One Million Years B.C.
Title: One Million Years B.C.
Year Of Release: 1966
Running Time: 91 minutes
DVD Released By: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Directed By: Don Chaffey
Writing Credits: George Baker, Michael Carreras, Joseph Frickert and Mickell Novack
Starring: Raquel Welch and John Richardson
1. This is the way it was.
2. Travel back through time and space to the edge of man's beginnings... discover a savage world whose only law was lust!
Review Date: 12.5.05 (updated 1.1.10)
See alternate movie poster here.
Shadow's Title: "Prehistoric Beach Babes in Skimpy Fur Bikinis…with Dinosaurs, Too"
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Akhoba – The leader of the Rock Tribe, which means that he barks orders at everyone, pushes them around and gets the biggest piece of meat at dinner time. Despite being a wee bit on the chubby side this guy is very agile, climbing up a rock face with damn near Spider-Man like ability.
Sakana – Akhoba’s eldest son, which means thar he barks orders at almost everyone, pushes them around and gets the second biggest piece of meat at dinner. He and Tumak have a fierce rivalry. Whenever one is singled out for some honor from Akhoba, the other explodes in a jealous rage.
Tumak – This guy is Akhoba’s youngest son, which means that he barks orders at almost everyone, pushes them around and gets the third biggest piece of meat at dinner time (sensing a pattern here?). Tumak gets exiled from his tribe for daring to fight his father over some meat scraps.
Nupondi – A member of the Rock Tribe. She and Tumak seem to have eyes for one another, though it does not seem that he has officially bonked her over the head and made her his mate. Once Tumak gets the boot from the tribe, Sakana claims her as his woman.
Loana – This smokin’ hot beach babe that finds Tumak after his long trek through the wastelands. She cares for him, shows him the ways of the Shell Tribe and then accompanies him when he is banished for fighting. There's not much more to say other than “Damn!” She is seriously fine.
Ahot – A member of the Shell Tribe. He doesn’t seem overly thrilled when Loana starts showing that smelly newcomer Tumak so much attention, though he is friendly towards the other man. Later he helps Loana and Tumak when Sakana makes one last bid for leadership of the Rock Tribe.
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Our movie begins with a black screen and some weird sound effects that remind me of a tornado sucking an active vacuum cleaner through a rooftop (not that I've heard that...ever). Then the black fades to blue and…horror of horrors! An announcer breaks the silence!! Good god, does every movie before 1970 have to start this way? Was there some powerful Announcer/Narrator Union that muscled filmmakers into putting these voiceover segments into their movies? Was there some unspoken rule that required a certain percentage of genre films to begin in such a manner? What can explain this? Anyway here is what Mr. Announcer says:
“This is a story of long, long ago…when the world was just beginning.”
Um…that’s it? Whew. I was expecting this moron to babble on for ages and ages – long enough for the cavemen in the film to evolve and invent mankind’s greatest achievements: the wheel, written language and internet porn. Instead we get a few shots of smoke and gas, accompanied by more weird music. Suddenly stars are flying past us. WTF? Are we in outer space now? Why? I can believe that the smoke and weird music was to denote “we the viewing audience” traveling back in time to witness these events of “long, long ago,” but we have to travel in space as well? Is this a shortcut? Of course, I do concede that time travel must also involve some type of spatial movement, as the Earth occupies a different position around the sun at any given moment in time. Traveling back to yesterday also requires traveling to the point in space where the Earth was yesterday…or else you might end up floating in the void. So I can see why we are suddenly flying through space. It is just…I don’t give the producers of this film enough credit for thinking things through to such a degree. Then again, I’m betting you weren’t expecting this either, were you? Shall we return to the movie now?
We hurtle through the stars, which now turn a bright red. We’re redshifting! Can you believe it! We…ok…uh…back to the movie. Now there is this swirling thingie up ahead that looks like the title phenomenon from Disney’s The Black Hole. Just as it appears that we are about to fly through (or into) this thing…KAPOW! There is a huge explosion (I seem to recall similar events transpiring in the theater during the Disney movie when the audience realized they’d paid for such a crapfest)! Now we see molten lava being flung into the air by volcanic eruptions, hot gasses no doubt filling the air with their lethal presence (again I’m reminded of the Disney movie). We see some rivers of lava then more explosions follow. Now the wind strikes up and it sounds like a storm is blowing in. FINALLY, we get the title card, which also heralds the arrival of some real music. After what seems like several Jurassic Periods, the credits end and the music gradually fades out.
We now fade in on a sunrise over a rocky and barren land. Oh, shit. Guess who is back. Yep, Mr. Announcer. This is what he has to say now as we gaze upon the desolate landscape:
“A young world. A world early in the morning of time. A hard, unfriendly world.”
At least this guy doesn’t blather on endlessly like some of his colleagues do, like the announcer/narrator for Mesa of Lost Women, who just doesn’t know when to shut the hell up. After that brief statement from Mr. Announcer, we are treated to several shots of this “young, unfriendly world.” It should be noted that the place does look pretty worthless – lots of rocky mountains, cooled off lava flows and dry hills with scrub brush. Almost as if you smashed parts of Utah, Hawaii and Nevada together. Then we see some type of vulture/buzzard perched atop a dead tree. The shot slowly pans over to a large snake in another nearby tree. As this happens, Mr. Annoying returns and says:
“Creatures who sit and wait. Creatures who must kill to live.”
OK, before we go any further…that snake is a constrictor – be it a Boa, Python, Anaconda…whatever. My point is, this is a freakin’ desert we see! I thought constrictors made their homes in more tropical locales? Who knows. So the camera keeps panning past the snake and on around to a point behind where we originally started. Now enters the most annoying animal of all: man. We see movement behind a bush – a man covertly spying upon a boar. To stress the arrival of Homo Sapiens into the film, you-know-who is back…and I am not referring to Lord Voldemort!
“And man...superior to the creatures only in his cunning.”
Good god, when is this guy going to shut up and go away? I mean it! Every time I think that dork has said his last piece and obliged everyone by leaving the movie, he breaks the silence and interrupts the film again with another useless nugget of vapid verbiage.
So now our attention is directed to this fine specimen of early man. Wearing a loincloth and barely there foot coverings made from animal furs, he completes his ensemble with another large piece of fur, thrown over the shoulder and worn as a cape. His hair is long and stringy, his beard is matted, there are large tufts of hair growing sporadically over his legs and no doubt he is preceded by a smell that could drop a T-Rex at fifty paces. In other words, he is a Proto-Hippie. Actually, he is a member of the Rock Tribe. A fitting name, cuz back in the 80’s, I remember a couple of heavy metal rock groups that sported a similar look. With a blood curdling shriek (more like a retarded wail) he launches himself from his hiding place and charges up to the boar and then continues on past the beast. The boar immediately gives chase, which staggers the imagination. With what this guy must smell like, I’d think animals would run away from him. Bounding over some rocks, Mr. Caveman makes sure to leap across some branches on the ground. The boar however is no tactician at all and runs right over them…and falls into the pit they were concealing.
Mr. Caveman stops to confirm that the boar has been captured then lets out a triumphant, “Aayeeeee” yell, which is soon taken up by other members of the Rock Tribe who have been waiting atop a nearby hill. This bunch comes barreling down the slope, yelling as they go. For his part, Mr. Caveman continues with his asinine “Aayeeee” yells.
