One Million Years B.C. (1966)

Genres - Adventure, Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Prehistoric Fantasy  |   Run Time - 91 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Derek Armstrong

It's hard to suggest, without laughing, that even part of a movie like One Million Years B.C. might be considered "realistic." After all, its human characters fight turtles the size of apartment buildings, as well as actual dinosaurs and other dinosaur-like creatures -- which makes it just about the perfect Hammer Studios release. Given this, you'd think the filmmakers would just abandon all pretense of realism and have the characters speak to each other in English. But director Don Chaffey has enough commitment to scientific plausibility that his cavepeople communicate via grunts and other pre-linguistic babble. Did they think viewers would only care about looking at Raquel Welch in her iconic prehistoric bikini, and not about what she might have to say? In fact, the film's true role in cinematic history was to help establish Welch as a buzz-worthy commodity, after her breakout role in Richard Fleischer's Fantastic Voyage a couple months earlier. If it weren't for this star-making performance, the movie's 100 minutes would be even more interminable to sit through. Basic character relationships are established through a series of fights, banishments, reconciliations and betrayals, but there are only so many possible layers of complexity with this type of narrative. The movie basically moves from one bestial encounter to the next, with something that best resembles sideways momentum. At least the beasts themselves look good, as One Million Years B.C. finds effects wizard Ray Harryhausen at the top of his game. For modern viewers, the film is probably best appreciated as kitsch, and on that level, it satisfies well enough.