Spoiler Level: Low
I first saw this movie at a drive-in double feature around 1979. We went to the drive-in to see Star Wars; I guess they considered this a natural pairing, since it's science fiction and stars Peter Cushing. The drive-in ran this movie first of course, and all I remembered was a giant dinosaur with a parrot head and generally being pretty bored wishing Star Wars would start.
And if you'd asked me yesterday, I would have told you that movie had been "Journey to the Center of the Earth."
So I was flipping through Netflix tonight and I saw this in the new listings, and I immediately realized I'd been wrong all these years. My curiosity on what it was I had seen (and payed so little attention to) was thoroughly piqued. Plus I was hoping to see a younger Peter Cushing. I had no idea this was the movie he had made right before Star Wars!
The movie itself actually reminded me quite a bit of the early Hartnell Doctor Who stories, with Cushing playing Doctor Abner Perry (a stammering old scientist) and Doug McClure playing the running-around action hero. Caroline Munro plays the princess of the underground kingdom, and boy is she hot. There's a lot of guys in dinosaur costumes stomping around, and one downright hilarious scene of a monster eating a very obvious doll prop.
Oh, and the music was done by Mike Vickers, who also wrote some fantastic library music, including one of my all-time favorite pieces of 2-XL Music ever, "Central Office of Information." None of the music in here falls into the same league, but it worked well with the material.
I can see why I didn't have any patience for it when I was 10, but being 41 on a quiet night with nowhere to be in the morning, it was quite fun.