King Dinosaur (1955) by Bert I. Gordon
Key Dinosaur deals with a new planet appears in our solar system, within sight of Earth. This prompts a two-man, two-woman rocket flight that finds giant animals and reptiles, some reminiscent of our planet’s prehistoric monsters. A key early low budget Bert I. Gordon production with the “prehistoric monsters” played by a magnified iguana and other lizards!
It can safely be said that Dinosaur King is a cheaply made, poorly done science fiction movie. It’s by Bert I. Gordon (B.I.G.), so that’s not very surprising.
The basic plot has a new planet, Nova, entering the solar system in the “far future” of 1960. An intrepid team of two male & two female astronauts are sent to investigate. After a fairly boring journey, they arrive, to find a planet nearly-identical to Earth. The only immediate difference is a slightly higher oxygen level. There’s stock footage of deer, bear cubs, etc. And, they find a cute lemur. Aww! And, time for romance, as well.
But the next day, they find giant insects, and dinosaurs. Actually, an iguana and a baby crocodile. As they run for their lives, they detonate an atomic bomb. Why? Because! And, they meet a cute giant armadillo as well. Which all get blown to atoms. And then, they leave. Roll credits. Seriously.
Dr. Ralph Martin: [after detonating an atomic bomb and watching it annihilate much of Planet Nova] Well, we’ve done it.
Dr. Richard Gordon: Yeah, we sure have done it: Brought civilization to Planet Nova.
Dr. Ralph Martin: Come on, let’s go home.
- Is the lemur the most interesting part of this film?
- If the astronauts are just going to run away … why detonate an atomic weapon first?
- Since they’re simply running away from an atomic explosion, shouldn’t they be dead? Dying of radiation poisoning? Going to have kids with tentacles for arms?
- William Bryant (The Great Race, Hondo) … Dr. Ralph Martin
- Wanda Curtis … Dr. Patricia Bennett
- Douglas Henderson (The Manchurian Candidate) … Dr. Richard Gordon
- Patti Gallagher … Nora Pierce
- Marvin Miller (Off Limits) … Narrator (voice)
- Mr. BIG (Bert I Gordon) actually reviewed dinosaur footage brought in by Ray Harryhausen and Ray Bradbury and did not even acknowledge them at the end of the viewing. There was no comment at all, no good, bad or get lost, just Gordon walking out. Obviously, Harryhausen and Bradbury were upset and disappointed. A couple of years later, Bert I Gordon came out with this jewel and upon leaving the premier, Ray Bradbury went up to Gordon, said “Remember me? Ray Bradbury. It won’t make a dime!” And it didn’t.
- Marvin Miller, who narrates this film, was the voice of Robby The Robot in Forbidden Planet.
Editorial review of King Dinosaur courtesy of Amazon.com
Four scientists, two men and two women, travel to a planet called Nova that has just entered Earth’s solar system. The crew begins to study the planet to see if it would be suitable to host a terrestrial colony. At first the animals they find seem the same as those on Earth, but they will soon discover that there are also giant insects and dinosaurs …
Shot in just three days (yes, three!), KING DINOSAUR is the debut feature by Bert I. Gordon, aka Mister BIG, the specialist in low-budget giant monster movies (THE CYCLOPS, THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN, ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE). If you thought you had seen it all with the ineffable ROBOT MONSTER, it was because you still did not know KING DINOSAUR, a film that with a non-existent budget, a script as fine as cigarette paper, some cheap dinosaurs and characters of stupidity rarely achieved in cinema, it will make you cry with laughter.