When a caveman named Tumak (John Richardson) is banished from his tribe, he finds himself alone and struggling in a savage world. Eventually he makes his way to the coast, where he is taken in by a tribe of more advanced cave people, and finds himself falling into a prehistoric version of love with the beautiful Loana (Raquel Welch.) After an incident in which he is banned from her tribe as well, she follows him back to his old tribe, and the pair find themselves both in a fight for leadership. Will it mean anything though when a nearby active volcano finally erupts, after threatening to do so for quite some time? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.
While the movie is obviously not as realistic as other caveman type films, such as Quest for Fire, nor is it historically accurate since humans and dinosaurs didn’t exist at the same time in history, it is still quite an enjoyable film.
The cast all did a great job of acting primitive. The more primitive tribe that Tumak came from was especially good at acting like actual cavemen, though the authenticity of the appearance of the cast varied widely. For example, why Tumak, his tribe’s leader, and a much of the rest of his tribe all looked the part, many of the younger women didn’t. They looked more like they were going to a way out 60s costume party or something of that nature. As for Loana’s tribe, there were girls with bangs, and more modern looking haircuts, rather than the ratty hair you’d expect to see.
The best thing about this film has to be the special effects by the legendary Ray Harryhausen, who did some of his best work in this film. The dinosaur models looked absolutely spectacular, and their interactions with the humans was really well done. The only parts that didn’t look all that good, and that never looked all that good in any of his work, were the human models he used. For example, when a t-rex or whatever it was attacks and picks a man up in its mouth, the human model doesn’t even compare in realism to the dinosaur model. It’s still a masterwork of special effects, but a lot more effort seems to have been put into making the dinosaurs as realistic as possible, than there was in making the human models look real.
The dialog in this film, aside from the narration at the beginning, is pretty much just caveman talk. I was a bit peeved about the lack of subtitles on this release, but in hindsight, they wouldn’t have said anything all that intelligible anyway. I do applaud their use of a rudimentary language for each tribe, though the inevitable comparison to Quest for Fire will come up again, where they actually developed a fully fleshed out caveman language for the more advanced tribe in that film.
For special features, this release includes:
The US (4K restoration) cut, and the longer international cut of the film
Audio commentary by film historian Tim Lucas
In the Valley of Dinosaurs – Interview with Raquel Welch
An interview with SFX legend Ray Harryhausen
An interview with actress Marline Beswick
An animated montage of posters and images
This film is pretty much legendary in the realm of classic films, and it’s definitely one of Harryhausen’s best efforts. There’s nothing not to like here, so pick yourself up a copy today and add it to your collection. You won’t regret it.
If you’d like to find out more about this release, you can check out its page on the Kino Lorber website here: https://www.kinolorber.com/film/onemillionyearsbc1966