Made-for-tv film (1977). Rankin/Bass Productions-Tsuburaya Productions for ABC-TV. Produced by Jules Bass. Directed by Alexander Grasshoff, Tsugunobu Kotani (credited as Tom Kotani). Written by William Overgard. Cast includes Richard Boone, Steven Keats (Chuck Wade), Tetsu Nakamura, Luther Rackley (Bunta) and Joan Van Ark. 106 minutes, cut to 95 minutes. Colour.
Masten Thrust Jr (Boone) is a billionaire oil company owner and big-game hunter whose company has discovered an Underground Lost World below the North Pole. A previous expedition in Mother One, an earth-boring vehicle, has found living Dinosaurs there, against which Thrust is eager to match his hunting skills (although he keeps his true intentions secret until arrival). Accompanied by reporter Francesca "Frankie" Banks (Van Ark) and several others, the crew arrives safely, but is soon threatened by prehistoric human cave-dwellers as well as the dinosaurs, the latter including a particularly large Tyrannosaurus rex. Thrust becomes obsessed with slaying this beast, especially after it kills Dr Kawamoto (Nakamura). The Tyrannosaurus proves resourceful, however, and manages to roll away the earth-boring machine, though this is eventually recovered. After much adventure, the survivors return to the surface world – minus Thrust, who has elected to remain behind.
The film bears considerable plot similarities to the Pellucidar series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, especially At the Earth's Core (4-25 April 1914 All-Story Weekly; 1922), filmed in the previous year as At the Earth's Core (1976). The Last Dinosaur was one of the better dinosaur films to appear on US television during the 1970s. [GFi]
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