Then…DAMN. I thought he was gone! See what I mean? Just when you think this asswipe has left the building, he’s back like a STD outbreak. Yep, it’s the annoying announcer. So, this is what jerkwad has to say this time:
“There are not many men yet, just a few tribes scattered across the wilderness. Never venturing far, unaware that other tribes exist, even. Too busy with their own lives to be curious. Too frightened of the unknown to wonder. Their laws are simple: the strong take everything. This is Akhoba, leader of the Rock Tribe…and these are his sons, Sakana and Tumak. There is no love lost between them…and that is our story.”
Do you think that with those last words, it means he has gone away for good? Let's hope so! Anyway, while all this is being said, we see numerous other males from the Rock Tribe congregate around Mr. Caveman, including the aforementioned Akhoba, Sakana and Tumak. All of them are excited, as no doubt they realize that they get to eat tonight. Akhoba seems to single out his son Sakana, who picks up a pointed stone and prepares to jump into the pit with the boar. This upsets Tumak for some reason. He tries to take the stone away from his brother and the two are quickly pulling at it like little kids fighting over a treasured action figure. Akhoba steps in and stops them. Tumak growls, gestures and somehow makes a case for himself. This sways Akhoba, who pushes a visibly pissed off Sakana away. Then with that retarded wail that must run in the family, Tumak jumps into the pit with the boar. He quickly hops onto the animal and there is a horrifying moment when, after seeing him writhing around with the creature, that one thinks that he has been awarded mating rights by his father. Alas, it seems he has been honored with the task of killing the critter. He rolls around with an obviously fake boar for a few seconds, the other members of his tribe cheering him on from above. Finally, he manages to kill the beast and his helped up out of the pit. Others soon jump in to help remove the animal’s body.
Once the carcass has been laid out on the ground, Akhoba strolls over to it and with his bare hands, rips one of the tusks out of the creature’s head. He then presents this bloody token to Tumak, who accepts it with all the glee of a crack addict being awarded five free kilos. Then Akhoba is off, his sons right behind him and the others following. The boar is quickly tied to a pole and as it is hoisted onto the shoulders of two men, an old man is accidentally pushed into the pit. His moans pitifully and waves his arms for help. It appears that he has broken one of his legs. Seeing this and realizing that there is no place in the tribe for gimps, the others just give him a cursory glance before walking off. We then see that Buzzard/Vulture bird again, and we suddenly know what is going to happen to the poor old bastard. Not far off, leading the procession home, Akhoba pauses long enough to ensure that his son Tumak walks immediately behind him and not Sakana. The screams from the old man are heard and promptly ignored in favor of continuing the trek homewards.
The group races across the featureless terrain and arrives at the cave they call home well after dark. Rain is coming down by the proverbial bucket and as the tired men ascend the rocky path that leads to the cave’s entrance high atop a cliff, they are spotted and met by a group of the tribe’s women. The women are all happy to see their men return with meat and the men seem quite thrilled to see the ladies (although there is not a single welcome-home beer in sight). Akhoba is met by his woman and enters the cave while Tumak greets a big-breasted chick named Nupondi. He happily shows her his bloody boar tusk, but Sakana ruins the moment by shoving him. Then they all head inside.
Some time later, everyone is gathered in the central chamber. Akhoba sits atop a slight ledge, overseeing everyone and watching as the ladies go about roasting the boar over a fire. Everyone seems mesmerized by the flames and the cooking meat, as if they were a group of starving plane crash survivors that suddenly stumbled into a five star steakhouse. One young guy gets a little too anxious while waiting and makes the mistake of reaching out for a piece of meat only to have his hand stomped on by Akhoba, who has appeared next to the fire out of nowhere like some sort of prehistoric Batman. Soon enough, Akhoba’s woman takes a sample bite and then nods to him, letting him know that the meat is ready to be consumed. Akhoba promptly marches over, pushes everyone away and then tears off an entire leg for himself. As he stomps off, Sakana now pushes forward and claims another leg. A few random tribe members try to grab something but Tumak now arrives, muscles his way to the boar and claims his own chunk of flesh. The tribe leader and his sons now having been served, dinner becomes a free for all: everyone comes running and what is left of the boar is quickly ripped to pieces amidst much growling, snarling, fighting, tugging and slobbering on the part of the tribe members…in other words, it exactly like your typical Thanksgiving dinner.
As everyone eats their food, the cave rumbles and a few rocks fall from the ceiling, but this must be a common occurrence, as everyone continues eating as if nothing has happened. Akhoba, finished with his leg, but still feeling a bit peckish, saunters over to Tumak and rips the food right out of his hands. Tumak tries to fight but is pushed away by his father. Not one to take such ill-mannered gluttony laying down, Tumak picks up a staff and attacks Akhoba. The older man, however is prepared and fights back with his own staff. The two started bashing their staffs together like small kids pretending to be Jedi Knights, but few others take notice. Aside from Nupondi and Sakana, everyone else is too busy eating. The fight eventually leads to the mouth of the cave where Tumak takes a hit and falls over the cliff’s ledge. He hits a bushy ledge on the way down that helps cushion his fall and eventually lands in some more foliage further below. Akhoba stomps back into the cave (notice how these people do a lot of stomping? Graceful they are decidedly not), indifferent to it all, while Sakana seems pleased that his brother is gone. Apparently Nupondi was, or was going to be, Tumak’s woman and she is noticeably upset over seeing him take a dive over the edge. She wants to go check on him, but Sakana pushes her back inside…no doubt claiming her as his own now.
Morning comes and Tumak awakens. He pulls himself out of the bush (that sounds dirty) and looks around him. The music swells as we see the broad, barren landscape that stretches out before him, looking all the more intimidating now that Tumak has been banished from the tribe. He picks a direction and begins walking. When he gets to a higher point and can look back on where he has come from, he spits in the direction of the Rock Tribe’s cave, no doubt a symbolic gesture that meant “f*ck you” as much in those days as it still does today. He walks on and we suddenly hear a loud roar. A gigantic lizard comes crawling over a nearby rise…and I do mean a gigantic lizard. This thing is your standard size iguana that has been matted into the film and made to look like the size of a jumbo jet. Tumak wisely runs like hell, but the iguana follows. At one point the beast manages to snag Tumak by the ankle with its tongue, but he hits it with a rock and frees himself. Tumak runs on, gradually climbing higher and higher up a steep hillside in order to evade the monster. This he manages to do before coming upon a passageway that leads into the rock face.
Following the passage, he discovers a large cavern that features a big pool of water at its center. Growing out of this pool and ascending to an opening in the cavern’s roof, is a large tree. Tumak instantly runs for the water and takes a big drink. Then he pulls some type of fruit from the tree and begins chowing down. However, his jovial mood at having found food and drink is squashed when he looks around and sees numerous skulls adorning the cavern. These skulls don’t look exactly human, appearing slightly misshapen. Again Tumak wisely decides to get the hell out of dodge, but before he can take more than a few steps, he hears a heavy breathing. He looks back and sees shadowy movement on the far side of the cavern, where a bipedal creature is descending towards the pool of water from an adjacent chamber. This thing is big, hairy and has really bad posture. No, it's not Rob Zombie. It must be a Neanderthal or something similar. Not sticking around to find out, Tumak follows a path that leads up and out of the cavern. He emerges onto a rocky plain and while traipsing around, slips and cuts up his hands. He picks himself up and continues on.
