Cover art based on original release poster. © Toho Video
On May 22, Toho Video will be releasing a deluxe, special edition DVD of a 1977 film produced by Tsuburaya Productions and Rankin-Bass for the ABC Television network: Tsugunobu "Tom" Kotani's THE LAST DINOSAUR. Originally the first in a proposed five-picture deal, which includes THE BERMUDA DEPTHS (1978), THE IVORY APE (1980) and THE BUSHIDO BLADE (1981). Rankin-Bass had previously produced KING KONG ESCAPES (1967) with Toho.
THE LAST DINOSAUR was written by William Overguard (Steve Roper) and combines elements from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, Edgar Rice Burroughs' At the Earth's Core and Universal International's 1957 science fiction film, THE LAND UNKNOWN. The wealthiest man in the world, industrialist Masten Thrust (Richard Boone), plans the greatest big game hunt of all time—tracking down a Tyrannosaurus Rex dwelling in a recently-discovered prehistoric pocket in deep in the Antarctic. Thrust's manned laser drill, Polar Borer, will get him there.
After its debut on ABC in February 1977, the film was released theatrically in Japan that October by Toho-Towa, and has only been issued once on VHS and LD in 1993. This completely remastered, anamorphic DVD release will contain the English and Japanese audio tracks, as well as an audio commentary track (in Japanese) with director Tsugunobu Kotani and Masumi Sekitani, the actress who played the cavewoman. The Japanese audio is from the original television broadcast (the original Japanese theatrical release was in English with Japanese subtitles). This release is also ten minutes longer than the 95-minute version shown originally on ABC-TV.
Also included in this DVD presentation is a special video message from actress Masumi Sekitani, a 13-minute interview with visual effects director Kazuo Sagawa, a production photo gallery (which includes storyboards, production designs, and behind-the-scenes photos), a 15-minute, behind-the-scenes production reel of the visual effects shoot (narrated by Kazuo Sagawa), and the original Japanese release trailer. Toho Video's MSRP is 4725 Yen (approximately $49.50 USD).
The first pressing of the DVD will contain a reproduction of the "special screening" ticket from the presentation at the Tokyo International Film Festival's "Natural TIFF" program last November. Additionally, customers will also find a coupon to order a pair of special, retro-style vinyl figures sculpted and created by the renowned M-1—one being the titular T-Rex and the other being the Polar Borer.
M-1's unpainted prototype T-Rex & Polar Borer vinyl figures.
In Tokyo this Saturday, a promotional late-night screening of three of Kotani's films at Theatre Shinjuku: THE LAST DINOSAUR (Kyokutei Tanken-sen Pora-bora), TOMORROW NEVER WAITS (Isoge! Wakamono, 1974) and LOVE IN A TEMPEST (Ai-no Arashi-no naka-de, 1978), will be preceded by an appearance and on-stage discussion with Kotani, called "The Secret of POLAR BORER." For those of you in the Tokyo Metropolitan area, or who will be there this weekend, click here for more details: cinemabox.com.