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|
Jack Harris Productions
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
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 produced by Harris and directed by Yeaworth. McQueen passed on the film to make The Magnificent Seven instead.
The film 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 awakened is a caveman (Gregg Martell) who befriends Julio, an island boy, and along with the Brontosaurus. The caveman dies while holding a beam in a collapsing mine, allowing others to escape. Meanwhile, the islanders have found refuge from the Tyrannosaurus 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 (Ward Ramsey) drives out to face the beast in a mechanical digger. They 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. In an ending similar to his previous films The Blob and 4D Man, the words "THE END" are shown, followed by a question mark.
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 third season episode of Gilligan's Island in which Gilligan dreams the castaways are all cave dwellers living on the island in the Stone Age.
The roars and growls of the Tyrannosaurus were used numerous times for creatures in The Outer Limits (1963 TV series) in episodes such as The Invisibles, and can also be heard from various other TV monsters.
The toy dinosaurs Julio shows everyone at the cantina were Brontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex plastic figures made by Marx Toys.
Howard Thompson of The New York Times wrote, "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 film was adapted into a comic book of the same name.
- "Harris' How-To-Do-It". Variety. September 21, 1960. p. 21. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
- 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.
- Isabella, Tony (15 October 2009). 1000 Comic Books You Must Read. ISBN 9781440213342.