Notes: A made-for-TV movie by Rankin-Bass (yes, the same
who brought us Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer).
On the videocassette box: "A Land Where Time Was Forgotten! . . .
Masten Thrust: Richard Boone
Francesca "Frankie" Banks: Joan Van Ark
Charles "Chuck" Wade: Steven Keats
Bunta: Luther Rackley
Dr. Kawamoto: Tatsu Nakamura
With Carl Hansen.
Summary/Commentary: We see film of an elephant charging.
"Did you really shoot that?" asks a woman. Masten
Thrust says, in world-weary fashion, "Yeah, I shot it."
"Oh, what an ugly alligator! Did you shoot that too?"
"It's not an alligator; it's a crocodile. And yes, I shot
it." He chuckles. "See that ram? They say that that
was an endangered species. You know they're gonna put cows on
the list next?" He mentions the "Loch Ness monster.
They haven't found it yet, but it's already on that endangered
species list." "You've done everything!" "No,
maybe not everything." He tosses her a scrapbook, saying,
"Look at that. It might amuse you." We see his decor:
mounted heads of his kills and fur rugs. (Cp. Doyle's description
of Lord John Roxton's bachelor pad in The Lost World.)
Credits roll with "The Last
sung by Nancy Wilson: "Most men have failed where he's prevailed.
. . . The world holds nothing new in store for him. . . . His
time has passed; there are no more. He is the last dinosaur."
Meanwhile, we see scrapbook material as viewed by the woman (who
owns a poodle -- what is a poodle doing in a dinosaur movie like
this?! Answer this question and you've got the key!) Pictures
show Thrust as victorious over Nazis and in various other manly
triumphs. Later, the Port City News headline reads: "Animal
Lovers Take Aim at Thrust." The last picture in the book
show an aged but rugged Thrust "thrusting" his fist
at the camera.
He leaves the woman at an airport
with a solid gold bullet: "A token of my appreciation. .
. . When times get really tough, you can bite on it." Kiss-off.
At Thrust Industries, Thrust mistakes
Francesca Banks, press representative and photographer, for a
groupie. Dr. Kawamoto insists on being assured "that this
effort will go forward in the interest of science. . . . I've
seen those mounted animals like herds around your gameroom walls."
He receives Thrust's word.
At the press conference, he explains
that Thrust Industries was "drilling for oil successfully
under the polar cap" with their "Polar-Borer V."
Geologist and only survivor Chuck Wade babbles, "Everything
was A-okay until 5-8-0 level. . . . cast off a 0700 . . . received
an affirmative that we had an abort situation but before we could
activate. . . . something moving above the trees in the haze,
an enormous animal." Ultimately, the other four crew members
"didn't see it until it was too late, and then, then they
were gone." The press ask frantically what he means. Thrust
says, "They were eaten." "By what, Mr. Thrust?"
"As far as we know, it was Tyrannosaurus Rex, the largest
carnivore that ever lived, the king of the dinosaurs. That film
was taken in the New York Museum of Natural History. You can
see from the skeleton how large that animal is. It's 20 feet
high and 40 feet long. It weighs 8 tons. Yes, prehistoric, and
we are gonna find it. We are going to find that animal. . . .
No, I don't intend to kill that animal. It will not be hunted;
it will not be harmed. It will be studied, observed, and photographed.
It will be treated exactly as Dr. Kawamoto has prescribed"
The exploration team will consist of Thrust, Kawamoto, Wade,
a press representative, and Thrust's "Masai tracker,"
At a Japanese dinner, Thrust toasts
with: "Here's to a giant step backward for mankind."
[Note the trappings associated with Japanese dinner in Japanese
surroundings -- the politeness, the swans in the artificially
formed pond, the carefully placed rocks and trimmed hedges of
the gardens, the sushi (raw fish but so ritualized and formalized
that one is robbed of the essence of sticking one's face into
a river and chewing on a live one).] Frankie, the press photographer,
wins Thrust over by talking guns. "You are a hunter?!"
She describes the .22 single-shot Wesson her father gave her
(and its walnut stock, nickel plating, double trigger guards,
7 or 8 pounds), and Thrust has the same gun in his collection
(adjustable front site). Quelle romance! She takes him to bed
to show him war photos.
