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Lizards in Movies
Mysterious Island (1961)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
Mysterious Island Mysterious Island Mysterious Island
Mysterious Island Mysterious Island Mysterious Island
Mysterious Island Mysterious Island Mysterious Island
This is a sequel to the classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), made from the novel by Jules Verne, who also wrote the book that this was based on. It's one of a series of color adventure movies based on Verne's books that were made in the 1950s and '60s, including Around the World in 80 Days and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Captain Nemo and his submarine the Nautalus, with it's pipe organ and luxurious interior make a re-appearance, though the ship is not working.

The movie takes place during the U.S. Civil War. Several men escape a Confederate prison in a balloon and somehow fly across the entire continent and across the Pacific Ocean to land on an uncharted island somewhere near New Zealand. A Union Army Captain becomes their leader as they explore the island, finding that it is inhabited by gigantic animals, including a huge crab they fight with sticks, then eat. They find two women castaways on the beach, so they need a more protected place to sleep. They find a cave high above the beach that's out of range of the giant animals, so the Captain climbs up to explore it. Inside the cave he finds an old overturned suitcase. He lifts it and sees an iguana. He recently fought a giant crab with a stick, but he seems more afraid of the harmless lizard as he picks up a sword to push it away with. I was happy to see that he did not kill it.

The lizard is the standard Green Iguana, commonly used as a scarey beast in adventure movies of this era. This was before iguanas became popular pets I suppose, and before they overran South Flordia, where they have become a nuisance. It would be hard to use them to shock us now. In some similar adventure movies, special effects were used to make the iguanas look gigantic, the size of dinosaurs, but in this one the iguana is just the normal size.