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King Dinosaur
King Dinosaur
Actors: William Bryant, Wanda Curtis, Douglas Henderson, Patti Gallagher, Marvin Miller
Director: Bert I. Gordon
Genres: Action & Adventure, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
NR     2002     1hr 3min


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Movie Details

Actors: William Bryant, Wanda Curtis, Douglas Henderson, Patti Gallagher, Marvin Miller
Director: Bert I. Gordon
Creators: Gordon Avil, Bert I. Gordon, Jack Cornall, Al Zimbalist, John A. Bushelman, Ralph Helfer, Tom Gries
Genres: Action & Adventure, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Kids & Family, Fantasy, Classics
Studio: Retro Media
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 06/25/2002
Original Release Date: 06/17/1955
Theatrical Release Date: 06/17/1955
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 3min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Fine DVD package for no-budget SF travelogue
Surfink | Racine, WI | 07/25/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"King Dinosaur is a dirt-cheap, mildly entertaining collaboration between 1950s giant monster auteur Bert I. Gordon (Amazing Colossal Man, Attack of the Puppet People, Beginning of the End), producer Al Zimbalist (Robot Monster, Cat Women of the Moon, Monster from Green Hell), and screenwriter Tom Gries (Donovan's Brain, Science Fiction Theater). Incredible as it may sound, King Dinosaur, Gordon's first directorial effort, manages to make his The Cyclops or any of Zimbalist's other flicks look expensive by comparison. You know you're in zero-budget territory when the movie opens with 12 (count `em) solid minutes of stock footage, accompanied by narrator Marvin (Robby the Robot) Miller. (The movie's only 63 minutes long!) Fans of the `knobs and dials' school of poverty-stricken SF will thrill to the seemingly endless scenes of jet engines, rockets, starfields, observatories, and lotsa scientific and military types pushing buttons and flipping switches (reminiscent of one of those old B&W 16mm high school physics films). These opening scenes detail the discovery of a new planet, Nova, and subsequent rocket flight there by Drs. Gordon (Bill Bryant), Bennett (Wanda Curtis), Martin (Douglas Henderson), and Pierce (Patti Gallagher). Finally, 18 minutes in, we get some sync sound as they disembark on the new world. Unsurprisingly, Nova looks amazingly like Earth and the air is breathable. Good thing they don't need those space suits (left over from Abbott & Costello Go to Mars?), especially since there are only two of them! Bryant and Gallagher wander off and get lost in an episode of Marlin Perkins' Wild Kingdom; Henderson and Curtis are liplocked almost immediately, but their fun is soon interrupted by a rubber alligator (which he wrestles while she screams hysterically) and a giant bug (which he shoots while she screams hysterically). Later, after a nighttime encounter with a huge (real) snake (Henderson apparently gamely let the thing crawl on top of him!), Bryant and Gallagher journey by raft to an island where they're menaced by gigantic rear-projected/matted alligators, gila monster, armadillo, miscellaneous reptiles, and a mastodon/mammoth that looks like stock footage from One Million B.C., and are eventually trapped in a cave (Bronson Canyon) by an enlarged iguana. Bryant becomes obsessed with photographing the creature ("It looks just like the king dinosaur Tyrannosaurus Rex! No one will ever believe us!") and grimaces a lot; Gallagher wigs out (a hilarious scene). They send up a rescue flare; Henderson and Curtis rush to the island, and then do absolutely nothing. As the reptiles fight, the humans manage to escape, and then set off a time-delayed nuclear bomb that they just happened to have along! The closing dialogue is priceless, instantly redeeming the preceding 60 minutes of slow death. While Z-movie diehards will find mild- to moderate-level amusement here, mainstream moviegoers beware: nothing resembling an actual dinosaur ever appears in King Dinosaur. I think my wife summed it up nicely: "This movie is nothing but lizards fighting and people walking around in the woods!"
For this beloved bad-film classic, Retromedia delivers the best DVD package I've seen from them yet. The feature, transferred from a 35mm print that is a bit contrasty at times, looks pretty fabulous for a cheapie of this era. The black level, brightness, contrast, shadow/highlight detail, and sharpness are uniformly very good to excellent, rivaling some of the better Image/Wade Williams discs. Physical damage is limited to some very light speckling and spotting throughout, a rare damaged frame or splice, and a jump or two. It's highly unlikely that anyone will ever find or release a nicer print. Unfortunately, I did notice some minor pixelation/artifacting at times, particularly toward the end of the picture. The trailer (also from 35mm) looks merely very good with OK sharpness and detail, but a little flat and washed-out, and suffering from moderate speckling, blemishing, and lining. Six chapter stops, simple yet effective animated menus, and a rather slim but nicely done gallery of eight B&W photos are the only other extras, but this is still a very pleasing DVD release nonetheless."
Lippert and Bert I. Gordon? Oh, the pain, the pain.
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 06/27/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"King Dinosaur was distributed by Lippert Pictures, and you know what that means: tons of stock footage, plenty of walking scenes, and a final product that goes down hard. It gets worse, though. King Dinosaur is also Bert I. Gordon's (yes, that Bert I. Gordon) very first movie; Gordon directed, co-produced, and co-wrote the script. Now before I go any further, let's get one thing straight; I don't want anyone to be under the delusion that there is actually anything resembling a dinosaur in this film. King Dinosaur turns out to be - tada! - a stupid iguana, one of many normal creatures shot on film (or ripped off from stock footage of creatures in the wild) and - through the magic of Bert I. Gordon's matte-projecting technique - turned into fuzzy gigantic "monsters." One of the lead characters says the would-be "King Dinosaur" looks just like a T-Rex, but, folks, this fellow is lying through his teeth. It looks like a stupid iguana because that is what it is.

