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Trog is a 1970 British science fiction horror film starring Joan Crawford in a story about the discovery of a living troglodyte. The screenplay was written by Peter Bryan, John Gilling, and Aben Kandel, and the film directed by Freddie Francis. Trog marks Crawford's last motion picture appearance.

Plot

Set in contemporary England, the film follows Dr. Brockton (Joan Crawford) who learns that in the caves of the countryside, a troglodyte is alive and might be able to be helped and even domesticated. In the interest of science and the potential groundbreaking discovery of the missing link, she gets the creature to the surface. And while the rest of the townsfolk and police scatter in terror, Dr. Brockton stands steady with her tranquilizer gun and stuns the creature into submission. She brings it back to her lab for study, but runs into trouble as a few people oppose the presence of a monster in the town, especially a local businessman, Sam Murdock (Michael Gough), who is both afraid of negative commercial consequences and is suspicious of a woman heading a research facility. In the meantime, this creature, given the name of "Trog", is taught by Dr. Brockton to play and share; and the capacity for language is induced by a number of surgeries and a mysterious hypnotic device that causes Trog to see or relive the ice age.

Still disturbed by Dr. Brockton's experiments, and enraged at a municipal court's decision to protect Trog, Sam Murdock releases Trog in the middle of the night in the hopes that Trog will be captured and killed. Murdock's plan works in part. After being released, Trog wanders into town and kills the first three people he meets (a grocer, a butcher, and a citizen in a car), but not before he beats Murdock to death. Trog then snatches a little girl from a slide on a playground and retreats to his cave. By now Dr. Brockton and the army have gathered at the cave opening. After pleading fruitlessly with the police and army to let her reason with Trog and safely retrieve the little girl, Dr. Brockton takes matters into her own hands and charges down into the cave. She successfully finds the little girl cowering in a corner. Trog initially behaves aggressively at the sight of the doctor in his cave, but after a stern reprimand and a plea, Trog surrenders the girl. Moments later, after a victorious ascent from the cave, all of Dr. Brockton's work in the service of science and truth are shattered as Trog is killed, pierced by a stalagmite in his cave after being felled by a barrage of army bullets. The movie ends as a reporter asks the doctor to comment on the death of the missing link. Dr. Brockton—a woman of great learning and science—finds no words for her disappointment, and she simply shoves the reporter's microphone away and walks into the horizon stricken with grief.

Cast

Production

The film was originally developed by Tony Tenser at Tigon Films, who sold it to Herman Cohen.[1]

Trog was the second of two films that Crawford starred in for her friend, producer Herman Cohen; the first was Berserk! (1967). It also paired her with Michael Gough, who costarred with Crawford in Berserk!

The dinosaur sequence was stock footage from the Warner Bros. movie The Animal World (1956).[2]

The film features a small role by actor David Warbeck.

Reception

At the time of release, The New York Times panned the film but commented, "There is, however, a rudimentary virtue in Trog...in that it proves that Joan Crawford is grimly working at her craft. Unfortunately, the determined lady, who is fetching in a variety of chic pants suits and dresses, has little else going for her."[3]

The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of "The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made".[4]

In 2012, Trog was listed as one of John Waters's favorite films on MUBI.[5]

Release

The film was released theatrically in both the United States and United Kingdom by Warner Bros. in 1970.

The film received a VHS release by Warner Home Video in 1995; it received a DVD release from the same company in 2007.

References

  1. Hamilton, John (2013). The British Independent Horror Film 1951–70. Hemlock Books, page 186–189. 
  2. Pettigrew, Neil (1999). The Stop-Motion Filmography. McFarland & Company, Inc., page 40. ISBN 0-7864-0446-9. 
  3. "Movie Review: 'Trog' and 'Taste Blood of Dracula'" (October 29, 1970). 
  4. Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0. 
  5. Panorama, Walt. "John Waters Loves these films, so should you"..

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