One Million Years B.C. (1966) – A Review
Cavegirls in fur bikinis! Stop-motion dinosaurs! Volcano models erupting! This is the way it was in One Million Years B.C.!
Tumak (John Richardson) is one rough and rugged caveman. He comes from a tribe where violence, no mercy and zero sympathy is a way of life. This Rock Tribe’s rule is truly survival of the fittest.
Tumak is banished from the tribe by his own father Akhoba (Robert Brown) who is the leader. Wandering around the desolate Stone Age land Tumak collapses and is saved by Loana (Raquel Welch) who comes from the peaceful Shell Tribe. This savage caveman and docile cavegirl grow close as Loana teaches how to live a more peaceful existence.
However, Loana’s Neanderthal squeeze isn’t too thrilled with the attention Tumak is getting from her. Soon the two are banished once again. This time together going back to Tumak’s Rock Tribe where Loana teaches the people her peaceful ways. But not everyone is too crazy with her more civilized way of life and tensions heat up.
Thank goodness for those stop-motion dinosaurs, fake volcanic eruptions and sexy 60’s babes in animal skin two-pieces that will help liven up this prehistoric story.
One Million Years B.C. is a tough movie to talk about, just because – there’s not a lot going on in it! The movie really has two things worth talking about – the stop-motion dinos and Raquel in her fur bikini. Everything else is pretty thin. For the majority of the movie I was sitting there dead faced staring hoping a dinosaur would arrive, eat someone and make the cave folk scatter.
It’s a pretty silly movie. Hammer Films decided to do this remake of the 1940 fantasy film I imagine hoping kids would be drawn to the prehistoric adventure and seeing dinosaurs attack. See, kids liked dinosaurs long before those Jurassic movies.
Hammer must of been happy with the results, It was one of their most expensive movies made and became one of the most profitable. I can understand how kids back in 1966 would enjoy it and the novelty of a whole movie about cavemen and dinosaurs.
Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion creations are still a real kick to watch. It’s amazing how much personality he was able to give those hunks of clay. For instance, in one scene a dino is speared and killed. It doesn’t die immediately and we watch it struggle a bit and finally take it’s final breaths. I felt really bad for that poor dino. The stop-motion effects work much better than the volcanic eruption during the climax. The miniatures look fine, it’s just the caveman running and falling into deep chasms are really dodgy.
The story for what it is is very simple and straight forward. Which was probably the best way to approach this movie. The actors aren’t given any dialogue, which took me awhile to get used to. I figure they would just talk in one-syllable words at least, but not really. It’s mainly just cave-talk, which consists of grunts and people’s strange names.
Let’s face it, this movie is not after any kind of historical accuracy. I’d be shocked if they had any kind of scientific consultants onhand to make sure everything that transpires onscreen had some historical validity. If they did – that would make a great movie on its own!
What a neat idea that could be! A Hollywood movie wanting to depict total authenticity with their new prehistoric drama and the expert consultants they hire have no respect for the film industry and they decide to just steer the production in completely wrong directions. That idea could have some potential.
Without verbally expressing themselves the cast is left to use their faces and bodies to tell the story and convey how their characters are feeling. They’re not all that good at expressing themselves.
Richardson often just stares sternly, but we get the point. Maybe mimes would have done better. This might of made a good acting experiment given to young performers. How would you portray a caveman? In what ways would you express yourself without the ability of speech?
I’m getting a little too highfalutin’ with criticizing this. The actors were probably not using the Strasberg Method and I doubt the performances were the highest priority for the filmmakers. “Yeah, yeah just look angry. Ok great! No, no that was perfect! Let’s move on! Come on people we all know the selling points are Raquel and the dinosaurs. That’s more than enough to make the kids want to go see this. Stop trying to overthink these performances. Now, just run around like you’re scared of something!”
It might have been more fun had they camped it up a bit more. But it plays as so serious and sullen it’s kind of hard to have much goofy fun with it. And oddly enough, I would have thought it would be just the opposite.
Yeah, there’s some moments with Richardson in particular where I giggled at his blank face and the giant lizard they use in one attack is mildly amusing, but for the rest of the movie I wasn’t feeling much of anything.
I will say the landscapes work very well for the story. It really looks like a vast rocky wasteland that would be a struggle to survive in. I believe the movie was shot in the Canary Islands and it pays off to create a convincing Stoneage world.
The fun dino action might look old-school, but that’s part of its charm. Raquel looks gorgeous, but that’s not any big news. Seeing her here I can completely understand how she shot up as a popular pin-up gal. It would have surprised me if she hadn’t!
I can’t say the entire movie itself is really worth sitting through though. It’s not horrible and if you think seeing some Harryhausen dinos and gawking at Raquel and a few of her fellow cavegirls is enough than go for it. Just don’t expect much more than that.
The original trailer. How many times do they repeat the title of the movie??? They really wanted to make sure remember the name of this movie!