The main issue I have with Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds is that it has neither dinosaurs nor monster birds. In fact, monster birds (I’m looking at you ostrich) are dinosaurs, so the title is also redundant. What it does have are two types of extinct reptiles. A plesiosaurus, a marine reptile (think the Loch Ness monster), and rhamphorhynchus (flies of the tongue), which was a flying reptile in the pterosaur clade. All dinosaurs except for birds were firmly land based animals.
The film starts with a woman falling into a cave at Mt. Fuji in Japan. She is surprised to find large eggs there and freaks out. She makes the news and peaks the interests of a geologist, who works for a company called “Universal Stones.” They think it’s petrified dinosaur eggs and his father found a dinosaur egg once, so he makes his way straight to Fuji.
The geologist meets a scientist who explains that it’s quite possible that the dinosaurs in the eggs are alive and just hibernating. He remarks that Thomas Edison found a toad once that had been hibernating for millions of years and he revived it. I have absolutely no idea what that is about, but it does sound like a lie Thomas Edison would say in between electrocuting elephants. The scientist also warns that if dinosaurs return, we will get magnitude of five earthquakes. I have absolutely no idea why that would happen.
Perhaps one shouldn’t look too deep into the science of kaiju films.
It’s a fun flick with decent creature effects for the time, even though we don’t really get good shots of them. The plesiosaurus looks a bit like Audrey II from The Little Shop of Horrors (1986), although with a long neck, and the pterosaur is quite static, but the puppets look no better or worse than some of the creatures from Toho’s Godzilla films released around the same era. Perhaps they should look better since was a big budget film for Japan. 2.8 million dollars, more than twice that of the budget for Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), which was released three years prior.
It also features a Japanese cowboy country singer, which might explain how this film became one of the highest grossing foreign films of all time in the Soviet Union.