A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO DINOSAURS ON SCREEN.
Gertie the Dinosaur
This eight-minute animated movie, made in 1914, was the first to feature a dinosaur. The New York Evening Journal called it “the greatest act in the history of motion picture cartoonists”, and a columnist said it was “a laugh from start to finish…far funnier than [the creator’s] noted mosquito drawings”.
The Lost World
Prior to release in 1925, the film (based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 novel) was shown to a group from the Society of American Magicians, including Harry Houdini. They were astounded by what they saw. An article in The New York Times stated that the dinosaurs “were extraordinarily lifelike. If fakes, they were masterpieces”
One Million BC
Actor Victor Mature (who also starred in Demetrius and the Gladiators) plays caveman Tumak who tries to broker peace between the Rock Tribe (warring mob) and the Shell Tribe (peaceful). One Million BC received two Oscar nominations in 1940, for its special effects and musical score.
The groundbreaking 1954 Japanese film that portrays a dinosaur ravaging Tokyo spawned numerous sequels, including Godzilla vs the Sea Monster (1966), Godzilla vs Megaguirus (2000) and Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001).
One Million Years BC
Raquel Welch plays ‘Loana the Fair One’ in this 1966 remake of One Million BC. This film was made by Hammer films, which went on to make more movies featuring cave women wearing not much, including Slave Girls (1968) and Creatures the World Forgot (1971).
The Land that Time Forgot
Survivors aboard a submarine come across an uncharted island lousy with dinosaurs. Made in 1975, the special-effects department used puppetry (string and handheld) for its prehistoric creatures.
Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend
A palaeontologist couple protect a baby brontosaurus from hunters. This film was released in 1985 and garnered generally negative reviews.
The Land Before Time
This 1988 film follows that adventures of Littlefoot, a young orphaned Apatosaurus. Awww! Drawing from this movie’s success many sequels were made. They had sing-along musical elements, and most went straight to DVD.
This article first appeared in Ed#486 of The Big Issue.