Back at the Rock Tribe, everyone is laying around the central chamber snoozing. Since it is not night, I don’t know why they are doing this instead of trying to locate more food. Maybe it’s hot outside. Maybe there already is a party of cavemen out there somewhere trying to wrassle up some grub. Then again, maybe the Caveman Union has strict requirements on hunting hours. Whatever the case may be, Nupondi wakes up next to Sakana – where he no doubt forced her to sleep, as part of his “claiming” her as his own. She quietly gets up and makes her way to the far side of the chamber and retrieves the bloody tusk that was awarded to Tumak by Akhoba. She picks it up but instantly a hand comes out of nowhere and grabs her by the back of the neck. It’s Akhoba! I told you that guy is one stealthy bastard. Nupondi drops the tusk and lets out a gasp, which awakens Sakana. He scowls at Akhoba, who scowls right back. Then Akhoba kicks the tusk towards Nupondi, who grabs it and holds it close. The tension gradually eases, Akhoba walking off and Sakana relaxing again.
We now return to Tumak, who wakes up from a nap amongst the rocks. He gets up and continues his aimless trek. He comes across some rather large footprints in the soil, which lead off into the distance. Looking at them, they were obviously made by something huge and nowhere near human. While Rosie O'Donnell springs to mind, a few seconds later a roar announces the arrival of that something: a large dinosaur of the brontosaurus type. It can be seen taking a stroll a short ways off behind a small rise, the bulk of its body easily seen over the landscape. Tumak wisely runs in the opposite direction. A few fast steps bring him face to face with…the worst looking monster in this film. And yes, it’s worse than the “giant” iguana from a few minutes back. This one is a tarantula about the same size of a car. Like the iguana, it is a normal sized spider that has been matted into the film and made to look quite large. If only they had not also matted in the cricket it was about to eat. That thing looks like it would out weigh a Saint Bernard. Again, displaying the type of wisdom that allowed him to live this long without getting eaten by something, Tumak hurries away from the big spider.
Now the scorching sun is taking its toll on him. He stumbles across the dry, barren land going…well, ya know…I haven’t a clue as to where he thinks he is going. After a minute or two, and numerous shots of the sun that are accompanied by music best described as “cello strangling,” Tumak crests a rise and sees something odd. His vision is quite blurred by now (so is mine), but as he slowly focuses, we see that a large body of water is not far away. It could be a big lake or the ocean itself. Since a stretch of land can be seen on the far side, we really cannot narrow it down any further. Slowly he makes his way toward the water, but he only manages to get a short ways down the hillside before collapsing in the sand. Fade out.
We now fade into a group of blonde hotties in fur bikinis as they frolic up and down the beach, running into the surf to catch fish with spears and generally make this film MUCH more interesting. Well, at least for us guys. Among this laughing, happy group is Loana, as played by the very tan and very shapely Raquel Welch. Suffice it to say that the woman is smokin’ hot. One of the women spots Tumak passed out up on the hill and after alerting her friends, the entire group huddles up before taking any action. Meanwhile Tumak has roused and seen the ladies down on the beach. The poor guy looks like total crap, being all scratched up and dirty from his long voyage across the wasteland. Oh wait, that’s what he always looked like. Loana has the other women wait by the water while she ascends the hill to check on this stranger. For his part, Tumak just passes out again as she draws near. Then again, if I saw that vision of loveliness advancing towards me, I’d pass out, too!
Loana reaches Tumak and turns him over onto his back. With his eyes nearly rolling back into his head, the poor guy looks like he is just about ready to cash in his prehistoric chips. Loana gazes at him with concern but before anything else can happen, there is an odd sound and a giant sea turtle comes crawling over the hill, intent on getting to the water no doubt. The appearance of the giant creature is Loana’s cue to grab a seashell hanging at her waist and blow into it. This sound is heard in the distance by some blonde guy who takes out his own shell and gives it a blow. Somewhere close, an entire tribe is assembling in answer to the call. This is the Shell Tribe which, unlike the Rock Tribe that is made up mostly of dark haired, pale people; is comprised for the most part of tan, blonde people.
Back at the beach, all the women have run away except for Loana, who tries to pull the unconscious Tumak to safety, but just ends up slipping and sending them both rolling down the hill in a pathetic display. Eight men from the Shell Tribe arrive, but the leader holds six back and approaches the sea turtle with just one other. Somehow, some of the women have now returned and are helping Loana remove Tumak’s ass from the creature’s path. Rocks and spears are thrown at the monster and it soon turns away from the group and heads in a different direction. That new direction seems to take it near where the other six men are, as next we see them throwing their own rocks and spears at the beast. Back where Tumak is passed out, Loana pushes one of the women away from him, making it clear that the “finders keepers” rule was in place even way back then and applied to strange, smelly and unshaven men. Finally, the sea turtle makes it past all these annoying pests and crawls into the water. The guy leading the men, who goes by the name Ahot, then sees Loana and Tumak. He races over and using his advanced medical knowledge (listening for a heartbeat), ascertains that Tumak is indeed alive.
With the turtle now gone, the entire group heads back to the tribe’s home, Tumak having been picked up and carried by some of the men. Like the Rock Tribe, the Shell Tribe calls a large cavern home, but unlike Tumak’s people, they also have made the area outside rather homey as well. Plus, the interior of the cave features much better natural lighting. As far as prehistoric real estate goes, these guys have definitely got the better crib. As the group approaches, Loana speaks with and makes some gestures at an older man. This guy must be the tribal leader. Loana seems to be making a request and her wish is granted. She smiles and has Tumak brought into the tribe’s cave where he is placed on a bed of hides and furs. He is still a little shaken and struggles somewhat, but Loana eases his anxiety by stroking his brow and calming him with her presence (I’d go comatose too with a rack like that filling my vision). Ahot tries to get her to come away from Tumak but she declines. He then shares an uncertain look with one of the other women before walking off.
Now the action jumps back to the Rock Tribe, members of which are back out on the hunt for food. Akhoba spies a mountain goat high up on some rocks and points it out to the others, including Sakana. Akhoba then strips down to just his loincloth and shoe-thingies (a sight which will REALLY induce a comatose state from the mere shock), hands off his fur cape to one of the others and begins climbing the rock face while the rest circle around and try to cut off the goat’s escape. He does manage to get awfully close to the animal, but it evades his grasp. However he has gotten himself into quite the predicament – dangling from a ledge and unable to pull himself to safety. He calls for Sakana, who comes to investigate after sending the others after the goat. Sakana approaches the ledge and just looks down at his struggling father. Then he kicks the rock Akhoba has been clinging to, sending the older man plummeting to the earth below with a wail. The others come running about now, and Sakana grabs the fur cape that belonged to Akhoba. By claiming it as his own, he is showing the others that he has assumed the leadership of the tribe. There is a brief moment where the others don’t look like they are sure if this is a good or bad turn of events (much like the last presidential election), but violence is averted when they accept him as leader. This is accomplished by throwing their staffs to the ground. Once he is confident that they will not fight him, Sakana walks away…forcing the others to pick up their staffs and follow. Wouldn’t now be a good time to stab him in the back if they truly wanted to? Then again, these are cavemen, not rocket scientists.
Returning to the Shell Tribe, we see Tumak awaken on his bed of furs. He looks around at the members of the Shell Tribe as they go about their daily routines: men crafting spears, women cooking, children painting and other things that make it clear that these people are much more advanced than the morons at the Rock Tribe. Loana catches Tumak staring at her. Ahot catches Tumak staring at Loana. Loana looks at Ahot. Tumak looks at Ahot. Ahot looks at Tumak. Ahot looks at Loana. All in all, a scene with an undercurrent of tension, despite a total lack of dialog.
