounter different dinosaurs until they encounter Hunter.  The Hunter portion of the movie just has them debating to turn over Maggie to Hunter (she doesn’t have much of her own choice) and then the escape.  Fortunately, the movie is short though it does have you questioning why they just didn’t work harder to persuade Hunter to come with them rather than fight him.

The trio of males that land with Shirley Patterson aren’t the standard “white guy” characters.  You have a heroic character, a nervous character, and a weasely character…but they all are bland and never develop.  Shirley Patterson isn’t bad and almost has a character, but the only character who is almost developed is the Hunter character Henry Brandon who is a scientist pushed to the edge and forced to become “inhuman” to survive.

land unknown elasmosaurus

Grrrr….I’m a paper dinosaur!!!

The movie’s special effects are…memorable.  They use lizards fighting for dinosaurs and a man in a T-Rex suit to menace the scale helicopter.  I like the killer plant that Patterson runs into (twice) and the papier-mâché dinosaur that tries to eat them multiple times.  It is laughable…but with the special effects, I’m glad that the color option was taken away from the film.

The Land Unknown is dull and plodding for a movie including dinosaurs.  The Lost World theme has been done before and it has been done better.  I can’t say that The Land Unknown isn’t worth watching because it is short and to the point.  It also is classic ’50s sci-fi with all the good and bad that comes with it.  Enter the Land Unknown, but don’t be prepared to be that impressed.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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