One Million Years B.C.

Studio: Kino Lorber Studio Classics

Feb 23, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Find It At: AMAZON

One Million Years B.C. is pure eye candy (and no, that isn’t a comment on the well-known still of Raquel Welch in her famous fur bikini.) This new, 4K restoration from Kino Lorber Studio Classics presents the optimal method of seeing the classic Hammer b-movie which pitted cavemen versus dinosaurs and made its star into an international sex symbol.

Set in a prehistoric era when man had figured out the secrets to luscious, vibrant hair but not yet a spoken language, One Million Years is not particularly deep; or, for that fact, even verbal. All dialogue in the movie takes the form of nuanced grunts or nonsensical jibber-jabber (primarily when the characters are calling one another’s names.) The film opens with Tumak (John Richardson), a member of the grubby pig tribe of cavemen, being banished from his people for fighting over meat. After an arduous journey that he barely survives, he’s discovered by the beautiful Loana (Raquel Welch), the queen of the more refined, blonde shell people, who convinces her tribe to let him join their ranks.

Plotwise, that’s more or less the skinny of it. There’s not a lot to the movie’s story when our leads aren’t being attacked by dinosaurs – which happens a lot, and is the true reason to watch One Million Years B.C.. The special effects in the movie were handled by stop motion superstar Ray Harryhausen, who did Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts, Mighty Joe Young and so many others. Even today, fifty years after release, and even in an unbelievably crisp restoration, his work in One Million Years B.C. still holds up. The many dinosaurs – including a Pterodactyl, which picks up and flies away with Raquel Welch in its claws – look incredibly convincing; not quite on a Jurassic Park level, but the next closest thing. Save for several sequences where the human actors face off against everyday animals that were blown up with photo trickery to giant sizes – a tarantula, an iguana – it doesn’t take much work to suspend one’s disbelief and become enveloped in the world of One Million Years B.C.. Again, for a movie that’s half a century old, it’s an impressive feat.

As mentioned, Kino Lorber’s newly-restored Blu-ray looks fantastic. Not only do all of the effects sequences look as if they were shot yesterday, but the film’s beautiful backdrops – the Canary Islands stood in for Prehistoric Earth – are a joy to take in. Included in this set are the U.S. and British cuts of the film, as well as interviews with Welch, Harryhausen, and co-star Martine Beswick (of Bond fame), scholarly commentary, the trailer, and a gallery of marketing materials. One Million Years B.C. is goofy, brainless entertainment, but it’s stood the test of time better than the slew of other cavemen flicks that hit theaters in the ‘50s and ‘60s. This two-disc set is easily the best way to enjoy it.


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