The Last Dinosaur (1977)

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The Last Dinosaur
Japanese The Last Dinosaur Poster
Alternate titles
Flagicon Japan.png Sub-Polar Exploration
Ship Polar-Borer
(1977)
See alternate titles
Directed by Tsugunobu Kotani, Alexander Grasshoff
Producer(s) Noboru Tsuburaya, Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass, Kazuyoshi Kasai,
Benni Korzen, Kinshiro Okubo,
Masaki Izuka
Written by William Overgard
Music by Maury Laws, Kenjiro Hirose
Distributor TohoJP,
ABCUS
Running time 106 minutesJP
(1 hour, 46 minutes)
95 minutesUS
1 hour, 35 minutes)
Aspect ratio 1.85:1
Rate this film!
4.07
(27 votes)

A lost world!! Ruled by the largest man eating monster of all!!
„ 

— Tagline

The Last Dinosaur (極底探険船ポーラーボーラ,   Kyokutei Tanken-sen Pōrā Bōra, lit. Sub-Polar Exploration Ship Polar-Borer) is a 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.

Plot

During an underwater oil drilling expedition, Thrust Industries' advanced submersible drilling vehicle the Polar-Borer accidentally burrows into a gigantic underground cavern. The vessel's crew ventures out to explore, with one member, Chuck Wade, remaining behind in the Polar-Borer. However, the crew soon find themselves attacked in the jungle by a colossal predator, a Tyrannosaurus rex. Wade manages to escape in the Polar-Borer, with all of his crew mates killed by the dinosaur. When Thrust Industries' CEO, multibillionaire Masten Thrust Jr., learns of the event, he orders a second Polar-Borer expedition to the strange underground world to investigate the presence of a prehistoric creature there, one on which he will be part of the crew. While as far as the public is concerned the expedition is for scientific purposes and grant closure for the crew members lost previously, Thrust - an accomplished big game hunter who had not faced a challenging hunt in years - intends to hunt the Tyrannosaurus himself and claim it as the ultimate trophy. Accompanying Thrust on the expedition are Wade, Japanese scientist Dr. Kawamoto, and an African tracker named Bunta. Francesca Banks, a journalist, convinces Thrust to bring her along on the expedition after seducing him.

The Polar-Borer is launched from Thrust Industries' oil platform Mother 1, and successfully bores through the polar ice and ocean floor until it surfaces in a lake within a jungle-covered underground cavern. Thrust, Wade, Bunta, and Francesca disembark to investigate, while Kawamoto remains behind to watch over their base camp. While exploring the jungle, they narrowly avoid being trampled by a stampeding ceratopsian. They later come upon a pond, where they find gigantic leeches as well as a rock which they later discover is a giant turtle. Meanwhile, the Tyrannosaurus that killed the crew of the last Polar-Borer discovers the expedition's base camp, killing Dr. Kawamoto and trashing the camp before making off with the Polar-Borer. The beast deposits its new prize in its lair, littered with the bones of other prey. Suddenly, a Triceratops erupts from underground and charges at the Tyrannosaurus, goring it with its sharp horns. Despite sustaining injuries, the Tyrannosaurus kills its foe by biting down on its neck with its razor-sharp teeth, causing the Triceratops to bleed to death.

