DVD review: One Million Years B.C. (3 out of 5)

As a young boy, my parents often took me to the cinema (it was cheaper and easier than organising a babysitter).

A scene from 'One Million Years B.C.'
A scene from 'One Million Years B.C.'

So one evening in 1966 we went to see One Million Years B.C.

I’m guessing the main attraction, certainly for the majority of the male audience, was watching glamorous Raquel Welch and the equally beautiful ‘Bond girl’ Martine Beswick dressed in animal skin bikinis.

With its new DVD release the interest now for film-lovers is watching great examples of special effects genius Ray Harryhausen’s work.

The plot for this Hammer film classic is complete nonsense, of course.

Tumak (played by John Richardson who was born in Worthing) is banished from his rough and warring tribe and meets a far more pleasant blond-haired coastal group, including Loana (Welch).

However, he manages to annoy them as well and goes off with Loana to survive in a land full of dinosaurs, giant spiders and lizards (courtesy of Harryhausen).

In the DVD extras Raquel Welch reveals she didn’t really want the role but was tied by her contract.

While filming in the Canary Islands she became quite ill (subsequently discovering she’s allergic to penicillin).

However, she made friends with many of the cast and became a lifelong pal of Beswick.

Scattered among the cast are well known fine British actors from the period (eg Percy Herbert and Robert Brown), all trying their best with the non-dialogue (just grunts and shouting people’s names).

But it does have a strange charm, with its total disregard for historical facts.

Fifty years ago I may have realised dinosaurs and Man didn’t actually meet but I do remember enjoying the excitement, and marveling at Harryhausen’s masterpieces.

The film has been released on Doubleplay DVD & Blu-ray by Studiocanal.