Loana fetches a plate (actually a turtle shell) of food and presents it to Tumak. He is wary over the offering so she just sets in down in front of him and backs off. He then grabs the plate, spilling half the food and begins shoveling the rest into his mouth with all the grace and manners of a starving Skeksis. The members of the Shell Tribe stare in surprise at his total lack of etiquette. The children even laugh at the spectacle, but are quickly hushed by an older man. Tumak finishes his food and tosses the plate away, a large portion of food still stuck in his beard. Despite this, Loana smiles at him and one must wonder what it is about this ill mannered, smelly oaf that she finds attractive? It’s a case of women always chasing after the bad boy, isn’t it?
Just like that we are back in the cave of the Rock Tribe, where some sort of celebration…or at the very least, some kind of ceremony/ritual is underway. The tribe members sit around banging sticks together while a couple others, decked out in furs and buffalo heads, dance around like morons. Sakana sits in his new place of power as chief. Suddenly the old gal that was Akhoba’s women (and presumably Tumak and Sakana’s mother) lets out a horrified shriek – for shambling into the cave is old Akhoba himself. The poor guy has survived the fall he took earlier, but is not looking the best. Aside from being extremely banged up and bloody, one eye is milky and white. Ewww.
Once more we return to Tumak awakening after a nap. Now he looks much cleaner than he was before. Loana must have given him a sponge bath while he was out. Poor bastard. A sponge bath from her is definitely something to be awake for! Tumak gets up and begins exploring the cavern. Nobody seems to be home, so he roots around with the unfamiliar things he finds: shell necklaces, string used to thread garments together and what not. After checking out the cave interior, he heads outside. The men are all making spears and Ahot demonstrates to him how to throw a spear. He hands the spear to Tumak who after a couple tries and tips from Ahot, grasps the concept behind throwing the weapon.
Loana now approaches with a big smile. I guess she was smiling. I wasn’t exactly looking at her face. She provides Tumak with the word they use for “spear.” Once Tumak understands this, she points to herself, says her name and then points to Ahot and says his name. Tumak repeats Ahot’s name but when Loana gestures to him, obviously asking what his name may be, he just says “Ahot” again. This prompts Loana and Ahot to share a look that makes it clear that they are wondering if some group somewhere has lost its tribal idiot. Loana goes through the naming process once again and this time Tumak understands what she is after and proudly provides his name. Everyone smiles and Loana leads Tumak away. Ahot’s smile instantly vanishes. Methinks this primitive is beginning to realize that Loana has a thing for this smelly newcomer.
Loana now leads Tumak a short ways away where some tribe members are tending to a garden. She pulls up what looks like a big turnip or something and hands it to Tumak. He goes to take a bite but is distracted by some children nearby who are attempting to knock fruit from a tree with long sticks. Tumak climbs into the tree and shakes it, causing fruit to tumble to the ground, the kids to squeal with delight and Loana to laugh. Heck, even back in the day, the easiest way to score with a new chick was to look good with kids! Tumak climbs back down and one small girl gestures for Tumak to lift her into the tree. This he does before Loana, smiling, takes his hand and leads him onward.
You really have to hand it to the Shell Tribe for all of their advancements. Just gazing around at their community and watching them in their day to day activities shows us many of the things they seem to have invented: fundamental spear making, basic wood working, primitive painting and art, principal sewing, rudimentary structural engineering, elementary agricultural techniques, community child raising and the use of dinnerware at meal times. WOW! These guys make those jokers over at the Rock Tribe look like the latest bunch to star on Survivor. In addition to all that, by taking a closer look at the people of the Shell Tribe themselves, we can conlcude that they have also mastered hair care products, combs and brushes, razors, soap, nail clippers, cosmetics and an assortment of personal hygiene products. I guess the word’s oldest profession is really an Avon Lady! Alas, we can knock the old Rock Tribe all we want, but the fact remains that despite being significantly less advanced than the Shell Tribe in just about every department, there was one science that they did pioneer: dentistry. You think I’m kidding? Look at all those clean, straight and pearly white teeth on the guy in the pic at left. What do we see? That’s right! Fillings! We can only speculate on whether or not they also invented dental insurance.
There is one thing about these Shell Tribe folks that is odd. Why is it that every man in the Shell Tribe is sporting some type of footwear, but just about every woman is barefoot? The only females that seem to rate some shoes are either the elderly, the very young or Loana. I can see why old people and kids would get shoes…but why was Loana the only adult female to have them? Was it some sort of token for attaining "hottest chick in the tribe" status? Perhaps the males just wanted to keep their women barefoot and pregnant?
Now Loana takes him to a stream that angles nearby toward the sea. A group of blonde women are wading in the stream and occasionally thrusting a spear into the water to catch fish. Loana wades on it, borrows a spear from one gal and shows Tumak how to impale a fish. She hands the spear to him and after taking it, he hops in the water and proceeds to splash up a storm with his attempts at catching a fish. He ultimately ends up on his ass, completely drenched. Tribe members gather around and laugh at his antics, which cause him to look back in puzzlement. He begins to see the humor, especially once he realizes that he has indeed caught a fish on his spear and is about to laugh along with the rest when a thunderous roar rends the air, bringing a swift end to everyone’s frivolity.
Everybody runs like hell when what looks like an Allosaurus comes stomping into camp looking for a meal. One guy isn’t fast enough in getting his ass out of the water and the dinosaur saunters over, picks him up, drops him in the water, picks him up again and puts the death squeeze on him. While all this is taking place, everyone is cramming into the tribe’s cave to escape the beast. With one guy now squeezed to death, the Allosaurus decides to save him for later and grab another morsel for its dining pleasure. After snapping at a few people and giving the place a thorough looking over, it opts to eat that poor girl that is still stuck in the tree. Naturally she screams like hell and falls out onto her butt. Just as the beast is about to snatch her up in its jaws, Tumak appears and fends it off, having grabbed a spear from Ahot. He lures the creature away from the tree, giving Loana time to rescue the child and Ahot to gather re-enforcements and come running.
Tumak and the other men now confront the Allosaurus, which manages to push them back. The men retreat, passing underneath some sort of structure the tribe had rigged up with poles and leaves. The Allosaurus crashes into this thing and the whole mess comes crashing down on a couple of the men, including Ahot. Tumak, however, manages to avoid getting covered in debris and runs on. Ahot manages to free himself and run away but the last guy is just a wee bit too slow in getting his ass into gear. The Allosaurus grabs him and proceeds to put the death squeeze on him as well. His screams of agony alert Tumak and Ahot, who come running back to stab the beast with their spears. The monster drops the one guy (who now is no longer moving) and begins to back away. At one point the creature grabs the spear right out of Tumak’s hands with its mouth, forcing the cave man to run after a new weapon. This he does by going to that pile of poles left from that collapsed structure and trying to pull one free. Meanwhile, Ahot throws his spear at the Allosaurus and manages to impale it in the neck. This only pisses the monster off big time. It manages to remove the spear and Ahot wisely runs away. The beast now charges after Ahot, who runs right past Tumak. Tumak pulls a long pole from the pile at the last moment and raises it just as the Allosaurus is about to run him over. The creature is quickly impaled through the guts on the pole and collapses while Tumak rolls clear. The beast writhes around on the ground, letting loose with some truly shrill cries of pain before Tumak dispatches it with another spear thrust to the throat. The creature lies still and its breathing gradually slows before stopping all together.