Thrust and the others soon find themselves stranded in the underground world, their every move stalked by both the Tyrannosaurus and a tribe of primitive humans. They are forced to camp in a cave and survive using the weapons they salvaged and hunting the local wildlife. Additionally, Francesca and Wade begin developing feelings for each other. When a large party of primitive men corner the trio, Thrust and Wade manage to kill some of them with their rifles, convincing the others to stay far away from them from now on. However, a primitive woman takes an interest in the group, particularly Thrust, and follows them to their camp. Thrust is furious when the primitive woman tries to sleep with him and wants her thrown out of the camp, but Francesca decides to let her stay, naming her Hazel. One day as Hazel and Francesca are getting water from a lake, they are attacked by the Tyrannosaurus. They narrowly manage to avoid its attack, convincing Thrust that they need to kill it. Thrust and Bunta begin preparing an elaborate trap for the Tyrannosaurus, when Wade discovers the Polar-Borer in the monster's lair. He and Francesca try to convince Thrust to abandon his hunt and help them salvage the Polar-Borer, but find that Thrust's obsession has consumed him and that he wants nothing more than to kill the Tyrannosaurus himself. Wade and Francesca abandon Thrust to his hunt and manage to retrieve the Polar-Borer from the Tyrannosaurus' lair using a pulley system, before finally pushing it back into the lake where it originally emerged. Wade begins repairs to allow the craft to escape, but Francesca goes back to try and convince Thrust to come with them.

As Wade nearly completes repairs on the Polar-Borer, the Tyrannosaurus finds and kills Bunta and prepares to do the same to Thrust and Francesca. Thrust is able to spring his trap, which catapults a gigantic boulder into the Tyrannosaurus' head. While at first it seems to have been effective in bringing the beast down, the Tyrannosaurus soon gets back to its feet and destroys the catapult before escaping. Francesca begs Thrust to leave with her and Wade, but he continues to refuse to go home empty-handed. Francesca pleads with him to leave the Tyrannosaurus alone, since it's "the last dinosaur," but Thrust simply replies that so is he. Thrust sees Francesca and Wade off as the Polar-Borer submerges and returns to the surface world. As Thrust hears the Tyrannosaurus' roar echo through the jungle, he prepares to continue his hunt, and is surprised when Hazel approaches him. Rather than shoo her off like before, Thrust finally decides to let Hazel join him, and the two set off into the jungle together.

Staff

Main article: The Last Dinosaur/Credits.

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 Okubo, Masaki Izuka
  • Music by   Maury Laws
    • Arranged and Conducted by   Kenjiro Hirose
  • Theme Song "The Last Dinosaur" Performed by   Nancy Wilson
    • Composed by   Maury Laws
    • Lyrics by   Jules Bass
    • Arranged and Conducted by   Bernard Hoffer
  • Cinematography by   Shoji Ueda
  • Edited by   Minoru Kozono, Yoshitami Kuroiwa, Tatsuji Nakashizu
  • Production Design by   Kazuhiko Fujiwara
  • Assistant Directing by   Shohei Tojo
  • Special Effects by   Kazuo Sagawa, Yoshiyuki Yoshimura

Cast

Main article: The Last Dinosaur/Credits.

Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Richard Boone   as   Masten Thrust Jr., CEO of Thrust Industries
  • Joan Van Ark   as   Francesca Banks, newspaper reporter
  • Steven Keats   as   Chuck Wade, Polar-Borer crew
  • Luther Rackley   as   Bunta, tracker
  • Masumi Sekiya   as   Hazel, Primitive Woman
  • William Ross   as   Hal
  • Carl Hansen   as   Barney
  • Tetsu Nakamura   as   Dr. Kawamoto, inventor of the Polar-Borer
  • Don Maloney   as   Captain of Mother 1
  • Vanessa Cristina   as   Reporter
  • Shunsuke Kariya   as   Primal Man leader
  • Toru Kawai   as   Tyrannosaurus
  • Tatsumi Nikamoto   as   Triceratops (front end)

Japanese Dub

  • Shuichiro Moriyama   as   Masten Thrust Jr.
  • Michiko Hirai   as   Francesca Banks
  • Katsunosuke Hori   as   Chuck Wade


Appearances

Monsters

Weapons, Vehicles, and Races

Gallery

Main article: The Last Dinosaur/Gallery.

