BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
The British go prehistoric with this wild adventure. One Million Years B.C. is a special effects bonanza with a variety of creatures created by the famed Ray Harryhausen himself. Of course, none of that matters in this film because all eyes are on the amazing special effect of Raquel Welch in a doe-skin bikini. Wowser. She certainly draws the breath right out of you...especially in HD.
A tanned young Welch, poised for adventure, became a pin-up girl almost over night thanks to this Hammer Films Production. You know the poster I speak of. Hell, some of you might have even owned it at one time. I wish I did.
Who cares then if the rest of the movie just sorta lies there at her feet? Co-starring John Richardson and a bevvy of stop motion dinosaurs, the ahistorical tale is one of man and large beast sharing the same territory when tribal warfare breaks out due to a chance encounter between the Shell tribe and the Rock tribe. Set against a ferocious environment where danger lurks with each new sunrise, it is a movie that exploits that which it seeks to empower. And no one bats an eye.
Harryhausen, who knew he’d be competing against Welch for male attention, livened things up a bit by including scenes depicting attacks from larger-than-life REAL green iguanas, warthogs, and tarantulas. These aggressive (and hilarious) scenes – with their enlarged ratios – look ridiculous now, but I’m sure they were fairly jarring at the time of the film’s release.
Filmed in and around the Canary Islands, this foreground-matted remake stumbles into its own ending with an unexpected volcano explosion of hot rocks and lava, covering the land with dirty ash that also drains the color from the picture; yet another special effect. Sharp eyes will spot every rubber claw or model used. Even the Welch double – when she falls behind a rock – is in full view before being carried off by a thieving dinosaur. Surely, the sheer amount of effects had to be headache-inducing for the master of stop motion. Yet, they are all pulled off with typical Harryhausen skill and precision.
While Harryhausen probably should have stuck with stop motion throughout the tale, the dinosaurs included in this feature are numerous and exciting to see move. Including attacks from a brontosaurus, a charging triceratops, an archelon, an allosaurus, a ceratosaurus, a female Pteranodon, AND a long-tailed pterodactyl, who steals Welch away and drops her bleeding in the sea, this is one hell of a matinee picture show. Too bad then that the dialogue throughout the film is pretty much gobbledygook. We understand names and objects and little else.
But who cares? With Hammer’s production of One Million Years B.C., stop motion gets sidelined by the natural beauty of its leading lady who, fortunately enough, can be celebrated all over again thanks to Kino Lorber Studio Classics. With this blu-ray release, Welch has her day in the sun with a brand new 4K restoration. Owning this HD release requires so little thought that even a cave man could do it.
MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime: 91 mins
Director: Don Chaffey
Writer: Michael Carreras
Cast: Raquel Welch, John Richardson, Percy Herbert
Genre: Fantasy | Adventure
Tagline: This is the way it was.
Memorable Movie Quote: "This is a story of long, long ago; when the world was just beginning."
Theatrical Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Release Date: November 16, 1976
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: February 21, 1967
Synopsis: In this remake of the 1940 film with a similar title, Prehistoric man Tumak is banished from his savage tribe and meets pretty Loana who belongs to a gentler coastal tribe but he must fight caveman Payto to win her favors.
Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray - February 14, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Region A
The sun-kissed beauty of Welch in 1080p is reason enough to celebrate this release from Kino-Lorber. This is a dual-layered treatment with a highly charged bitrate and, hands down, is easily as good as the film has ever looked. There is a tightness and depth - skin tones and colors look balanced – and those hoping for a closer look at Welch swimming in a lake will appreciate the transfer’s attention to detail. The only real issue is that the high resolution further isolates opticals that already dated the release. Contrast is layered with no noise or damage and overall the video is quite solid. The linear 2.0 DTS-HD MA sound mix does a competent job of exporting the film's sound and score without being weak.
- Film historian Tim Lucas waxes poetic about this movie, the effects, and Welch on the International disc.
It is important to note that this release comes with two different versions of the movie. There is the 4K restored U.S. Cut and the International Version, which has about 10-minutes more to its running time but none of the sharpness on the other. The bonus material on each disc is also different as the U.S. Cut features a 2002 interview with Welch and Harryhausen. There’s also an interview with Martine Beswick on it. The International disco features the film’s commentary and promotional items.
- In the Valley of Dinosaurs (8 min)
- Harryhausen Interview (12 min)
- Beswick Interview (16 min)
- Animated Montage of Posters and Images (3 min)
- International Trailer
- U.S. Theatrical Trailer