Tuesday, August 04, 2015


800 Navy men and one woman, a reporter, head off to Antarctica to work on mapping the uncharted polar region. Commander Jock Mahoney is interested in a 1947 report from one of Admiral Byrd's men that a warm-water oasis was spotted in the middle of the ice mass. Mahoney, the reporter (Shawn Smith), and two other men (pilot William Reynolds and mechanic Phil Harvey) get in a helicopter and attempt a quick reconnaissance flight to find the oasis, but a storm springs up, followed by a giant flying pterodactyl which knocks them down into a lush, warm canyon. The radio is out, they need more tools to fix the helicopter, and they have thirty days until the rest of the expedition leaves them behind. Soon, they discover giant dinosaurs, a huge man-eating plant, and another human being, (Henry Brandon), the sole survivor from a previous lost expedition. Brandon has gone a little nuts and offers to tell them where they can find his crash site to get tools in exchange for them leaving Smith behind with him. Of course, they don't agree and they spend the rest of the month searching for the tools. On the thirtieth day, Brandon finally relents and reveals the location of the crash, but a huge swimming beast threatens to scuttle their escape plan.

This interesting but not terribly compelling adventure fantasy is slightly above a B-movie, but not quite in A-territory. In widescreen black & white, the movie generally looks good, with nice "fantasyland" sets and backgrounds, but the dinosaurs are a mixed bag. The worst is a huge Tyrannosaurus Rex which is clearly some poor guy in a Godzilla-like plastic suit, though the lake-dwelling elasmosaurus is fairly effective. Mahoney, who went on to play Tarzan a couple of years later, is a totally average lead; Smith is a notch better; the handsome Reynolds is best, and really should have been the lead; Brandon is fine as the slightly crazy "caveman." The men get sweaty and their t-shirts get wet a couple times (see picture above, with Reynolds, Mahoney and Smith), so the beefcake quotient was in an acceptable range for me. In general, one of those that's promising and makes you wish it was a little bit better than it is. [DVD]

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