As unimpressive as the special effects are, the dialogue and very idea of this movie are even worse. We start out with about ten minutes of stock footage, during which time we find out some scientist using the most powerful telescope in the world discovered a new planet and named it Nova (since the planet appears in the night sky as large if not larger than the moon, this discovery fails to impress me) - and, ladies and gentlemen, the planet is covered in vegetation. Scientists rush to develop a rocket that can send a manned mission to Nova, and unfortunately that rocket does not blow up on the launch pad and save us all a lot of time and misery. Now, you might think the good old US of A would send astronauts on this first manned mission to space, but you would be wrong - no, four lame scientists (two men and two women), make up the crew. Despite the lack of anybody remotely resembling an astronaut on board, they manage to land on Nova and begin their mission. Almost immediately, they break up into pairs of smoochers, go out and get themselves lost, and begin to encounter strange animals. Like all scientists confronted with life forms no one has ever encountered before, they try to kill everything unusual they meet up with. They go out of their way to shoot at every one of Gordon's horribly fake gigantic insects and reptiles, even when the creatures are just minding their own business and posing no threat to them whatsoever. The kicker comes at the very end, though. One of the couples investigates a mysterious island while the other couple (the man who fought a rubber crocodile and his constantly-screaming companion) stays behind to flirt and talk about how icky the place is. Finally, our "dinosaur" shows up, and things get ugly. It is safe to say that animals WERE harmed in the making of this movie, as the sadistic B movie moguls stage a number of actual fights between "gigantic" reptiles.

After little more than an hour, this mercifully short film ends - but not before our disgraceful scientist "heroes" manage to bring civilization to Nova - forcing every viewer with a heart and half an ounce of scientific curiosity to bow our heads in shame. You'll find plenty of stuff to make fun of and laugh at in this film, and I'm giving it three stars on that basis. Technically, though, King Dinosaur is mind bogglingly awful in every way possible."
You could do worse
Daniel Jolley | 07/01/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I had enough warm feelings about this movie from when I first saw it in 1955 that I picked up the video right away when it was released a few years ago. I still liked it enough to watch it several times then, though I haven't had the chance to view it since. To some extent, this movie falls into the "so bad it's good category". A new planet drifts into our solar system, and in a burst of creativity is named "Nova". So a space ship with two guys and two hot-babe scientists is sent to investigate. After some initial exploration they discover that Nova bears a striking resemblace to stock footage from "One Million B.C." This is all handled with likeable characters in an easy-going manner, helping to make it more enjoyable that it might seem from a rundown of the plot. {Also, I find one of the women scientists particularly easy on the eyes! And she is portrayed as a competent scientist to boot.) It goes almost without saying that there is no attempt to have any animal in the movie that looks like a real dinosaur. But all things considered this is one of the better movies that uses the "One Million B.C." footage."
Don't Touch it with a Ten Foot Pole
BG Gleep | Northwest Ohio | 11/03/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I give it 1 star because that's the lowest rating available.

I don't have the DVD, I have a video. The box shows a T Rex on the front so I knew it was going to be a good one! WRONG! As pointed out by another reviewer, the cruelest trick of all cheap dinosaur movies is played upon the viewer: There's no dinosaur! Only an overgrown lizzard.

I like cheap dinosaur movies, and I like watching them with my nephew. Even HE felt ripped off by the "dinosaur.""