One million years bc Review and Opinion


One Million Years B.C. (1966)
Director: Don Chaffey

review by Ian Shutter

A British remake of Hal Roach's 1939 classic One Million BC, this prehistoric adventure was produced by Michael Carreras for Hammer and it became the studios' biggest ever success, making an international sex symbol of its star, Raquel Welch.
   The story of primitive humans and dinosaurs living together in the same era, this is an outlandish and frightfully dated movie when viewed today. Shot on stunning locations in the Canary Islands, with the volcanic landscape of Lanzarote providing a particularly convincing backdrop, One Million Years BC features John Richardson as Tumak, the caveman exiled from his 'Rock People' tribe, who journeys to the ocean's shore where he meets the more advanced 'Shell People', epitomised by Welch in furry bikini as Loana.
   A lack of scripted dialogue for the actors, except for faux names (often comprising too many syllables for credibility), meant that gestures and physical attitudes were at the heart of the cast's variable performances, while director Chaffey had to carefully storyboard every scene involving creature effects - but he was used to this exacting process by now, having previously made the magnificent Jason And The Argonuats (aka: Jason And The Golden Fleece, 1963). Of particular note for chauvinists is the catfight between Loana and Nupondi (Martine Beswick), which is probably the most exciting bit of the film.
Stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen, fresh from his success with First Men In The Moon, 1964 (which adapted H.G. Wells' book into a space travel farce), worked for nine months, after Chaffey's ten weeks of principal photography, to create the memorable dinosaur effects. These included a brontosaurus, an attacking allosaurus, and a battle between a triceratops and a ceratosaurus. There's also a giant turtle, and a pterodactyl that, at one point, snatches up Loana.
   Warner's Region 2 DVD release includes filmed interviews with Raquel Welch, and Ray Harryhausen, plus the original theatrical trailer.

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