The Last Dinosaur (1977)
The Last Dinosaur (極底探険船ポーラーボーラ is a Kyokutei Tanken-sen Pōrā-Bōra, lit. Expedition Under the Pole: Polar-Borer)1977 tokusatsu kaiju film co-produced by Rankin/Bass Productions and Tsuburaya Productions and distributed by Toho. The film first aired on ABC on February 11, 1977 in the United States, while it was later released theatrically in Japan in October of that year.
Wealthy big-game hunter Masten Thrust, using his company's advanced drilling vehicle, the Polar-Borer, leads an expedition to a mysterious underground pocket beneath the North Pole which is inhabited by several dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, including a tribe of primitive humans. The expedition takes a dangerous turn when a Tyrannosaurus rex destroys the Polar-Borer, leaving the crew stranded in a mysterious primitive world, where they are stalked by the T-Rex and various other dangerous creatures.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Tsugunobu Kotani, Alexander Grasshoff
- Written by William Overgard
- Produced by Noboru Tsuburaya, Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass, Kazuyoshi Kasai, Benni Korzen, Kinshiro Ohkubo, Masaki Izuka
- Music by Kenjiro Hirose, Maury Laws, Nancy Wilson
- Cinematography by Shoji Ueda
- Edited by Minoru Kozono, Yoshitami Kuroiwa, Tatsuji Nakashizu
- Assistant Directing by Shohei Tojo
- Special Effects by Kazuo Sagawa, Yoshiyuki Yoshimura
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Richard Boone as Masten Thrust Jr.
- Joan Van Ark as Francesca Banks
- Steven Keats as Chuck Wade
- Luther Rackley as Bunta
- Masumi Sekiya as Hazel
- William Ross as Hal
- Carl Hansen as Barney
- Tetsu Nakamura as Dr. Kawamoto
- Don Maloney as Captain of Mother 1
- Vanessa Cristina as Reporter
- Shunsuke Kariya as Primal Man leader
- Toru Kawai as Tyrannosaurus rex
- Tatsumi Nikamoto as Head of Triceratops
Weapons, Vehicles, and Races
- Main article: The Last Dinosaur/Gallery.
- Main article: The Last Dinosaur (Soundtrack).
- Expedition Under the Pole: Polar-Borer (Literal Japanese title)
- The Last Dinosaur (最後の恐竜 Saigo no Kyōryū, Early Japanese title)
- Last Dinosaur - King of Monsters (Viimeinen Dinosaurus - Hirviöitten Kuningas; Finland)
The Last Dinosaur was scheduled for theatrical releases in both Japan and the United States, however it was decided at the last moment to release the film straight to television in the U.S. The film was aired on television by ABC, and had 11 minutes cut from its run time, while it was later released uncut theatrically in Japan by Toho. Warner Bros. finally released the uncut English version of the film in 2011 on DVD.
- Discs: 1
- Region: 2
- Audio: Japanese, English
- Special Features: Audio commentary by director Tsugunobu Kotani and actress Masumi Sekitani, message from actress Sekitani, interview with special effects director Kazuo Sagawa (13 minutes), behind-the-scenes footage narrated by Sagawa, production galleries, Japanese trailer
Warner Archives DVD (2011)
- Region: N/A
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English (2.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: None
- Special Features: None
- Notes: Made-to-order DVD-R.
- This film was a co-production between Tsuburaya Productions and Rankin/Bass, the latter having previously collaborated with Toho to make King Kong Escapes ten years earlier.
- This film is also the second non-Ultra Series film collaboration between Toho and Tsuburaya Productions, with the first being Daigoro vs. Goliath.
- After this film, the Tyrannosaurus rex suit was refurbished and reused in two more Tsuburaya Productions projects, both times as recurring but otherwise unrelated villains; first as Ururu (alias Emperor Tyrannos) in Dinosaur Great War Izenborg (1977-1978) and later as Tyrannosaurus Jackie in Dinosaur Squadron Koseidon (1978-1979).
- The Tyrannosaurus rex in this film is portrayed by Toru Kawai, who played Godzilla in Zone Fighter and Terror of Mechagodzilla, while the front end of the Triceratops is portrayed by Tatsumi Nikamoto, who acted opposite Kawai as Zone Fighter and Titanosaurus in the two works, respectively.
- The boneyard that litters the Tyrannosaurus' lair contains the remains of a wide variety of prehistoric creatures that are not seen living onscreen in the rest of the film. Among the remains are the skulls of a two-horned warthog, numerous mastodons, an ox with a singular horn like that of a unicorn, a separate ox skull with three unusual horns, an unspecified giant reptile, a long-faced cow, a sitting pair of bull skulls, a large headless humanoid skeleton hanging from a dead tree, numerous Pteranodons, the scattered jawbones of prehistoric rhinoceroses such as the Embolotherium and the Arsinoitherium, and skulls heavily resembling those of the Dire Wolf, the Archaeotherium, the Pakicetus, and the Daeodon.
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