The Land That Time Forgot (1974) – By Duane L. Martin

Doug McClure.  If you see that name on a film, you know you’re in for some seriously cheesy fun, and that’s exactly what you get in The Land That Time Forgot.

The story takes place in 1916.  A German submarine sinks a British ocean liner that was carrying a lot more than passengers.  Unbeknownst to the unfortunate passengers, it was also carrying war supplies and munitions.

Enter Doug McClure.  He plays the son of a guy who developed the submarines like the Germans were using.  How convenient is that, huh?  Anyway, he escaped on a lifeboat with a beautiful young biologist named Lisa Clayton (Susan Penhaligon), and ultimately they met up with a few other survivors from the ship’s crew that had managed to escape.

When they see the German submarine come to the surface near by, they make their way over to it and climb aboard, eventually taking over the sub once the crew of the sub opens the hatch.  From there control goes back and forth, and when one of the German sailors destroys their radio and navigational equipment, they end up going in the wrong direction, and eventually find their way to a lost continent full of cavemen and dinosaurs.  This continent holds a multitude of secrets however, and some of those secrets might just help them to get back home again…or not.

This film is…well…it’s kinda great, and kinda boring at the same time.  So how does that work you may ask?  Well, it’s a bit hard to explain.  Have you ever seen a film that had a whole lot of elements to it that were entertaining, and yet the story just kind of felt like it was spinning its wheels a lot?  That’s kinda how this film is for me.  There’s some great stuff here, and Doug McClure is his usual cheesy self, but for some reason I had trouble connecting with the story itself.  I guess because there was so much illogic in it.  For example, they found crude oil on the island, and just happened to have everything they needed in the sub to set up their own little refinery.  Seriously?

Now there’s a lot of fun stuff in this film as well, like cavemen and fake looking dinosaurs who have really slow, tedious battles.  There’s even a pterodactyl that flies around on wires and grabs one of the cavemen in  its mouth.  Oh, and let’s not forget the incredible job they did on the submarine interior.  Then at the end, you even get to see some wild, nekkid cavegirl titties!  Can’t beat that with a stick, right?

Then there’s Doug McClure, who once again gets cast as the leading man who gets the girl, even though he’s never looked or acted the part at all.  You know what though?  He makes up for it with a whole lot of cheesy awesomeness, which goes a long way in my book.  The sequel to this film, The People That Time Forgot, also has Doug McClure in it, but it stars the equally cheesy Patrick Wayne in the lead role.  I haven’t seen it in a while, but if I’m remembering correctly, I believe it was the better of the two films, and I’m hoping it’ll be coming up in the next few rounds of released from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

For special features, this release includes audio commentary with director Kevin Connor, moderated by Brian Trenchard Smith and the original theatrical trailer.  What it doesn’t have, much to my disappointment is subtitles, but they’ve been getting better about including subs on their releases recently, so I won’t hit them too hard over it on this one.  Still, subs would have been a welcome addition to the release.

Even though this film can be a bit tedious in spots, it more than makes up for it in pure, cheesy fun.  If you can watch Doug McClure in a movie like this and not smile all the way through, then there’s something seriously wrong with you.  This, along with The People That Time Forgot are two films that any lover of the classics should have in their collection, right alongside of another Doug McClure classic, At the Earth’s Core.  So do yourself a favor and pick up a copy today.

If you’d like to find out more about this release, you can check out it’s page on the Kino Lorber website here: http://www.kinolorber.com/video.php?id=2037