DVD cover (2002)
|Directed by||Irvin Yeaworth|
|Produced by||Jack H. Harris|
|Written by||Dan E. Weisburd
|Music by||Ronald Stein|
|Edited by||John A. Bushelman|
Dinosaurus! is a 1960 science fiction film directed by Irvin Yeaworth and produced by Jack H. Harris. The leading role was intended for Steve McQueen, who starred in The Blob two years earlier, also directed by Yeaworth Jr. But for reasons not clear, the offer was never made to McQueen.
The movie is about American men building a harbour on a Caribbean island when they accidentally uncover two dinosaurs that have been frozen in suspended animation for millions of years. They are a Brontosaurus and a Tyrannosaurus rex. That night, during a storm, the beasts are struck by lightning and come back to life. The islanders have no idea that the dinosaurs are alive because of the storm and are now roaming the island. Also awoken is a caveman (played by Gregg Martell) who befriends Julio, an island boy, and along with the Brontosaurus get into a series of wacky misadventures, which lead to the death of the Brontosaurus and the caveman. Meanwhile the islanders have found refuge from the Tyrant Lizard King by hiding in the old fortress, which is protected by a ring of burning fuel. To ensure the Tyrannosaurus does not get in, the hero Bart (played by Ward Ramsey) drives out to face the beast in a mechanical digger. The two duel on the edge of an island cliff and, after a tense fight, the Tyrannosaurus is knocked into water, ending the island terror. The film ends with a picture of the apparently dead Tyrannosaurus on the sea bed, with 'THE END' followed by '?' superimposed. Even though the movie ended with a question mark, there was no sequel.
Parts of the film were shot on location. Some location shooting took place on the Island of St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The dinosaurs were filmed using the technique of stop-motion animation as well as puppets for close-ups.
During special-effects work on this picture, the crew used their Brontosaurus model and miniature jungle set to film a shot for an episode of TV's The Twilight Zone (1959), called "The Odyssey of Flight 33". A shot of the Tyrannosaurus was borrowed as well for "The Secret of Gilligan's Island," a 3rd season episode of Gilligan's Island where Gilligan dreams the castaways are all cavepeople living on the island back in the stone age.
The toy dinosaurs Julio shows everyone at the cantena were Brontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex plastic figures made by Marx Toys.
The New York Times reviewer Howard Thompson said of this film, "If ever there was a tired, synthetic, plodding sample of movie junk, it's this "epic" about two prehistoric animals hauled from an underwater deep-freeze by some island engineers."
The concept of the caveman being alive together with the dinosaurs is an actual misconception. Man finally came along millions of years after the dinosaurs became extinct.
- Thompson, Howard (1960-09-09). "Dinosaurus! (1960), From the Deep-Freeze". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-12.
- Webber, Roy P.; Aupperle, Jim; Maylone, Bill (2004). The dinosaur films of Ray Harryhausen: features, early 16mm experiments and unrealized projects. McFarland. p. 152. ISBN 0-7864-1666-1.