ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. (1966)
Article #1227 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-24-2004
Posting Date: 12-21-2004
Directed by Don Chaffey
Featuring Raquel Welch, John Richardson, Percy Herbert
When one of the sons of a prehistoric primitive tribe known as the Rock People is banished, he makes his way to a more civilized tribe known as the Shell People.
Back when I covered ONE MILLION B.C. (the movie of which this one is a remake), I mentioned that the primary appeal of this type of movie is twofold; to see dinosaurs and to see cavepeople in skimpy outfits. Actually, that is a bit of a simplification; though these movies are absurd on a realistic level, they do have their uses as moral fables (the movies do have something to say about the two sides of human nature and how each side is necessary for survival), and they can also be interesting in cinematic terms, in that by reducing the amount of dialogue to a minimum, it challenges those in charge to make these movies work on a purely visual level. After all, if there’s one thing you usually can’t say about a caveman epic, it’s that it talks you to death.
On the cinematic level, I think this one works just fine; it’s probably a bit more enjoyable than the earlier version. On the moral fable level, this one is a little more confused, especially towards the end, when the story seems to lose itself in the special effects for the earthquake sequence; the earlier movie gets the edge in this case. As to those more basic levels of appeal, this one has the advantage of Ray Harryhausen’s special effects, which are excellent as usual; I was even amused that a slurpasaur is tossed into the proceedings, and that the scene that uses it is fairly well staged. Unfortunately, there really isn’t very much dinosaur footage, and the movie sorely needs another one towards the end. And as for the cavepeople in skimpy outfits, I’m afraid there really isn’t much in the way of a contest between this one and the original; I don’t think Carole Landis ever made the same splash that Raquel Welch made here.