Everyone now gathers around the slain beast and Tumak, who is mighty impressed with these new fangled gadgets called pointed-tip spears! Back at the Rock Tribe all they had were long sticks, but these things, with sharpened rocks affixed to their ends, are the bomb, baby! Ahot tries to take back the spear, but Tumak resists. The confrontation is about to escalate into a fight when Loana intervenes, pushing Ahot back and letting Tumak keep the spear. After all, it was Tumak who used it to kill the beast, right? Well that may be, but once Tumak has calmed down, she gently takes the spear from him and returns it to Ahot. The message is clear: the spear belongs to him and Tumak must return it. Ahot walks off while Tumak looks confused.
Sometime later it is time to bury one of the poor schmucks who was killed by the Allosaurus. A long procession files out of the cave and heads toward a big hole that has been dug in the ground. The body is placed inside along with some foodstuffs and other things to help him in the afterlife. Tumak doesn’t linger, but strolls into the cave while the others conduct their rituals. Within, he quickly grabs Ahot’s spear and hides it among some furs. While he is doing this, Ahot enters, sees what he is up to and grabs the spear away from him. Naturally, a fight begins. They bounce all over the place struggling with one another, using whatever is laying about as weapons. Finally, Ahot is knocked to the ground and as Tumak is about to stick him with his own spear, the rest of the tribe enters and pulls him away from their kinsman. Tumak is hauled outside to face tribal judgement, while Loana looks like a dinosaur just swallowed her puppy whole.
Outside, Tumak is taken to the edge of the camp and a gesture from the old leader makes it clear that he is to bugger off. Tumak begins to walk away but a call from Loana stops him. She rushes to him and mutters something in her primitive dialect. Ahot approaches and extends the spear to Tumak, showing that he isn’t such a bad guy after all. Loana grabs Tumak’s hand and forces him to take the spear. Then Tumak walks away. A few seconds later she runs after him. Ahot watches her go and then turns to some other blonde woman. I guess she is his “back up woman.” Loana catches up with Tumak and together they set out for…wherever.
One question that just boggles the minds of so many people is this: why does Loana leave with Tumak after just a day or so when she hardly knows him? Hell, they barely speak the same language, his eating habits would make a monkey blush, he steals, he likes to fight and comes from an inferior tribe. What is there about him that is so appealing? Well, I’ll tell you. He is the quintessential "bad boy," and we all know how broads always fall for the bad boy instead of sticking with the dork…er…nice guy. Modern dorks…er…I mean nice guys have complained about this a lot. This film just proves that such tendencies on the part of broads harken back to the dawn of time and are nothing new.
The music kicks into high gear and we get several shots of Tumak and Loana crossing barren lands. Tumak is setting a brisk pace and Loana seems to be having trouble keeping abreast (hahaha! Get it? Cuz she has big boo…nevermind, – she has trouble keeping up). They continue on until eventually they arrive at a big smoking crater. This is where Tumak exited the cave with the pool, tree and Neanderthals earlier in the film. They descend into the cave and make their way to the tree that dominates the central chamber. Loana rushes to take a drink, but Tumak is more cautious, stopping her when she creates too much noise with her splashing. A good thing, too as shadowy movement and faint sounds herald the approach of more than one resident.
Quickly Tumak and Loana climb the tree and hide in its branches while several hairy primate things converge on the pool and begin to drink and pull fruit off to eat. In the tree, Loana lets slip the piece of fruit she was holding and it falls into the pool with a splash. This sets off a couple of the hairy guys, who start fighting over it. Seeing this as the distraction they need to get further away, Tumak and Loana climb the tree and huddle close to one another in its heights.
Night falls and the two of them are still in that damn tree, though its apparent that they are quite well aware of one another – sharing a meaningful look or two. More time passes and now it looks like morning has arrived. Carefully they climb the tree some more and reach the opening in the roof of the cave that allows them egress. They emerge back onto the rocky landscape. For some reason Loana holds Tumak’s arm close to her face and lets a few tears roll down her cheek. Women! Go figure.
The two continue their journey and at one point round a big bush and come face to face with a Triceratops. Well, it's more like they come face to ass with it, as the beast has its back to them and seems to be grazing on the meager foliage. The two try to sneak away but the large dinosaur sees them and gives chase. They don’t get too far when they run into another dinosaur, only this time it’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex…or a member of the same genus. Tumak and Loana take shelter in some rocks while the two giant lizards ignore them and proceed to fight each other. The two humans have a bit of difficulty escaping their narrow shelter with the two dinosaurs fighting so close, but then Tumak notices a small hole at the back of the cleft they are in. He and Loana begin pulling away the rocks and dirt in this hole and open it up enough so they can pass through it. Loana makes it but the small passage collapses behind her, forcing Tumak to attempt an escape the other way. Meanwhile, Loana wastes no time in putting the pedal to the medal and running like hell out of sight over a hill. Finally the Triceratops manages to gore the T-rex, which promptly rolls over and dies. Tumak takes this opportunity to escape, but now he cannot locate Loana. He calls for her but there is no response.
Loana, who has been running nonstop, suddenly comes face to face with a new danger – Tumak’s brother Sakana and some other members of the Rock Tribe. Quickly she hauls out her big seashell and begins blowing away. Sadly, she is nowhere near the freakin’ Shell Tribe, so who does she expect to come running to her aid? She tries to run and evade Sakana, but he tackles her like a NFL linebacker. Tumak arrives and begins fighting Sakana’s comrades, clobbering them all real good. Then he races to confront his brother. The two fight and Tumak uses his new pointy spear to stab his brother in the side. As he raises the weapon to deliver a killing blow, Loana runs over and stops him. A couple more Rock Tribe members show up but quickly defer to Tumak’s authority. He instructs them through gestures to help Sakana back to the cave.
They all arrive back at the Rock Tribe’s cave, where everyone gazes open mouthed at Tumak’s return. Well, some of them did. I’m sure some of those slack jawed stares from the men were on account of Loana’s lithe form and revealing clothes. Nupondi seems pleased to see Tumak and quickly fishes out his Boar Tusk trophy, which she had hidden. Tumak approaches Akhoba and raises his spear as if to kill him, but a scream and protest from his mother halts him and he moves away.
The highlight of the movie is about to occur now. Loana sees the Boar Tusk that Nupondi has clenched in her hand. She tries to gently take it away to examine it, but the dark haired Rock Tribe women won’t release it. Loana tries to gently take it, conveying no ill will on her part, but Nupondi will not relinquish the tusk. A cavegirl catfight now erupts. Nupondi pushes Loana to the ground, grabs some kind of animal horn and tries to stab the other woman with it. Everyone watches, some with gleeful expressions, as the two women fight. Loana eventually pushes Nupondi to the ground, where the dark haired woman remains. The tribe members now push Loana to the ground over Nupondi and thrust a large stone into her hands. Their message is clear: they expect her to finish off the other woman. With the tribe chanting away, Tumak can see that Loana does not want to kill Nupondi, so he jumps down from where he was standing, takes the stone from Loana and tosses it away. Then he pushes the tribe members away as if to say “nothing to see here, move along.”
Loana now helps Nupondi up and all the women of the tribe take a closer look at this blonde newcomer. One women seems entranced by her necklace so Loana removes it and gives it to her. Then that old Lech Akhoba tries to fondle her, but his woman pushes him aside and leads Loana away. She gives her a fur and shows her to a place where she can lie down in peace and relative solitude. Fade out.