Alternate Titles

  • Sub-Polar Exploration Ship Polar-Borer (literal Japanese title)
  • The Last Dinosaur (最後の恐竜,   Saigo no Kyōryū, early Japanese title)
  • The Last Dinosaur: The Polar-Borer (最後の恐竜ポーラーボーラ,   Saigo no Kyōryū Pōrā-Bōra, alternate Japanese title)
  • The Last Dinosaur: Sub-Polar Exploration Ship Polar-Borer (最後の恐竜 極底探険船ポーラーボーラ,   Saigo no Kyōryū Kyokutei Tanken-sen Pōrā-Bōra, Japanese VHS title)
  • Last Dinosaur - King of Monsters (Viimeinen Dinosaurus - Hirviöitten Kuningas; Finland)

U.S. Release

American The Last Dinosaur television ad

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.

Video Releases

Toho DVD (2009)[1]

  • Discs: 1
  • Region: 2
  • Audio: Japanese, English
  • Subtitles:
  • 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.

Videos

Clips

Japanese The Last Dinosaur
commentary by Tadao Takashima
Warner Bros. The Last Dinosaur
promotional clip
Warner Bros. The Last Dinosaur
promotional clip
Warner Bros. The Last Dinosaur
promotional clip

Trivia

  • 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 Ururu / Emperor Tyrannos version of the suit was faithfully recreated for the climactic segment of the 2017 documentary The Return of Izenborg.[2][3][4]
  • The Tyrannosaurus 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 Tyrannosaurus utilizes a combination of Godzilla's roars and King Kong's roars from King Kong vs. Godzilla and King Kong Escapes.
  • 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.[5]

References

This is a list of references for The Last Dinosaur. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

Comments

Showing 8 comments. When commenting, please remain respectful of other users, stay on topic, and avoid role-playing and excessive punctuation. Comments which violate these guidelines may be removed by administrators.

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avatar

SkullIslandExplorer

3 months ago
Score 3
YOU DING-DONG!
avatar

Godzillafan03

one month ago
Score 2
My favorite quote of all time
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VaderRaptor

one month ago
Score 1
Agreed.
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Godzillafan999

5 months ago
Score 0
can You post a link on wikizilla without verifying your email
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Bowzilla

5 months ago
Score 0
brandon tenold revied this movie
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Toa Hydros

31 months ago
Score 1

My Thoughts: The Ladt Dinosaur

Oh, how I love this movie. One of my favorite "cheesy" dino flicks. I used to watch this one back-to-back with "Planet of Dinosaurs" when I was a kid.

The effects and costumes are... well, bad, but I've seen worse. I like how the T. rex randomly shifts size; one moment it's normal sized, and the next it's nearly kaiju-sized. And let's not forget the triceratops that just appears out of the side of a cliff. No explanation, or hint to how it wound up buried there, just RANDOM TRICERATOPS ATTACK!!!!

The acting, however, is of opposite quality. The human characters are surprisingly likable and defined. I especially liked Richard Boone's character.

Overall, if you can handle a dino flick with a hefty side of cheese, you'll like it just fine.
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The King of the Monsters

33 months ago
Score 1

A lot of people would classify this movie as "so bad it's good." I watched this movie once a long time ago when I was little, and recently went into watching it again expecting it to be so bad it's good. To my surprise, it was actually a pretty competently made film with some solid acting, especially from the great Richard Boone, and enjoyable special effects. The Tyrannosaurus rex in particular has become one of my favorite kaiju, as despite its clumsy suit it manages to exude quite a bit of personality and menace. The story, despite its obvious B-movie premise, is handled pretty well too.

I'd say The Last Dinosaur isn't "so bad it's good." I say if it's your kind of film, then it's just plain good. It's entertaining and well-done in many respects, and some of the cheesier aspects of the production serve only to make it more fun and endearing. I'll give it a 5 out of 5, just because I was greatly impressed by its quality given my expectations.
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The King of the Monsters

35 months ago
Score 0
I finally ordered this movie on Amazon, so I will be able to watch it again for the first time since I was really little and actually start making pages for all the things that appear in it soon.
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