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Not Rated
Copyright 1948 Albert Jay Coren Productions Inc.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • John Fairbanks - Recovering alcoholic who once was stranded on the island full of dinosaurs. Looks goofy in that little sailor shirt and hat.
  • Carole Lane - Rich woman engaged to Ted when the movie begins, (Hint, hint.) she puts up all the funding for this expedition.
  • Ted Osborne - Silly little guy who fancies himself a scientist or photographer, it's hard to tell.
  • Captain Tarnowski - One of the toughest men ever to sail the high seas, in addition to an odd sense of humor he suffers from malaria and alcoholism. The human martini olive is eaten by a giant sloth.
  • First Mate Sanderson - Tarnowski's right hand man, dies from knife-in-back disease.
  • Crewmen - Fodder.
  • The Tyrannosaurus Rex - Actually we see several of them, one would think these guys to be the top of the food chain, one would be wrong.
  • The Giant Sloth - Far from being a moderately docile herbivore, this vaguely gorilla-like monster will eat anything and everything in sight.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

When two cultured Americans show up in a Shanghai waterfront dive there are only two possibilities, they're either trying to buy a baby or lease a ship to go dinosaur hunting. (Notice the title is "Unknown Island" instead of "Unknown Womb" - guess which it is.) Captain Tarnowski certainly is tough enough for the job, unfortunately he is also a lecherous bastard whose malaria causes mild insanity. Not that soaking up copious amounts of cheap whiskey helped, but thanks to his ruthless style they do survive a crew mutiny and find the island. Prehistoric beasts roam this uncharted land, though all of them are special-effects challenged. The fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex barely waddles after his prey as the undoubtedly sweating actor inside struggles not to fall over. One does, during a part when the characters are shooting at a trio of advancing beasts, I'm pretty sure the Director started screaming, "Yes! Go with it!" Two seconds later a serious editing foul has all three retreating, hmmm... ...three minus one equals three. Giant Sloths have evolved into gorilla-like carnivores, with long red fur to match the long canines one uses to kill a hapless Tyrannosaurus Rex. (Oh yes, you heard me, what appears to be a huge rodent kills a T-Rex.) Several unlucky breaks befall the explorers, with their camp destroyed by fire and the rowboat smashed to pieces on rocks things look bleak. Captain Tarnowski entirely loses it and kidnaps Carole, giving Osborne the patented merry chase before both men duke it out. Leaving the unconscious Captain to his fate the surviving members flee via a crude raft. Is it bad? Oh yes, absolutely dreadful, but there is something fun in watching dinosaurs make faces like a confused Muppet.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Waterfront bars are only mildly crowded and brightly lit.
  • Making an alcoholic overdose on liquor is a sure-fire cure.
  • Sailors all run around barechested and wearing bandannas.
  • Don't sneak up on some guy holding a .45 pistol.
  • Giant sloths are vicious carnivores.
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex could hardly walk, it sort of shuffled along.
  • Whiskey cures malaria.
  • If you ever find part of a ship it will be the section with the name painted on it.
  • Tropical islands have scatted patches of desert which look much like southern California.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 9 mins - That is a picture? Sure looks like somebody drew a dinosaur on some cheap postcard.
  • 21 mins - Great job of walking your post there mate.
  • 24 mins - Hehehe! Must be a baby one, those are shrubs around it.
  • 27 mins - Did the dinosaur only have one leg?
  • 45 mins - I thought the center dinosaur went down? Hey continuity guy?
  • 48 mins - Maybe something will hear him shooting the whiskey bottles and investigate. One less recovering alcoholic in the world...
  • 52 mins - Good job Tarnowski.
  • 60 mins - Nice edit, real nice.


  • Tarnowski: "We're going back to that island, Fairbanks. Back to find the beasts that chewed up your pals while they were still alive and kicking. You wanna come along?" (Starts laughing.)
  • Carol: "Ted we've got to get off this awful island now!"
    Ted: "We can't darling, not after coming this far."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note unknownisle1.wav Ted: "I see you know something about your Paleontology."
Tarnowsky: "That means prehistoric animals."
Sanderson: "Thanks, I went to school too."
Green Music Note unknownisle2.wav Tarnowski: "Arrggghhhhh!"
Sanderson: "Try that again and I'll put a bullet in that thick skull of yours!"
Tarnowski: (Cracks up laughing.)
Green Music Note unknownisle3.wav Carol: "Well captain, what do we do now?"
Tarnowski: "I don't know what you're going to do, but I've got a bottle of whiskey around here somewhere, I'm going to find it!"
Green Music Note unknownisle4.wav The sound of a dinosaur fighting a giant sloth.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipunknownisle1.mpg - 2.6m
Oops, he fell over...

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Lesson Learned:
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