Fade in. The next day, the Rock Tribe is gathered outside of their cave where Tumak and Loana are instructing them in the fine art of fastening sharpened rocks to the ends of big sticks. Akhoba can be seen gimping around with the use of a cane and Sakana shares a look with his father that implies that he is none too pleased to have his brother back. So he approaches Tumak and tries to take the spear that he is holding. Tumak resists at first but then lets his brother have it. Sakana begins to walk away and Tumak calls his name. What happens next is a bit puzzling. A group of tribe members leave in one direction at Tumak’s command, while Sakana and some others walk off in the opposite direction…also seemingly at Tumak’s command. I don’t know if Tumak has assumed leadership of the tribe or Sakana was just humoring him or if something else entirely transpired, like Sakana and his followers being exiled. Who knows.
Tumak and Loana head off in their own direction, eventually running into some singing mountains. Well…not really, but the music and accompanying vocals are nearly deafening when they do see some rocky hills in the distance. Then they head on down to a small lake where other Rock Tribe members are hanging out and working on various projects. Loana is thrilled to see the water and wastes no time jumping in (without taking any clothes off unfortunately). She laughs and calls for Tumak, who cautiously wades into the water with some other tribe members, including Nupondi. It is clear by the wary looks on their faces that none of these people have much experience in water (can you just imagine the smell?), especially when it gets pretty deep. Somehow, they splash their way into the deeper section of the lake and instantly develop swimming skills, as not of single one seems to be drowning. One guy left on shore gazes on with a look that is best described as distasteful surprise…as if he is watching everyone jump into a huge pool of dinosaur poop or something. Loana comes bouncing out of the water to rest on the sandy shoreline…um…um…um…um…um…er…wha? Eh, you’ll have to pardon me for that lapse. I was watching that particular bouncing shot over and over again.
Am I the only one that shivers at the mere thought of what the Rock Tribe’s cave must have smelled like? At least the Shell Tribe set up shop by the ocean, had a stream very close to their cave and would seem to have indulged in the fine art of bathing at least once or twice a month. On the other hand, their contemporaries over at the Rock Tribe didn’t have water close at hand – they had to make a decent hike just to get to it, plus when Loana jumped in the pond, they all looked at her as if she was crazy and then had to be coaxed into the water. Something tells me that submerging themselves in water for any reason was a new concept to them. On top of all that is the fact that none of them looked like they had changed their furs…ever. I don’t even want to know what kind of build up of dick cheese and/or smegma that many of them must have been dealing with, let alone if they even knew how to wipe their asses. All in all, that cave must have reeked.
Everything seems all fine and dandy, but as usual, harsh reality sets in with a bang…or in this case, with a shriek. Everyone looks up to see a large Pteranadon swooping out of the sky. The men try to put up a fight while the others run like hell. Loana grabs a child and gets a few feet before falling. The child gets away put the Pteranadon swiftly descends, grabs Loana and then flies off. Tumak throws a spear that misses by a mile and then runs after the monster, accompanied by another of the men. The others chase after them for a short stretch before Nupondi calls them to a halt. Thinking that the blonde newcomer is as good as dead, a smile forms on her face.
The Pteranadon flies to a large rock overlooking the ocean, where a nest has been constructed and two babies eagerly await their next meal. Preparing to drop Loana to its young so they can feast on her, the mama bird is taken unawares by another Pteranadon that suddenly appears and begins fighting. The two flying dinosaurs battle it out, during which Loana gets dropped into the sea. Meanwhile, Tumak and his companion are running like hell until the other dork makes a bad jump and hurts his leg. Tumak pauses only long enough to check on him before resuming his mad dash to the sea. Back at the seashore, Loana is pulling herself out of the water and clutching at her sides where the beast had grabbed and squeezed her. She makes it to dry land but collapses out of sight behind a small sand dune. The Mama Pteranadon has lost its fight with the other dinosaur and plunged into the sea, quite dead. The intruder flies back to the nest, kills the two babies and begins chowing down. Long about now, Tumak finally arrives and sees the meal in progress. Unaware that this Pteranadon is not the same one that abducted Loana, and that what it is eating is not a hot blonde woman, Tumak’s shoulders sag and he turns to go…oblivious to the fact that Loana lies just feet away.
Note - It is at this point that the movie enters its final segment, so if any of you really feel the need to watch this film and not know the ending ahead of time, skip the rest of this section.
Now we see a group of Rock Tribe dudes making their way back to the cave, having killed a goat with their fancy new spears. They are suddenly confronted by Sakana and his followers. Again, I haven’t a clue as to the situation. Was Sakana exiled and now making his bid to regain power? Was everyone just out on a hunt and now Sakana is asserting his authority over those that seemed to side with Tumak? I dunno. Whatever the reason, Sakana takes command of this new group and marches them to a campsite where a fire is made and the goat roasted. At this point, I’m thinking that Sakana was exiled, the other group went out hunting on Tumak’s command and now Sakana has stolen their kill and is planning his next move. Yeah, that sounds good to me.
Back out…wherever it is, Tumak is plodding his way back to the dork who hurt his leg, who will be known henceforth as The Gimp. He helps the guy up and they head off, presumably back to where the rest of the Rock Tribe is hanging out.
Now we are back at the digs of the Shell Tribe, where Loana comes stumbling into view. A sentry sees her and quickly blows into his shell, alerting everyone else. Ahot comes running when he sees whom it is that the sentry is helping back to camp. He sees that Loana is hurt and tries to pull her towards the cave, but she resists. Spouting some caveman mumbo jumbo, she makes it clear that she wishes to return to Tumak. The tribal leader approaches and she repeats this gibberish to him. Ahot volunteers to accompany her and the leader gives his ok. Several other men grab their spears and head out with Ahot and Loana. When they leave, there is one other woman that goes with them. WHY?? Did Loana need another female to gossip with or to trade men-bashing stories with? Did the men bring her to cook the meals on their trip? Since this particular woman seems to be the broad that Ahot hooked up with after Loana ran off with Tumak, I’m betting she went for the same reason any woman tags along with her man and his friends - to keep an eye on him and make sure he isn’t chasing other skirts…or in this case, fur loincloths. Knowing that Ahot had the hots for Loana, she joins them so that she can be sure that once he is far from the tribe, Ahot isn’t trying to mix his peanut butter in Loana’s chocolate.
We briefly return to Sakana’s camp, where everyone is snoozing. Well, almost everyone. One of the Rock Tribe members that Sakana’s gang captured earlier manages to sneak away. I guess the entire concept of posting guards to watch prisoners isn’t something that has been invented yet.
Somewhere out on the barren landscape Tumak is still helping The Gimp along when he hears something and pauses. The distinctive sound of some jackass blowing into a seashell can be heard coming from over the hillside. Tumak leaves The Gimp behind long enough to take a peak and what should he see? Why, it's that group of Shell Tribe members led by Loana and Ahot. Tumak recognizes them, so he stands up, waves his hands and shouts out Loana’s name. Then he begins racing down the hillside, The Gimp completely forgotten. When Loana sees her hairy, smelly boyfriend charging down the slope towards her she gets all excited and runs towards him as well. Oddly enough, the two don’t instantly embrace when they meet. Instead, they stop a few feet from one another and give each other the once over, as if making sure it really is who they think it is (after all, changeling imposters were a real menace in prehistoric times)…and then they embrace.
