East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Old and new dinos


It all started with a movie clip.
This movie clip.

It’s from the 1975 The Land That Time Forgot, based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel of the same title, and adapted for the screen by Michael Moorcock and Nigel Cawthorn.
I first saw this in the parish cinema the priests had put up to attract the kids that would not be hooked by the football field by the church.
In the end, I never became a good Catholic kid, but I did develop a passion for Edgar Rice Burroughs, dinosaurs and old movies.

What started was a brief reflection, last night, when a friend said he couldn’t believe he had loved this sort of stuff as a kid. No wonder, he said, that when Jurassic Park came out he was completely captured by Spielberg’s action and by his dinos.

And yet.
I hated Jurassic Park.
Oh, mind you, technically a great movie, with a fun high-concept, great cast, wonderful effects, and two of the most obnoxious children ever to appear on screen.
The two kids ruined the show for me.
Much more, truth to be told, than the papier-maché pterodactyls in the clip I have just showed you. That are cardboard, and fake, and silly, and clearly are going round and round suspended to a crane, but who cares!
There’s no little petulant kids in The Land That Time Forgot.


And of course, we tend to idealize all the things we loved when we were young. I have no problem in admitting that, as a kid of maybe nine or ten, the rubber dinosaurs of The Land That Time Forgot were much more wonderful than the CGI dinos I saw at twenty-six.
But I can understand that for others might not be the same.

I’ve been spending a lot of time watching old TV series and old movies these last few months, but this does not mean I’m living in the past. Let’s just say I’m catching up with a lot of stuff that I missed as a kid, and I’m revisiting some old places.
But I’ll do some reviews of recent material too. I promise.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “Old and new dinos

  1. Just to add a footnote; when you get Michael Moorcock and Nigel Cawthorn to write a script, you will end with a great movie. The Jurassic Park franchise generates a lot of money, but the scripts are woefully inept.


    • Actually Michael Moorcock did share some memories about the movie, and they were as fun as … unenthusiastic.
      But he had only praise for Doug McClure.
      But yes, I agree that a writer adapting a writer can do better than a committee 😛

      Liked by 1 person

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