King Dinosaur is a 1955 American science fiction film starring William Bryant and Wanda Curtis with narration by Marvin Miller. It was directed over a seven-day period by Bert I. Gordon and was his debut. The screenplay was written by Tom Gries based on a story by Gordon and his co-producer Al Zimbalist. The camera and other pieces of equipment were borrowed and the four cast members worked for deferred salaries.
The scene of the attacking Mastodon was stock footage recycled from the film One Million B.C. There were only four actors in this film, the rest of the band and soldiers were just military stock footage, the atomic bomb explosions was also military stock footage.
Four astronauts in 1960 travel to a planet called Nova that has just entered Earth’s solar system. The crew begins studying the planet to see if it’s suitable for a possible Earth colony.
After first discovering normal Earth animals such as a kinkajou and an alligator, they soon encounter and battle giant insects, an enormous snake, prehistoric mammals, dinosaurs, and – on an island – the titular character, King Dinosaur, a putative Tyrannosaurus Rex (played by an iguana!). Eventually, the scientists blow up the island with an atomic bomb, killing all of its inhabitants.
“Apart from the quaint amusement of seeing common lizards posed as dinosaurs, King Dinosaur is marvelously constructed with one thing in mind: Pad it out to an hour & three minutes striving to make it look like something actually happened despite a budget that wouldn’t cover the cost of a box of Crackerjacks. It’s fun to observe how they did manage to give this thing the general impression of almost being a movie.” Weird Wild Realm
“King Dinosaur encapsulates everything that is so ‘bad’ with 50′s sci-fi: A ridiculous premise, shameless sexism, cheap special effects, no regard for any laws of physics or nature, jaw-dropping dialog, mounds of stock footage, and of course, a goofy monster: I love it!” The Monster Shack
“Everything in King Dinosaur is engineered backwards from the idea of getting the bare minimum of exploitable content on screen to sucker the first weekend’s business. A rocket ship … animal fights … giant monsters … and the Atom bomb! The escaping spacemen blast the dinosaurs on the island for no reason at all, except to provide an ending that would allow school kids to mumble a plot description that included a nuclear explosion.” DVD Savant
The pre-production title was Beast from Outer Space