If there ever was a film that’s perfect to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon Hammer Films first venture into the prehistoric genre One Million Years B.C. would be it and it comes to Dual Format release on its 50th anniversary from Studio Canal.
This 1966 movie directed by Don Chaffey opens with a pre-credits sequence that wouldn’t look out of place in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. We are introduced to John Richardson’s Tumak, son of the feral dark haired rock people tribe leader.
When he’s banished by other tribe members he finds himself roaming through the rugged volcanic land (shot on location mostly in Lanzarote & Tenerife in the middle of winter). After his ordeal Tumak collapses on a remote beach and is spotted by Raquel Welch’s fur-clad Loana and her fellow blonde fisherwomen lovelies of the Shell tribe. The ladies call their men folk to battle a giant turtle-like Archelon and then they take Tumak back to the tribes more civilized cave to recuperate.
In amongst the dino battles we have a fight sequence between Loana and two time bond girl Martine Beswick playing “Nupondi the Wild One” it’s a well choreographed with the two actresses doing most of the action who both had a dance background.
The script by Brian Clemens may only contain dialogue that consists of grunts but themes of warring tribal factions,survival and facing the elements are all present in One Million Years B.C. The cast give committed performances and look the part in the rugged terrain even if there false beards don’t in the glare of this restored release.
The 100th production from the Hammer production house, who in there time made everything from the classic Christopher Lee Dracula movies to the big screen adaptations of On the Buses. This release of One Million… has been restored in 4K that comes with revealing interviews with still glamorous stars Raquel Welch & Martine Beswick. The disc also contains revealing artwork from the Ray Harryhausen vault allowing us to see production stills, storyboards and an unfilmed finale featuring a Brontosaurus.
One Million Years B.C. is a fun watch that has become memorable for the 60s generation of cinemagoers and fans of 1994s Oscar nominated The Shawshank Redemption the iconic photograph of Raquel Welch in her furry bikini is the poster that Andy Dufresne uses to hide his escape tunnel.
Dir: Don Chaffey
Scr: Brian Clemens
Cast: Raquel Welch, John Richardson, Percy Herbert, Robert Brown, Martine Beswick
Prd: Michael Carreras
D.O.P: Wilkie Cooper
Music: Mario Nascimbene
Run time: 100 minutes
One Million Years B.C. available on Dual Format now