Before the expedition, Thrust insists,
"I will not risk one more man--one more life."
In this "land that time forgot,"
a volcano heats the water (as Dr. K. determines), it's 90 degrees
Fahrenheit, and we see pine trees and pterodactyls. "Utterly
beautiful," says Frankie. Thrust: "Glaciers, forests,
like the beginning of time." "It's a little frightening.
Everything seems kind of suspended," says Frankie. What
Chuck identifies as "one of the ceratopceans" rambles
along and threatens to run down Frankie who takes photos. Tensions
between Wade and Thrust begin.
Bunta polished his sword; "Bunta
means the owner of 100 wives and 1000 head of cattle." A
pterodactyl swoops low overhead.
Thrust takes his gun the next day:
"I said the animal would not be hunted, but if we get in
a jam. . . ." They trek. Chuck describes the place as a
"botanist's dream," but Frankie says, "to me it's
more like walking in the bottom of a salad bowl." "Imagine:
we're the first humans to ever break a path here." They
discover enormous tracks of the T. Rex. Says Wade: "Paleontologists
have called them the crown of creation, the king of the super-tyrant
lizards." Thrust: "Well, that sure sounds poetic.
The tracks lead straight down that way." Frankie encounters
a giant turtle and giant leeches. Finally, faced with a tyrannosaur,
other dinosaurs prove of no interest or value. The animals slathers
and gives out Godzilla-like noises, and slowly pursues the humans.
Thrust and Bunta try to shoot and spear it, Thrust insisting
he try to "stop it here." "What do you mean stop
it?" "Stop it: I mean kill it." Thrust's gun
jams. Wade take Thrust to task: "We were only supposed to
take film and study it. . . . Oh, I see; I see it very clearly
now. You intended to kill that dinosaur all along, to add it
to your collection of stuffed animals." "Oh, shut up."
The T. Rex, perhaps annoyed that Bunta
did spear it in the chest, after eating a fish, discovers the
campsite, steps on Dr. Kawamoto, wrecks the camp, and flings the
Polar-Borer to a cave, where he partially buries the capsule.
(Do lizards play? Do they act out plans of vengeance?) He then
has a motiveless fight with a triceratops.
On discovering the destroyed campsite,
Thrust speechifies: "That's it. This animal, this eight-ton
animal is a carnivore. It eats meat. Us! This 40-foot monster,
with a brain the size of a dried pea has just destroyed a man
with one of the great minds of this century. That is its fifth
victim and I tell you this: it is the last. I will hunt
that thing down and I will kill it." "With what?"
laughs Frankie, "All our equipment, everything is ruined."
"Then I will have to make a weapon. And, by God, I will
not leave here until I have destroyed that thing!"
They discover the Polar-Borer gone.
"I suppose it must have been curious because it was shiny"
and so sunk it. There will be no rescue mission.
After four months, we find out that the natives are learning: "sharpening the ends of 'em [their sticks] probably on rocks, imitating our spears." "They're learning."
"Well there it is: second straight
day and no game." "We've hunted the area out. We gotta
move on." [They depleted the area where a 40-foot carnivore
lives?] "Chuck, if we leave the sanctuary of that cave at
night, that tribe out there is gonna pick us off like that!
We've gotta find some way to drive them out for good."
"Oh yeah, how? There's gotta be easily 20 or 30 of 'em."
"We gotta have a weapon of some kind." "Oh, sure;
why don't we get ourselves a bazooka and uh maybe a minuteman
missile." "No, no; but maybe I've got something almost
as good." Thrust has been "messin' around with some
of that debris that was left over after Kawamoto was killed."
Frankie crabs: "I hope you've
got something." Chuck: "Are you kidding? We're lucky
we got back ourselves." "Then you didn't?! What
"How long have we been here, huh? Two months? Three?"
"No, more like four." "Do you remember in the
beginning how, how those savages . . . were afraid of us. I mean
they wouldn't even come near us. Remember? We started leaving
parts of the kill that we didn't want. That's where we made our
mistake. Now they fight us for the game. It's like having a
pack of jackals constantly at your feet." "Well, if
they're human why can't you make contact with them--try to be
friendly instead of fighting?" "Sweetheart, they're
some spin-off of Robustus, earliest known man." "Yeah,
well you can tame wild animals; why not them?" "Yeah.