The Gimp comes staggering down the hill about now, so a couple guys from the Shell Tribe run over to help him up. Then the guy who just escaped from Sakana’s camp comes barreling into the group. Through the use of their caveman gibberish, he conveys to Tumak what is up with Sakana, afterwards which Tumak convinces Ahot and the other Shell Tribe dudes to follow him and help. The entire group then takes off running.
At Sakana’s camp, Sakana himself wakes up and sees that one of his prisoners is missing. He wakes everyone up and instantly they are all on the run as well. We now get several shots of both Sakana’s and Tumak’s groups as they run across the wilderness. Sakana’s group is the first to reach the cave of the Rock Tribe, where they take up positions around the entrance. Tumak’s group then arrives, but hangs back without letting Sakana know that they are there. Sakana is too busy calling Akhoba out to notice anyway. The old guy comes gimping out (there are far too many gimps in this film now) and is instantly set upon by some of Sakana’s men. Tumak then commands his gang into action and soon it is utter chaos.
Everyone starts fighting and Tumak takes a staggering blow which drops him to the ground. Nupondi spears a guy who got too fresh while Sakana grabs Loana and tries to run off with her. Tumak rouses himself and gives chase. He throws a spear at his brother, but as we established earlier, his aim sucks worse than a blind epileptic in the midst of a seizure, and so he misses. Sakana drops Loana in order to fight with his brother and soon they are both rolling around in the dirt trying to bash each other’s brains out. Just as Tumak is about to deliver the killing blow with a large stone….BOOM! The local volcano decides the time has come to end this movie with a literal bang. Tumak drops his rock, grabs Loana and prepares to run away. Sadly, Sakana was just a wee bit faster and pushes Tumak aside so he can grab Loana and run off. All around them, everyone has decided that this whole fighting thing has gotten quite boring and a really fun new game would be to run like hell.
However, not everyone is capable of running, like Akhoba. He just retreats into the cave along with a bunch of others. Unfortunately, the volcano’s eruption has triggered some major tremors and a strong shaking of the earth. It isn’t too long before Akhoba and the rest are buried alive as the cave collapses. Outside, people are not faring much better, with large fissures opening in the ground and swallowing people whole while others are crushed by falling rocks. In the midst of all this chaos, Tumak manages to get his hands on a spear, catch up to Sakana and impale his brother in the guts before leaving him to die and running on with Loana. Next we get several minutes of the chaos unfolding as people run, trip, plummet into sinkholes, are crushed by falling rocks, etc, etc, etc. Hell, we even get a shot of an iguana slipping into a crevice that opens up directly beneath it. Even poor Nupondi doesn’t make it out alive. Despite avoiding numerous pitfalls (literally) she finally slips into a hole and vanishes. After all of this transpires, we get a fade out.
And we fade in on…the smoldering aftermath. Tumak and Loana pull themselves from the rubble. Other survivors begin appearing, the lot looking around in befuddlement. With their cave gone, they really need to begin that search for a new home. After staring around them for a few moments, Tumak finally begins walking. Loana follows, as does everyone else after a few seconds. The group begins picking their way across the barren landscape.
Just where the hell is everyone going? Are they heading back to the Shell Tribe, the surviving Rock Tribe members now being assimilated into that tribe, or are they off to start a whole new tribe? I cannot see how Ahot would have wanted to bring all those stinky Rock Tribe people home to the Shell Tribe…and I certainly cannot see him and the other Shell guys wanting to start a new tribe with that lot. I mean…with Nupondi dead, there were no more available hot chicks from the Rock Tribe that had survived. At least, there were none that I would have wanted to shag. Then again, these are cavemen we’re talking about – the same guys that probably drank from the same water they pooped and peed in – I’m sure their standards were much lower.
The End. Roll credits.
Hammer films had gained success in the mid 1950’s with a series of inexpensive but well executed science fiction dramas (X The Unknown and The Quatermass Experiment AKA The Creeping Unknown among others) however, the studio found its true calling in the latter years of that same decade when it began remaking classic gothic horror films, followed up by sequels and spin off projects to those movies as well as original films in the same genre. In an attempt to expand, the studio sought the rights for King Kong, hoping to fuel a remake, but RKO refused to sell them. Looking elsewhere they came upon the original One Million B.C. (1940). Deciding to use stop-motion techniques to bring their dinosaurs to life, as opposed to the stiff suits used by actors in the previous version, they recruited Ray Harryhausen and his special brand of FX wizardry in addition to director Don Chaffey.
When it came to casting, the Hammer Glamour maxim was in full force: beautiful and sexy women. The studio gained access to Raquel Welch, who had been featured in Fantastic Voyage as well as playing smaller roles in other films, through American distribution partner 20th Century Fox. Martine Beswicke, one of the few women to play a Bond girl more than once, was also brought in for the secondary female role. Cast opposite Welch was John Richardson, who starred in the studio’s remake of She. The actors found quite a challenge set before them. First off, there was no dialog other than a few basic grunts and short, two-syllable words. They found that they would have to rely more on their facial expressions and physicality to convey the emotions the story required. On top of that, they soon found themselves working with co-stars that were not there: dinosaurs that would be added later by Harryhausen. Precision of movement was very important if their actions were to properly synch up with the FX footage to come. This is where Harryhausen took a part in directing the actors, informing them as to where to direct their gazes and throw their spears.
After filming ended, Harryhausen set to work on the FX, which would take him nine months to complete. However, the results were well worth the wait – his creations sprang to life through the extremely detailed models as well as Ray’s painstaking animation approach, which truly made the creatures appear to be alive via small touches like breathing, blinking eyes and tail movements. Sadly, time and budget restraints meant that two monsters shown in the film had to be brought to life by using decorated iguanas and then shooting them at high speed to convey the illusion of mass. Hammer would go on to make two pseudo sequels to the film, the first of which also featured Martine Beswicke. Ray Harryhausen was not involved with either film and in fact the third movie contained no dinosaurs whatsoever. Interestingly, the original British release of One Million Years B.C. runs at one hundred minutes while the U.S. version only runs at ninety-one minutes. Reports indicate that this is not because the U.S. print was cut to a shorter running time, but seems to be because the two versions were edited differently, with many scenes appearing in a different order in the two versions.
Update: reader John Bernhard wrote to share the following regarding the different cuts of the film:
I was just checking your site out and noticed you comment about the longer version of the film. The UK print and DVD do run 100 min but the two versions are edited exactly the same. The US version was edited / censored removing some mild violence and toning down some of the dinosaur attacks to make them less intense or scary. TCM ran the uncut version once back around 1998, and it was very disappointing that the R1 DVD contained the shorter cut. Warner Brothers also has a longer cut of WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARH that contains some nudity, and like ONE MILLION, they cut it prior to US release and the shorter version is what was released on VHS and laserdisc.
Thanks for the info, John!
Here we have a movie that is quite entertaining for a variety of reasons. Foremost are the fantastic looking dinosaurs brought to life by the magic of Ray Harryhausen. Secondary…though perhaps not so secondary for some people, are the scantily clad cavegirls running through all that barren scenery. Tertiary to those elements is the story of primitive man struggling to survive in an unforgiving world. Whether you are looking for beasts, breasts or something a bit (just a bit mind you) deeper, this film has it.
