On board a luxury yacht off the coast of Chile is the wealthy and prosperous American, Thornton Armitage, with his young son Billy, and his older daughter Elaine. Elaine is engaged to an overbearing and sadistic man named Ned Hallet. Also along are Billy’s tutor, Steve and Aunt Louise.
Elaine flirts with Steve who misunderstands her playfulness. She puts him in his place.
Suddenly a storm comes up and the yacht is in danger of sinking. A Chilean submarine is sent and the passengers from the ship are taken onto the sub. The storm gets wilder, and a giant waterspout sinks the yacht as an earthquake thrusts up a land mass. The submarine submerges but is caught in a violent current and is forced into an underwater ravine. The sub comes up in the middle of an extinct volcano and runs aground. The sub is damaged beyond repair, so the crew and passengers disembark.
The stranded party discovers that they are on an uncharted island teeming with life. Soon they find that the major life forms on the island are dinosaurs. An exploration party is sent out. They are attacked by various dinosaurs and are killed. Steve is the only survivor. He returns to what is left of the group. The remaining survivors take sanctuary in a cliff side cave. With no transportation off the island the stranded group prepares to spend the rest of their lives as castaways on the forbidding and hostile land. But their troubles are only beginning.
“Creation” 1931, is basically the movie that never was. Director Harry Hoyt wanted special effects expert, and father of stop motion photography, Willis O’Brien to help him create a follow up feature to his 1925 spectacular “The Lost World”. O’Brien began working on the project and created the dinosaurs and some test film. He completed about 20 minutes of stop motion action before the project was scrapped.
The depression was still going on and David O. Selzmick, the studio head of RKO, decided that the cost of the project was too high, and RKO was almost bankrupt. There was no way to make any money on the film. Selznick brought producer Merian C. Cooper on board to help organize RKO Pictures.
Cooper agreed provided he was allowed to make his “gorilla” picture. When Cooper saw the treatment for Creation he hated it, but he was impressed with O’Brien’s technical abilities to bring dinosaurs to life. Much of the test footage and many of the scene layouts and concepts that were intending to be used in Creation went instead into his project, “King Kong”, in one form or another. Cooper also used some of the dinosaur miniatures and armatures in Kong.
Of the original 20 minutes only about four minutes of the test footage remains. That and an illustrated plot synopsis of the film are all that is left of “Creation”. The Synopsis for the film is intense and the action non-stop. There are enough dinosaurs and plot elements to make several movies or an entire series. Had O’Brien been allowed to finish his film, it would have been a movie of epic scale. Instead, we ended up with Merian Cooper’s “gorilla” movie.
Creation test Footage