ONE MILLION YEARS B.C.
Today One Million Years B.C. is mostly remembered for the camp value of Raquel Welch in a fur bikini an image that has gone onto become a poster classic. Raquel Welchs presence has given One Million Years B.C. an undeserved reputation as a Golden Turkey which it isnt. In fact, One Million Years B.C. is the possibly the best entry to have graced the wildly anachronistic caveman vs dinosaurs mini-genre. Most of the efforts in this field bog down in trying to tell stories with grunts and hand signals. Not so One Million Years B.C. it strips the story back to an absolute minimum. Almost nothing is left to the hand-signals and grunts it is all relayed in terms of raw, physical expression and a series of exciting action sequences.
What decisively makes One Million Years B.C. the best of the caveman vs dinosaur films is Ray Harryhausens superb animation effects. Harryhausen had polished his art to perfection by the point he made One Million Years B.C. and there are some excellent scenes fighting off a giant turtle, where John Richardson impales a two-legged dinosaur on a spear or during Raquel Welchs abduction by pterodactyl. The standout set-piece is the enthralling battle between the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the stegosaurus, which Ray Harryhausen animates even down to tiny details showing the T-Rex panting as it expires.
The filmmakers appear to have gone and shot on genuine volcanic locations. The colour photography is remarkably rich and florid. Acting is hardly a consideration here, although Robert Brown gives an effectively brutal performance one where Brown is almost unrecognizable from his recurring role as the starchy M in the James Bond series. It may say something about One Million Years B.C.s classic stature that the same plot (of a primitive man falling in love with a girl from a more advanced tribe) was more or less repeated in Quest for Fire (1981), a film that attempted to rewrite cavemen dramas with more accurate anthropological realism.
The success of One Million Years B.C. inspired Hammer to create a mini-spate of prehistoric films and this was followed by the likes of Slave Girls/Prehistoric Women (1967), When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970) and Creatures the World Forgot (1971).
Ray Harryhausens other films are: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), the granddaddy of all atomic monster films; the giant atomic octopus film It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955); the alien invader film Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers (1956); the alien monster film 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957); the classic Arabian Nights fantasy The 7th Voyage of Sinbad; The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960); the Jules Verne adaptation Mysterious Island (1961); the Greek myth adventure Jason and the Argonauts (1963); the H.G. Wells adaptation The First Men in the Moon (1964); the dinosaur film The Valley of Gwangi (1969); the two Sinbad sequels The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977); and the Greek myth adventure Clash of the Titans (1981).
Don Chaffey was a director who made a handful of films during the Anglo-horror cycle, including several others for Hammers exotica cycle with The Viking Queen (1967) and Creatures the World Forgot (1971). Elsewhere, Chaffey directed Ray Harryhausens Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and the psycho-thriller Persecution/The Terror of Sheba (1974). In the 1970s, Chaffey moved over to work in US television and also made several childrens films with Disneys Petes Dragon (1977) and the Hanna-Barbera film C.H.O.M.P.S. (1979).