“Fifty Million Years Ago” was released in 1925 and is a silent animated short. The film runs about 7 minutes and was part of an 18-minute German film called “Vor 50 Millionen Jahren” that was released in Germany in 1924. A complete version of the original 18-minute German film is in the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, (the German Federal Film Archives). The research into the origin of the 7-minute film was conducted by Dr. Robert J. Kiss.
In 1925 The Service Film Corporation provided several novelty film shorts to various motion picture theaters in the U.S. to accompany their main attraction and enhance the film goer’s entertainment experience. Among them was “Fifty Million Years Ago”. The film uses stills and primitive stop motion techniques to explain the creation of the Earth and the evolution of life.
Keeping in mind that the science in the film is 1924 science, it is a nice little snippet of what is believed to have been the formation of the Earth and a look at some of the creatures that inhabited it. Much of the information is incorrect, but still fun. It is scientific fact that ends up being science fiction.
The creatures depicted in the film are Jellyfish, Trilobites, Meganeura, Agathaumas, Brontosaurus, Iguanodon, Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, Trachodon, Edaphosaurus, Mammoth, Woolly Rhinoceros and Mastodon. The Edaphosaurus is mislabeled as Masosaurus in the movie.
In 2015 restoration was done on the film. The restoration included some wonderful sweeping music composed and performed by Michael D. Mortilla.