The Arctic Giant (1942)

Does this big reptile remind you of anybody?

A gigantic, frozen Tyrannosaurus Rex is discovered in the arctic. The creature is shipped over to Metropolis, where it is housed in a massive, refrigerated building attached to the city museum. After an accident wrecks the generator, the ice melts and the huge dino awakens, breaks free, runs amok, but is eventually stopped by Superman.

The fun begins…

This nine minute Fleischer Studios cartoon was the fourth (of seventeen) Technicolor shorts based on DC’s Superman – and it’s my favourite.

The dino is shipped to Metropolis in a refrigerated tanker

THE LOST WORLD (1925) had ended with a brontosaurus stomping through the streets of London and the finale of KING KONG (1933) had the titular beast creating havoc in New York, but these creatures were not too exaggerated size-wise, whereas the Tyrannosaurus in THE ARCTIC GIANT is a truly Kaiju-scale beast, hinting at the kind of monster action that would appear on cinema screens from the 1950s onwards.

Will this monster thaw out?
The monster escapes!
Of course he will!
Look into my eyes

The mega Tyrannosaurus in this short makes the most of his brief rampage: he wrecks the museum, stomps on police cars, totals an elevated train track, smashes through a dam, knocks aside firefighter boats, pulls down a suspension bridge and threatens a baseball stadium.

The museum is wrecked
The museum is wrecked…
…and police cars get squashed…
…and the elevated train track is stomped on…
…and the critter pushes through the dam…
…causing a flood…
The bridge is totalled
…and this bridge must be torn apart too, because it’s in the way!

Superman follows after the super-sized critter, quickly filling the hole in the dam with a boulder and temporarily fixing the bridge.

Lois Lane, as usual, stubbornly wants to get in on the action and is almost eaten by the monster at the end, before Superman flies into the dino’s mouth, prises its jaws open and carries Lois to safety.

Superman to the rescue!
Superman to the rescue!

With story elements that would later feature in THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (1953), GODZILLA (1954) and many other creature features that involve colossal monsters, this is a very enjoyable short.

The dino is put on display
The arctic giant is eventually displayed to the public… but did this work out for KING KONG or GORGO?!
Arctic Giant on the rampage!

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