Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


KING DINOSAUR (1955). Director: Bert I. Gordon.

When a new planet, christened Nova, somehow enters our solar system in a nearby orbit, four scientists are sent by spaceship to the world to investigate. There they find normal-looking snakes and gators, as well as a big ugly bug and an island full of prehistoric monsters. The biggest, supposedly a T-Rex, is "King Dinosaur." The first quarter of the film is mostly narration and stock footage, but things pick up a bit -- comparatively speaking -- when the scientists start exploring. The climax with two of the members of the expedition trapped in a cavern by King Dinosaur, who thrusts his snout and sticks his claws into the hole in an attempt to get at them, is fun. The music by Louis Palange and Gene Garf sounds like a lazy pastiche of Ravel's Bolero most of the time, but there is effectively-done action music for the climactic scenes. Of the actors, Bill Bryant, who plays Ralph, had the most potential, and indeed he had a long career as a working actor. Douglas Henderson also had a long list of credits both before and after making this movie. The actresses did not fare as well, however. Patti Gallagher had only a few credits, and this was the only film that Wanda Curtis ever appeared in. This was the first of Mr. BIG [Bert I. Gordon's] giant monster movies. NOTE: For more on this and similar films see Creature Features.

Verdict: Perfect for a rainy Sunday, but for fans of cheapie creepiers only. **1/2.

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