The Illustrated Dinosaur
by Stephen Jones. Titan Books. Paperback. 144 pages.
If all the hype that surrounded the JURASSIC
PARK films steered you away from anything to do with dinosaurs for the duration,
you may have missed this one in your local bookshop. Although timely published to make the
most of the dinosaur craze, this is a comprehensive listing of 80 years of Stone Age
beasties, rubber-clad mammals, Abominable Snowmen and many other filmdom creatures. Listed
in handy chronological order, each film is given a rating, five dinosaurs is a masterpiece
while some only receive 1/2 a dinosaur for effort.
Among the celebrated classics as The Lost World (1925), The
Creature From the Black Lagoon and King Kong
(1933) there is plenty of low budget creature features on offer accompanied by many colour
theatrical posters and lobbycards. Amongst the lesser known releases I was impressed to
find more information about the Italian Zingo
series of 1913-14 featuring the exploits of a hairy caveman. Another pleasing addition is
the brief, but interesting summation of each decade which also features a
mini-biography on Willis O'Brien, the impact
of GODZILLA (aka: Gojira)
and the Toho film company and animator Ray Harryhausen's contribution to the cinema with
an introduction by the man himself.
If a criticism is to be made then I would
have to question the inclusion of some films including Disney's PINOCCHIO
while others that I thought would be present are excluded. I was surprised not to find Georges Méliès' A la Conquete du Pole (1912) with its giant full-scale monster
listed alongside the Melies films that are included.
Despite some minor points, this is still a
vital reference source for lovers of the cinema's huge menagerie of monsters. To echo one
of the more outrageous film poster taglines: "Godzilla for President!"
See also Stephen Jones' The Illustrated Frankenstein Movie Guide.
Available in the US click