While much can be said for the themes that highlight man’s steadfast and relentless drive to survive in the face of such overwhelming adversity – relying on his (marginally) superior cunning and intelligence to prevail against all that nature can throw at him and thus eventually leading him to the top of the food chain as well as being the dominant species on Earth, there are more subtle elements that can be discerned as well in addition to the more overt Darwinian and Nietzschean aspects, the latter of which is represented by the near nihilistic representation of the world that prehistoric humans inhabit: one that is harsh, unforgiving and ultimately defeating. In Tumak’s wanderings and his eventual pairing with Loana, in addition to his return to the Rock Tribe and his subsequent usurping of power, we see hints at another Nietzschean idea – that of the Übermensch or Overman. While forcibly expelled from his people, Tumak takes up the challenge of survival without benefit of companions. Once he has been exposed to the advancements of the Shell Tribe, he returns to his people a changed man, having overcome the limitations and preconceptions imposed upon him by life amongst them. This is superbly highlighted in the scene where the Rock Tribe is pushing Loana to kill a defeated Nupondi. Loana is reluctant to take a life so callously and Tumak sees this. He also recognizes that things do not have to be this way and thus steps in and prevents the unnecessary death from occurring, opening up a new line of thinking for his people in the process. Then again, I could just be imagining all that and the film is a basic man-finds-destiny tale. You decide.
What is pretty obvious to see, is the human drive to find companionship, form communities and secure the future by propagating like mad. Nowhere is the adage “no man is an island” more apparent than in Tumak’s acceptance of Loana as first a travelling companion, and then as mate. This underlying theme, hidden away beneath all the shouting, fighting and rampaging dinosaurs is what really gives the film its emotional core, something everyone can relate to and thus allowing the audience to empathize more with these people so far removed from our own world. While their day to day lives are vastly different from our own, they still strive for the same basic necessities of life: food, shelter, companionship and to provide for their familial units. This is what truly brings the characters to life, and makes them much more than just cartoonish caricatures.
In stark contrast is the life undertaken by the Shell Tribe. Whereas the predominant philosophy at the Rock Tribe was that everyone must fend for themselves and only the strong survive, at the Shell Tribe we see a society where individuals are much more cooperative with one another. This union of strength and ideas can be seen in their very way of life. Each member contributes to the greater good of the entire tribe. Resources are shared and the sick and/or injured are cared for, rather than left to die in the wilderness as the Rock Tribe are wont to do. This helps make people like Loana and Ahot more likable than anyone in the Rock Tribe, as we see them as being more civilized. Watching Tumak’s exposure to this new way of life as well as his difficulties in adapting only make it all the more sad when he is forced to leave. We know that he is a product of his harsh upbringing and really doesn’t know any better. Loana seems to recognize this, too and thus opts to travel with him. It's these subtle nuances that really aid in bringing the main characters to life. Despite his background, we root for Tumak, seeing in him the misunderstood loner that on some level, most people feel like at one time or another. Loana is the caring, nurturing type that helps Tumak expand his worldview, even if it is just by a little. In her Tumak has found someone who will stick by him no matter what…and not because she has been forced into doing so by his bullying, but by her own choice. This makes it seem all the more tragic when Tumak believes she has been devoured by a Pteranadon. We really feel that he has lost something precious.
All in all, the actors bring the characters to life adequately enough given the restraints of both dialog and the often-simplified characterizations. Then again, in a movie about cavemen, we really do not expect anyone to expound at great lengths about the meaning of life and their place in the vast universe. John Richardson makes for a decent Tumak, making him sympathetic in spite of his stubborn ways. Raquel Welch is equally as good as Loana, lending an air of hope to the film with her portrayal of a decent, caring woman. Still, ya gotta admit that more often than not, such aspects will be overlooked in favor of drooling over her in that fur bikini. Yes, she is incredibly hot in that thing, and several shots leave little to the imagination, but she does manage to inject the character with some actual personality. If Tumak symbolizes the strength of the movie, then she is definitely its emotional center.
Desert Hijinks - The landscape these prehistoric dorks run across really isn’t so much a desert as it is just plain barren and deserted.
Dinosaurs - This flick is crammed with dinosaurs: A Brontosaurus, Allosaurus, Triceratops, Ceratosaurus and Pteranadon among others.
Giant Bugs - Well, one giant tarantula and an Rottweiler-sized cricket…though I do realize that spiders are not bugs.
Giant Monsters - Aside from all the big dinosaurs, we also have a giant iguana that pops up a couple of times.
Monsters - This category is for man-sized monsters. The only ones here that fit that description are the tribe of hairy Neanderthals.
Romance - Mostly left unexplored, but there is a subtle romance (or what passed as romance back then) between Tumak and Loana.
Skin - Lots of skin from both male and females: unpleasant shots of pasty male thighs and flabby bellies, but plenty of pleasing glimpses of tanned, toned and curvaceous females.
Underground Hijinks - Not a lot, but both featured tribes do happen to live in caves, so there are a few scenes in such places.
Violence - Lots. Dinosaurs chomping dinosaurs, dinosaurs chomping people, people chomping people, fist fights, catfights, spear fights, etc.
People chomped by dinosaurs: 2
People chomped by other people: 1
Dinosaurs seen: 8
Normal animals masquerading as giant monsters: 4
One-on-one caveman fights: 4
Dinosaurs rendered extinct: 4
Intelligible words spoken by cast: 0
Intelligible words spoken by narrator: almost none
Mins - Ray Harryhausen! Woo Hoo!
Shadow's Drinking Game: Every time the name "Tumak" is uttered by someone take a drink. Every time the name "Loana" is heard, take two drinks.
for larger image
Part of the narrator’s opening ramblings.
Narrator: “And man. Superior to the creatures only in his cunning.”
Shadow’s Comment: And odor.
Tumak calls for his woman.
Comment: Get back here and fix me a dinoburger!
Film & Me
This is another one of those films that I can vividly recall watching numerous times over the years as I was growing up. I remember that it was after one such viewing with my dad, that he commented on how crappy some of the music was and that it sounded like someone shaking rocks and sand around in a large pot. Even at a young age, I knew who Ray Harryhausen was, and I marveled at the creatures he brought to life. Watching those stop-motion critters was just pure, one hundred percent movie magic. I just loved looking at them and was always sad that the movies they were featured in didn’t highlight them more than they already did. As one might surmise from the last two sentences, as a kid I watched this film for one reason: the dinosaurs. Yeah, I noticed that there were people in the film as well, but my mind was fixated on the monsters. Like most genre films of the 1950’s and 1960’s, this one gradually vanished from TV screens as the 1980’s dragged on. The last time I saw the film before obtaining it on DVD had to have been in the mid or even early 80’s. Suffice it to say that it was a long time ago. Then earlier this year the film became available on DVD and I happily added it to my collection. I brought it home, let it sit on the shelf for a couple weeks and then on one eventless weekend afternoon, popped it the player and watched it again for the first time in many, may years. While there were many things that I had forgotten about, the film was just as I had remembered it….mostly. Yes, the dinosaurs still looked fabulous, but HOLY CRAP, where did all these fine-ass babes come from?! As a pre-adolescent youth, I took no notice of all the bare female flesh on display in this movie. As an adult, my eyes can hardly look elsewhere! Now, I had known for years that Raquel Welch had been a super hottie in her youth – especially after watching the goofy flick A Swingin' Summer (1965) on the USA network one night in the early 90’s when I was liquored up something fierce and killing time with my cousin – but for some asinine reason, despite knowing that she had also starred in One Million Years B.C., I never connected the two in the dark (very dark) recesses of my mind. So when I plopped this DVD in and took a gander, I was blown away by how…well, by how awesome she looked in her infamous fur bikini. Needless to say, I look at the film in an entirely new way now.
Shadow's rating: Seven Tombstones