Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Tumak (John Richardson) kills an allosaurus
ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. (1966). Director: Don Chaffey.

In this color remake of One Million B.C., which uses the same story more or less, Tumak (John Richardson) is thrown out of his prehistoric rock tribe and wanders around until he encounters Loana (Raquel Welch) and her tribe, the shell people. The shell people are a kinder, gentler tribe who could teach the rock people a thing or two, which they try to do with Tumak when they all go fishing with spears. The first "dinosaur" we encounter is a positively gargantuan real-life lizard who tries to make a snack out of Tumak, and then there's a giant stop-motion turtle that fails to impress. But FX wizard Ray Harryhausen really gets into his stuff with an attack on the shell people's camp by a hungry allosaurus, a marvelous sequence, as well as a battle between a T-rex (or ceratosaurus, which it resembles) and a triceratops, not to mention the pterodactyl that snatches Welch off of the beach and tries to feed her to the flying monster's young'uns. Despite the big improvement in special effects work since the 1940 version, this is not as compelling as the original, with Harryhausen's stop-motion effects work being virtually the only point of interest. Martine Beswick [From Russia with Love] has a lively "cat fight" with Welch. Mario Nascimbene's "epic" if sleepy score doesn't really do that much for the movie. Photographed by Wilkie Cooper. As the lovers, Richardson [She] and Welch [Fantastic Voyage] do what they can. A Hammer-7 Arts production.

NOTE: On the page for this movie it is listed as a "goof" that a ceratosaurus fights a triceratops when these creatures lived in different eras of the prehistoric world. Considering this movie illogically puts human beings and dinosaurs in the same time period -- not to mention Raquel Welch as a cavewoman -- that hardly seems like a legitimate complaint!

Verdict: Some lively monsters in a disappointing remake. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Bill, I used to think Raquel was cast in movies like this to prevent her from talking because she couldn't act. I happen to be a big fan of Welch, if not this movie. I saw her on Broadway in Woman of the Year (taking over for Lauren Bacall) and she was terrific. I am probably the only person who LOVES Myra Breckinridge, too. LOL

Richardson is also a looker, but the caveman look is not a turn-on for me. (It seems to be back in vogue now!)


William said...

Yes, the "bear" look is fashionable right now. I like the beards but I can do without the big bellies many of them have, ha!

Richardson was a definite pretty boy whose career never really took off -- maybe because of movies like this and "She" where he co-starred with Ursula Undress (bad pun).

I didn't see Raquel on Broadway but I thought she gave a snappy performance in the night time soaper "Central Park West" or "CPW."

Will have to revisit "Myra" one of these days.