Anthropologist Dr. Brockton (Joan Crawford) unearths a troglodyte (an Ice Age 'missing link" half-caveman, half-ape) and manages to domesticate him - until he's let loose by an irate land developer (Michael Gough) to go on a rampage and kidnap a little girl. Crawford's last feature film.
Joan Crawford ... Dr. Brockton
Michael Gough ... Sam Murdock
Bernard Kay ... Inspector Greenham
Kim Braden ... Anne Brockton
David Griffin ... Malcolm Travers
John Hamill ... Cliff
Thorley Walters ... Magistrate
Jack May ... Dr. Selbourne
Geoffrey Case ... Bill
Robert Hutton ... Dr. Richard Warren
Simon Lack ... Colonel Vickers
People sure do make a big deal out of Joan Crawford being drunk, especially in dreck like this. I guess it would be surprising to learn that she was completely smashed during the filming of "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane," but let's forget that. It was a decent movie. My point here is that most of these reviews slam the star for being tipsy. If you were making "Trog" you'd want to be as incoherent as possible! Second, Joan doesn't mangle her lines. They come out oddly, but they aren't mangled. It wasn't like Joan Crawford to mess up, at least not in public. The main problem with the lines is their utter idiocy.
My first big problem with the movie wasn't the horrible sets. It wasn't even Trog, who couldn't even get makeup from the waist down. Brockton Research Centre is run by Dr. Brockton, who just happens to be Joan Crawford. Here's my big problem. Of all the actresses (drunken or not) in all the world, why in the heck would someone pick Joan Crawford to play an anthropologist? Does she even know what one is? Hearing her discuss Neanderthals makes me shudder. I don't know anything about Neanderthals, and I don't think Joan can teach me a darn thing about them either. "Conceivably, Trog was frozen solid" etc. etc. etc. What?!? I simply cannot believe Joan would waste her breath talking about cavemen. It's wrong. Even more incredible, she has earned a research center with her name all over it! What did she do to get that? Paint the sign herself? I'm slamming Joan myself now, but still. This is weird casting.
As for the acting in the movie (this is a movie, not a film), Joan did better than the movie deserved. That was something she had a gift for. Giving more than she got. She didn't get anything with this one, but she still gave it her all. That causes people to snicker and laugh, saying "Joan must be stupid to think this movie merits all this." No, the movie doesn't, but Joan's mind needed the knowledge that she always did (and looked her best). We may laugh when she gets overly attached to what looks like a wrestler being attacked by a monkey, but we should give her some credit for trying. That's why I think that one moment at the end of the film is quite good. She refuses a newsman's microphone, and you can almost forget how awful this movie is when you see the weariness on her face.
It is said Bette Davis commented that if she had found herself starring in "Trog," she'd commit suicide. Alas, poor Joan Crawford, who obviously felt she couldn't be fussy if she wanted the work, descended to this cut-rate, Herman Cohen-produced monster movie. Ironically released in the States by Warner Brothers (on the bottom half of a double-bill with "The Torture Garden"), the studio for which Ms Crawford made several of her hits including "Mildred Pierce", the only scary thing about "Trog" is the sight of a once-glamorous, legendary leading lady schlepping around in a lab coat (she plays an anthropologist), obviously tipsy as she slurs inane lines like "Trog lives on a diet of fish and lishardsh." Let's face it: under the circumstances, you'd drink, too.
Trog is cutesy for troglodyte: a primitive missing-link cave-dweller portrayed by a burly actor in an Alley Oop-like caveman get-up and an over-the-head, dime-store Halloween mask. Discovered by a hunky and shirtless, albeit unfortunate, team of spelunking college students, Trog is captured and put under the observation of Dr Brockton (Joan).
The true villain of this piece is Michael Gough (also slumming it), a representative of the opposing townspeople who, in a public confrontation with Joan, causes her to explode in a moment of impassioned fury. Regrettably, she does not give Gough her trademark slap in the face.
Trog eventually escapes to wreak some customary monster-movie havoc and Joan hunts him down with her "hypo-gun" across the bleak fields of the northern English countryside and down into his cavern, dressed in a smartly tailored tan jacket, slacks and boots ensemble.
Hollywood Royalty? Joan tries to maintain her dignity and poise despite having to deliver lines like, "Put the child down, Trog!" and occasionally looking a little woozy. This sad swan song to a long, brilliant career, amid the preposterous mise en scene, gives "Trog" the feeling of a tragi-comedy. Like one of her memorable screen characters, the real Joan Crawford endeavors to be strong and, ultimately, to triumph against all odds.
This minor B-flick made cinema history as the last theatrical film of Joan Crawford's career. Yes, it's pretty lousy, but I wasn't bored watching it. A prehistoric man found living underground is captured by scientists but eventually gets loose and causes havoc. Not completely incompetent: Crawford tries very hard to be studious and sympathetic as the scientist who conducts experiments on the troglodyte, and the film's production certainly isn't terrible. Still, when all is said and done, it is a little cheesy watching an actress of Joan Crawford's stature having semi-serious conversations with a grunting, fur-covered caveman.
* Joan Crawford, then on Pepsi-Cola's board of directors, demanded product placement for Pepsi-Cola in all her later films. In this one, terrified villagers run past a Pepsi stand while fleeing Trog.
* The budget was so tight that Joan Crawford had to use her own car as a dressing room and supply all of her own wardrobe, except for the blue lab coat.
* This was originally set to be made by Tigon Pictures, from a script by Tigon owner Tony Tenser and low-budget specialists Derek Ford and Donald Ford.
* The ratty ape suit is a leftover monkey outfit from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
* After seeing this film, Joan Crawford supposedly joked that if it hadn't been for her end-of-life conversion to Christian Science, she might have committed suicide due to her embarrassment at having been in it.
* Tim Barrett replaced Brian Grellis who dropped out before filming began.
* The dinosaur scenes were done by Willis H. O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen for the Irwin Allen film The Animal World (1956).