Have you ever heard of anybody attempting to tame a uh an adult
male baboon? They're naturally vicious. We're lucky we--lucky
all they got was just the rabbit. . . . No, no. We have to move
on and find more game. They've been constantly harassing us.
It's too dangerous to travel far." "What do you mean?
You've got weapons. You've got knives and spears." "We
need a rifle, a pistol." "Do you realize what we're
doing. We are sitting here and we're calmly discussing murder?"
"Well, I'm afraid that it's come down to that. Because
if we don't break out of here and get something to eat, we are
gonna get weaker and weaker; and one morning we're gonna wake
up to the sound of heads being cracked open. Ours." "Well,
I think it's horrible having to kill each other to survive."
"Would you just knock it off? If we don't kill, we don't
survive. You're the one who's always complaining all the time
when we come back from the hunt without any fresh meat. . . ."
"Maybe it's because I'm the one that has to butcher all
your bloody kills and I'm the one who does all the cooking and
I'm the one who. . . ." Aggression turns to romance again,
interrupted by Thrust.
"They've never come that close
before," warns Frankie, regarding the natives. Thrust has
a crossbow made "from the bits and pieces of Dr. Kawamoto's
stuff." He shoots a native. Wade: "They don't understand
it, but one thing is clear: we can make them dead."
Triumphant is the jubilee when they
carry back a dead fowl including jokes about gourmet meals from
"Hazel," the native woman who becomes Frankie's "first
domestic servant, the first lady's maid." "That stinking
damn thing got in my bed!" shouts Thrust before he realizes,
"She brought me the site of my rifle." [Again, associations
with guns win him over.]
The two women are grooming when the
T. Rex appears, and Frankie runs through its legs and into a cave.
The men shout insults and aggressive taunting to attract the
attention of the dinosaur: "C'mon, birdbrain!" "C'mon,
let's see what you can do!" "C'mon you big dragon!"
"You pea-brain nothing!" A dislodged boulder tied
to its tail drags it down the hill.
Thrust wants to go after the dinosaur.
Chuck whines, "Leave it alone." "It will not
leave us alone. It will continue to plague us until we are chewed,
and swallowed, and dissolved; and I am not ready for that. I'm
gonna take it first." He builds a catapult. "What
happens if he doesn't show up?" "Oh, he'll show up
alright. We've got the best bait in the world." "Really?
What's that?" "Us."
Chuck to Frankie: "Maybe if
he can kill the damn thing and get it over with, he'll come around.
It's become an obsession with him." But Chuck finds the
Polar-Borer. Thrust: "First we get the dinosaur; then we
think about leaving." Chuck: "To hell with Masten;
he likes this life. He is more primitive than that Robustus tribe."
Frankie: "After all we've been through, I'd like to think
that we're still civilized enough to be compassionate."
Bunta is killed. Frankie and Thrust
talk. "I want you to come back with us." "I got
a better idea. You stay here with me. I like that idea. Adam
and Eve. Now you tell me the truth; what's back there for you?
Confusion, frustration. Here's where life is--pure, simple.
We could make love; we could hunt. And what the hell else is
there, huh?" "You don't belong here. You come back
with me now and I'll gladly be your Eve anywhere in the world."
"I believe you would, crazy lady." Their kiss is interrupted
by an attack. The boulder is catapulted onto the head of the
dinosaur. But it lives. Masten throws explosives to no avail.
Later, Frankie pleads: "Masten,
please. You've done all anyone could and you were just magnificent;
but please, let the dinosaur go. Let it be. It's the last one."
"So am I." Frankie and Chuck run off. After a final
wave, Thrust walks off alone, trailed gradually by the native
woman. After the closing theme song, we hear the roar of the
[Post"script": I have to admit, I love this dorky movie. Richard Boone is trés cool, and I had like this totally major crush on Joan Van Ark when I was whatever and before she grew so obsessed with trying not to age.]