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"If I wasn't a Christian Scientist and I saw "Trog" on a marquee, I would seriously contemplate committing suicide."~Joan Crawford

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"Trog" 1970


Cast: Joan Crawford~Michael Gough~Bernard Kay~Kim Braden~David Griffin~John Hamill~Thorley~Walters~Jack May~Geoffrey Case~Robert Hutton~Simon Lack~David Warbeck~Chloe Franks~Maurice Good~Joe Cornelius.


Director: Freddie Francis

Producer: Herman Cohen

Box Office Figures for "Trog":

Top Grossing Film Position: Ranked #85

Gross Rentals: $618,700


If you have seen this movie, please write a review below. Once your review is submitted, I will post the review below. Thank you for your review on this film.

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How many stars would you give this film? Four being the best.
Your review/thoughts on "Trog":
  

Reviewer, Simon Davis, says...

Review: "Trog", that infamous little British film that became the last film in the illustrious career of film legend Joan Crawford has gone done into cinematic history as one of the biggest and most embarrassing "monster", movies ever to be made. Joan Crawford of course is still sadly fair game for any type of attack on both professional and private fronts and "Trog", is a favourite target by her many detractors. Harsh summaries of this minor 1970 production run to the fact that Crawford was supposedly drunk all the way through production, that it had one of the lowest budgets of any horror film made in England and that it made Crawford totally unemployable after its release, thus becoming the sad final note in a brilliant career. Certainly no masterpiece, "Trog", despite a number of highly laughable moments is far from the worst horror film ever made and for Joan Crawford's as always totally committed performance, despite the material she has to work with, is well worth seeing. It marked the second time in two years that movie offers from producer Herman Cohen had brought Joan Crawford to England for filming, (Berserk! in 1968 being the other), and she fitted in excellently with the often gifted British performers who appeared in both films in supporting roles, such as veteran Hammer Studios villain Michael Gough, Diana Dors and Robert Hardy. Despite comments to the contrary Joan Crawford not only looks wonderful in "Trog", but is also well and truly in control of her character and still exudes that incredible star power that carried her through five highly successful decades of film work. Joan almost single handidly makes "Trog", far more entertaining viewing than it probably deserves to be considering its "B" movie status.

Crawford plays Anthropologist Dr. Brockton who works at a rural research centre in England and is involved in the study of early man's development from the Apes. While hiking in the neighbouring moors some local students discover a fisher has opened up and climbing down to investigate they disturb a very primitive form of life in the caves who is half man, half prehistoric ape. The creature kills one of the boys and drives one of the others into hysteria. Recuperating at the clinic after their ordeal the incident arouses the interest of Dr. Brockton who with the help of her assistant Malcolm goes back to investigate the caves and manages to photograph the creature which she now believes could be the missing link. However Dr. Brockton faces opposition from a wary public and in particular a hostile reaction from local resident Sam Murdock (Michael Gough) who advocates destroying the creature before it causes trouble. Aroused from its liar by a camera crew the troglodite, or cave dweller comes to the surface and Dr. Brockton succeeds in tranquilising the creature long enough to get it safely back to the lab. The resulting publicity arouses the further anger of Sam Murdock who decides to take matters into his own hands by releasing Trog from his cage with fatal consequences to himself. Trog then proceeds to go on a rampage in the local town, and ends up abducting a small child from a playground and taking her back to the caves. Now bent on the creatures destruction the police close in and against their orders Dr. Brockton climbs down into the cavern and manages to get Trog to hand over the child. However Trog's fate is sealed and a final showdown with the police in the cave ends tragically for both Trog and Dr. Brockton's hopes of understanding more about this possible missing link.

"B" movie nonsense perhaps but there are far worse stories that have been turned into horror stories. I get constantly amazed that people zero in on Trog's poor costume when the countless "Rubber Suited" men passing as monsters in the 1950's Sci-Fi efforts aren't even mentioned. "Trog", despite being such a small production boasts very worthy credits in direction by skilled Hammer horror veteran Freddie Francis and a writing team that includes Peter Bryan and John Gilling who was also a most capable director of horror with the celebrated "Plague of the Zombies", and my favourite "The Reptile", to his credit. "Trog", certainly has a number of laughable moments that never fail to amuse me. The real standout for me is Dr. Brockton's absurb "orientation" program (played with great sincerity by Joan Crawford), involving Trog playing with wind up dolls and the long flashback sequence where through the wonders of technology Trog can see back to the dinosaur age. No reason is ever given for why these experiments on Trog are such breakthrough measures and especially funny is when all the "World Scientific Authorities", gather and marvel about Trog's progress uttering words like "amazing!" or "marvellous!" when looking at this pathetic creature strapped to an operating table. I get a big chuckle out of one of these "World Scientific Authorities", who is played by British actress Golda Casimir who was last seen playing the Bearded Lady in the freak show in Joan's earlier horror effort "Berserk!"!! Talk about not allowing yourself to become type cast! That aside I do find the film an enjoyable horror outing. Actor Joe Cornelius who played Trog undoubtedly created a memorable creature (perhaps for the wrong reasons!) and Joan Crawford brings a seriousness and determination to her role as the crusading doctor that belies the films "B" status. Even when delivering lines like the infamous "Trog! Please Trog, GIVE me the Child!", or the equally hilarious "Yes Anne darling, never show fear towards him, only trust", (after Trog has just murdered two men!) you can see that Joan is still giving her usual 150% to her performance. Certainly don't go into viewing "Trog", expecting a "Mildred Pierce", or even a "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?", but the film is not the total disgrace it is always made out to be either. Joan has a great chemistry with Michael Gough as the two chief adversaries in the story and the location photography on the Moors and at the stately home (now a Conference Centre) that passes for the Brockton Research Lab is first rate. Crawford's last scene in the movie which of course became her last moments on the cinematic screen after a 50 year career, is to me quite symbolic in that it shows Joan walking away sadly with her back to the camera just as her very first cinematic effort way back in 1925 had her photographed with her back to the camera doubling for Norma Shearer in "Lady of the Night". It is in a way a fitting final moment on screen for Joan Crawford, one of Hollywood's most enduring and underrated talents.

Laughed at by the critics and now a "cult" favourite with those that like camp movies "Trog", is definitely worth a look and should be in the collection of all Joan Crawford fans. It saddens me to see Joan Crawford still highly attractive and capable reduced to appearing in such efforts however that is more a criticism of the Hollywood system that misuses maturing talent than of any career choice made by Joan herself at this time. No great cinema art, "Trog", as the last film in Joan Crawford's career has it's own curiosity value and no collection of her work is complete without this infamous little horror effort. Enjoy!

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