• Dinosaurus! (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: August 20th, 2019.
    Director: Irvin Yeaworth
    Cast: Ward Ramsey, Paul Paul Lukather, Kristina Hanson, Alan Roberts, Gregg Martell
    Year: 1960
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    Dinosaurus! – Movie Review:

    From producer Jack H. Harris and director Irvin "Shorty" Yeaworth, the team that brought you The Blob and The 4-D Man, 1960’s Dinosaurus! takes place on an unnamed island somewhere in the Caribbean. Here, manly man Bart Thompson (Ward Ramsey) overseas a team of construction workers responsible for dredging a new harbor on the islands shore. While doing so, one of the divers discovers both a brontosaurus and a tyrannosaurus-rex, perfectly preserved at the bottom of the bay they’re working in. Previously caged in ice, the blasting from the construction work has now brought them to the team’s attention.

    It’s decided that the dinosaurs should be dragged onto shore for further examination, and so they are, immobile and seemingly deceased – until that night, when a storm hits and a bolt of lightning somehow brings the two gigantic prehistoric behemoths back to life. Mike Hacker (Fred Engelberg), the man who manages the island, smells dollar signs and wants to capture the beasts and put them on display, while his goofy stepson, Julio (Alan Roberts), befriends the brontosaurus before then making friends with a caveman (Gregg Martell) who has also come out of hibernation only to run about the island and then kidnap lovely Betty Piper (Kristina Hanson), Bart’s girlfriend.

    What Dinosaurus! might lack in character development might be substantial, but so too is the quantity and quality of the dinosaur action contained in the picture. The low budget stop-motion effects on display fairly constantly throughout the second half of the picture are charming and endearing, very much a product of the era in which the picture was made but also quirky, creative and just plain awesome. They might not be particularly realistic looking and there’s some very obvious superimposition noticeable throughout the movie, but you can’t help but appreciate the visuals here. On top of that, Stanley Cortez handled the cinematography on the picture. Anyone familiar with his work on Night Of The Hunter knows that the guy can frame a scene, and he does, the movie is very nicely shot, while Ronald Stein’s musical score comes through in all the right places to up the action and excitement.

    The acting is about what you’d expect from a goofy monster movie. Ward Ramsey, as the film’s leading man, is as macho as they come. He’s smart, dashing, handsome, fearless and tough but so too is he on the right side of all of this, the consummate good guy. Kristina Hanson as his lady love isn’t given as much to do but she handles some of the film’s more comedic moments well, particularly once she’s whisked off by the caveman. And speaking of that caveman, Gregg Martell does a great job of running around and grunting. He and goofball kid Alan Roberts have a strangely effective chemistry. Fred Engelberg plays the villain well, he’s just scummy but he makes a great foil for Ramsey’s tough guy hero.

    Dinosaurus! – Blu-ray Review:

    Kino Lorber brings Dinosaurus! to Blu-ray on a 50GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen and taken from a new 4k restoration. The picture quality here is very nice, a really massive improvement over what we’ve seen on home video before. The optical effects used in the film stand out a bit more, but that’s where a lot of the film’s charm comes from any and more fans won’t mind that at all. It’s the increase in detail that really impresses here, depth and texture as well. Colors look perfect, black levels are nice and deep and skin tones look lifelike and accurate. There’s some natural film grain here but no noticeable print damage at all, the picture is very clean. A great job from Kino on this one, the movie looks fantastic.

    The only audio option offered here is a DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track in English. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. No problems to note, the sound is clean, clear and nicely balanced. The score in particular sounds quite lush in spots, sometimes surprisingly so.

    An audio commentary by Kris Seaworth starts off the extra features. In this track, the director’s son walks us through his father’s career and offers a lot of interesting and amusing stories not just about his work and legacy in film, but his persona as well. It’s a good track and while it isn’t always 100% Dinosaurus! specific it does paint a pretty vivid picture of who Irvin ‘Shorty’ Yeaworth was.

    From there, we get Dinosaurs! : A Monstrous Story which is a featurette made up of interviews with producer Jack H. Harris, actor Paul Leather and film historians Donald F. Glut and Bill Warren. Here, over the span of twenty-nine-minutes, we learn what it was like on set and the origins as well as what has made the film so popular over the years, how it comes to other monster films of the era and more. It’s a good mix of stories from those involved with the making of the film and observations/criticisms from the two monster kid historians.

    Aside from that we get a trailer for the feature, trailers for a few other Kino Lorber releases (The Land Unknown, One Million Years B.C., The Monster That Challenged The World, The 4-D Man, The Astro-Zombies and Beware! The Blob), menus and chapter selection. This release also comes packaged with some neat reversible cover artwork.

    Dinosaurus! – The Final Word:

    Dinosaurus! is as impossible to take seriously as it is impossible not to enjoy. It’s just a ridiculously fun movie with some great old school monster effects, crazy characters, goofy humor and a game cast. Kino’s Blu-ray release has some nice extras on it and it looks and sounds fantastic.

    Click on the images below for full sized Dinosaurus! Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. chriszilla's Avatar
      chriszilla -
      Thanks for the review, Ian. Coincidentally, I was just watching this one last night, but unfortunately the "sleep monster" got a hold of me somewhere past the midpoint, prior to the caveman kidnapping the leading lady. Agreed that the transfer looks really good, and that Gregg Martell does a surprisingly good job as the neanderthal.

      I thought it was interesting that the natives of this unnamed island appear to be a mixture of Hispanic and Black. Was that intentional, or just sloppy casting? Perhaps the commentary touches on this?

      And I assume you meant "2.35" when referencing the aspect ratio?
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      No still gallery?