One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing (1975)

Article 2396 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-18-2007
Posting Date: 3-4-2008
Directed by Robert Stevenson
Featuring Peter Ustinov, Helen Hayes, Clive Revill

When a man steals the secret formula for Lotus X from the Chinese government, he finds himself on the run from Chinese spies. He hides the formula in the bones of a dinosaur in the museum, and then tells his former nanny about the hidden formula. The spies capture the man, but he’s acquired amnesia and cannot tell them where he hid the formula. They then set out to find the nanny…

Despite a promising title, I’m sorry to say that there really is no fantastic content in this movie; despite what some of my sources claim, the dinosaur does not come to life at any point in the proceedings. Nor does the secret of Lotus X move it into the realm of science fiction. I’m afraid I consider this one another false lead.

As for the movie itself, the most striking thing about it is that it is a Disney comedy that doesn’t feel like a “shopping cart” movie. This may be due to the British milieu
and the fact that most of the regulars from Disney comedies are not present in this movie. It’s definitely a mixed bag; it relies too much on Chinese stereotypes and the style is rather queasy at times, but when it hits, it’s hilarious. My favorite scenes feature the Chinese spies and the British nannies getting into an argument about tea (shortly after we learn Hnup Wan’s nickname) and the scene where the nannies escape from a cell by tricking their captors into giving them a brick-breaking demonstration. The very concept of nannies vs. spies is pretty amusing in itself, especially when we learn that the head of the Chinese spy ring has a dread fear of nannies after having been brought up by one. “Doctor Who” fans may want to keep their eyes open for a cameo from Jon Pertwee as a Colonel who thinks he has found a new animal whose head he can hang on his wall.



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