Journey to the Beginning of Time (1955)

Article #84 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 6-8-2001
Posting date: 10-22-2001

Several boys take a canoe trip into the past and discover many forms of prehistoric life.

This Czech movie (known as CESTA DU PRAVEKU) remains, as of this writing, the only movie I’ve seen from Karel Zeman, though everything I’ve heard about his works makes them sound quite intriguing. It looks as though American footage was added to the production, with the boys visiting the Museum of Natural History in New York (notice how you’re not given a glimpse of the boys faces during this sequence; you can’t get a good look at them until they begin the canoe ride), but I think it ends up working well enough. There’s really not much in the way of a plot; the children just go from one setpiece to another. I find the movie to be a wonderful ride; the special effects aren’t convincing on a realistic level, but they have a charming variety to them and retain a sense of wonder and poetry. And even though some of the situations the children get themselves into are a little silly, it all fits well into the spirit of the movie. This type of magic and wonder is rarely found in movies anymore; I definitely look forward to seeing more of Zeman’s work.

By the way, this movie should not be confused with JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF TIME ; if you see David L. Hewitt’s name in the credits, you’ll know you’ve taken a wrong turn.

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