One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing
Dir: Robert Stevenson
Star: Peter Ustinov, Helen Hayes, Clive Revill, Derek Nimmo, Joan Sims, Bernard Bresslaw
Cert / Year: U - G / 2003
Format: DVD R2

Lord Edward Southmere has stolen the formula known as Lotus X from a Chinese warlord and has managed to smuggle it back to England. Unfortunately upon arrival the minions of the Chinese agent Hnup Wan capture him. Briefly escaping he manages to hide the formula on a dinosaur skeleton in the British Museum and tip off his old Nanny before being recaptured. It will be up to Nanny to stop the Chinese and save the day.

At the end of the sixties and into the seventies Disney made a number of live action British based comedy family films. These included everything from Mary Poppins, through Bedknobs and Broomsticks, to The Spaceman and King Arthur and this film. Many of these films shared the same writers and directors, and all featured a quality mainly British cast with an authentic period setting. Ok so they were extremely lightweight and mainly aimed at kids, but for the most part they were amusing and fun.

This is not the best of these family comedies, because while it undoubtedly benefits from the lack of cheesy songs the plot is just a little bit incoherent. This doesn't write the film off though, because what we have here is a lot of fine talent having great fun with a very silly story. As was the want with these films the humor is very childish and kids will no doubt enjoy it more than the adults, even though the concept of nanny’s is so dated as to be no longer relevant to them. However if you are grown up like me and enjoy a bit of old fashioned daftness then there are a few good laughs to be found here.

It is a fair criticism to say that the story never quite finds its gear. Yes there is a lot of rushing around and opportunities for comic situations, but it all just doesn't seem to flow smoothly. This leaves a film with some memorable scenes but overall a story with little impact. The film's other major fault is the complete stereotyping of the Chinese (all played by English men with slanty eyed make up on ). This by today's morals is borderline racist. However if you view this in the context of the general films silliness and take into account the era in which the film was made it seems much less offensive.

The cast is a fine bunch of British comedy actors. Leading it is a totally over the top performance from Peter Ustinov. It's maybe a bit much for some, but for the most part he is ideal and very funny. Lined up against him is Helen Hayes giving the best old woman performance since Katie Johnson in The Ladykillers. She is just perfect for the stern English nanny. The rest of the cast all do a sterling job even the young children. Plus there are plenty of great cameos from the likes of John Laurie and Angus Lennie to Jon Pertwee and Derek Guyler. If only we had the talent nowadays to fill a cast so well.

Ok so One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing is not the best Disney movie ever, and yes it is a very silly film. but if you are like me then you can't help but enjoy it. In places it is very funny and with so much quality acting talent on show it can't be all bad. Nowadays it is more likely to be found as a lunchtime filler during the television schedules of the children’s holidays, so next time it's on give it a try. It is a good old-fashioned slice of family fun containing the charm and humor lacking in so many modern movies. Disney just wished it could make them as good as the likes of this and Bedknobs and Broomsticks today.


Lord Southmere: Why does everyone keep saying that, I'm not a spy.

Old lady 1: Oh look there's Colnel Mortimer riding down the street on a dinosaur.
Old lady 2: How very odd.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Picture 1.85:1 Bright and not grainy but some print damage.
Audio Mono Clear but only Mono.
Features Nothing
Verdict Ok transfer but that's your lot.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home