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


VALLEY OF THE DRAGONS (1961). Director: Edward Bernds.

In 1881 Algeria two men, Hector Servadac (Cesare Danova) and Michael Denning (Sean McClory) are about to fight a duel over a woman when the earth shakes in a great cataclysm that they manage to survive. After a time they realize that a comet grazed the earth, as it has time and again in the past, and taken a bit of the planet into space with it, along with a chunk from the prehistoric past. When Servadac and Denning realize what has happened to them, they don't seem all that upset, a problem with both the screenplay and the acting. Most of the movie consists of stock footage of One Million B.C. with Danova [Honeymoon with a Stranger] and Clory [Them] cleverly inserted  into the action. Again we have two warring tribes, two women (Joan Staley, Danielle De Metz), and the big lizard cornering some natives in a big cavern in a hill and gulping down and chewing one of the luckless warriors. Three clips from Rodan are also used to fill in for pterodactyls, as well as what appears to be a prop spider from Bernds' World Without End. Joan Staley is a Ruta Lee lookalike. The premise of the film is good, taken from Jules Verne's novel "Hector Servadac" aka "Career of a Comet," although that did not include prehistoric monsters.

Verdict: The producers wrote the book on "How to Make One Movie Out of Another." **.

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