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One Million Years B.C. [Blu-ray]
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Brand New 4K Restoration! In this vivid view of prehistoric life, a man from the vicious Rock People, Tumak (John Richardson, Black Sunday) is banished from his home, but soon finds himself living among the kind, gentle Shell People. There, he falls in love with the beautiful Loana (Raquel Welch, 100 Rifles, Fuzz, Fathom), in the role that made her an international sex symbol and a major star. The two decide to strike out on their own, living by their wits in a deadly land of treacherous beasts and unknown dangers, leading to a thrilling climax by the edge of an angry volcano. The stunning primeval creatures were created by the legendary special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen (The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms). One Million Years B.C., a true science-fiction classic, was directed by Don Chaffey (Jason and the Argonauts) and featured a strong supporting cast that included Martine Beswick (Thunderball), Robert Brown (The Living Daylights), Percy Herbert (Too Late the Hero) and Yvonne Horner (Prehistoric Women). The 100-minute international cut and the 91-minute U.S. cut are both included on this Blu-ray.
Special Features: 4K Restoration of the "91-minute U.S. Cut" | Audio Commentary by Film Historian Tim Lucas | In the Valley of the Dinosaurs: Interview with Star Raquel Welch | An Interview with SFX Legend Ray Harryhausen | Interview with Actress Martine Beswick | Animated Montage of Posters and Images | Trailers
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Top Customer Reviews
One Million Years B.C. is one of the odder Harryhausen films, there is little dialogue except in the narrative. The creatures in the film are mostly actual dinosaurs that lived at one time and the film just has a different feel with its melodramatic overtones.
The story of Tumak the cave man and his adventures, discovering new cultures and life threatening obstacles is both fun and humorous at times. It's easy to laugh at cavemen grunting and using only the simplest forms of communication. We know this, cave men like meat, they like women, are very competitive and don't give a Rat's A$$ about the weak or elderly.
The real reason to enjoy this film is to marvel over Ray Harryhausen's wonderful special effects. I've been a fan of Ray's since I was a small child in the early 60's watching his early black and white films on TV. I was lucky enough to see many of his early color films on the big screen at Saturday Matinees in my local theater. Yes, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (double billed with Jack the Giant Killer), Jason and the Argonauts and One Million Years B.C. were among the many to shape my youth and love for stop motion effects. It wouldn't be until The Golden Voyage of Sinbad that I would see a Ray Harryhausen film first run in a theater and actually go to see it because it was a Ray Harryhausen film.
This new 2 disc blu ray release is near perfect, first and for most we get both the U.S. and original U.K. versions of the film looking their best ever. Each version of the film gets it's own disc with a few nice bonus features. The features include commentary on the U.K. version, U.K trailer (rough looking but it's here) and a poster and stills gallery On the U.S. version disc we get a 12 interview with RH himself, an 8 minute one with Raquel Welch and a 16 minute one with Martine Beswick (one of the cave women, who shares some candid stories) and the U.S. trailer (also rough looking, but not as bad as the U.K. version) It would have been nice to include a featurette on the film, but if you own any of Harryhausen's documentaries you already have all that has been said about this extraordinary artist.
The new 4K transfer for both films looks beautiful and identical with the exception of the added scenes. The U.K. cut, (which I do not believe I had never seen before) is the superior version, fleshing out some scenes that seemed insignificant in the U.S. cut. The dinosaur scenes have some extra time and both intro and ending of the film are different, not so much as to change the story, but the way they are presented.
I'm pleased they included both versions because they do have a little different feel to them. I grew up watching the U.S. version so it will save some shelf space to be able to discard my old DVD copy.
If you're a fan of this film or Ray's work, this is a no brainer, I doubt we will see a better release of this film. the transfer looks virtually flawless with only a few shots of the landscape where the film appears soft. This is one of the best treatments of one of Mr. Harryhausen's films on blu ray and a must buy for fans.
This is the 1966 remake of One Million Years B.C. which made Raquel Welch a star. She had starred previously in 'Fantastic Voyage' but this is the movie that made her famous. The cover image of her is the animal skin bikini has become an iconic image, probably the most famous image from a dinosaur movie. The movie itself is a fairly entertaining 1960's sci-fi fantasy film in which you must suspend disbelief if you are going to enjoy it. Most significantly it features humans in the time of dinosaurs when if fact, dinosaurs had died out approximately 65 million years prior to the time period depicted.
BLU-RAY (4k): I didn't have high expectations of the print quality but it was decent. I watched the U.S. version. I am no expert in film quality. The print was clean as I didn't seen any spots or imperfections. The clarity was at times real good and at other times a bit blurry. Essentially it looked like a decent transfer with blu-ray quality with the imperfections cleaned up. I don't really know if it is possible to make a better print. It might just be that that is the way it was filmed and some of the blurry parts are there from when the movie was filmed.
EXTRA'S: Significantly you get a 4k restoration of the U.S. cut of the film. You also get the international cut. The interational version is 9 minutes longer at 100 minutes.
There is no commentary and there are no subtitles. Of course no English is spoken in the movie. However subtitles might have made it easier to follow the made up language.
There are three interviews:
Raquel Welch - I anticipated this the most but it was less than 15 minutes. It did have some interesting tidbits.
Martine Beswick - The longest interview was somewhat interesting. She seemed to gush over John Richardson and how handsome he was.
Ray Harryhausen - I've seen so many interviews with him so that to me this was the least interesting.
Lastly, you get a trailer.
PLOT/SUMMARY: The narrator tells us that this is the story of two brothers, Tumak (John Richardson) and Sakana. That is not entirely true, it is a bit more than that.
Tumak and Sakana are depicted as rivals for their father's (Akhoba) approval. Early on, Tumak and his father get into a fight over food. Essentially it is for the leadership of tribe. I'm not quite sure who's idea this fight was. Akhoba wins the fight and leaves his son for dead. Tumak survives and takes off. He walks for awhile and passes out near a beach. Apparently even though they are near the water, nobody from their tribe has ever traveled that far. This is hard to believe when you look at the landscape they live in. It is almost completely barren and in order to find food they would probably have to travel quite a bit to find it. At this beach, lo and behold, is a bunch of blonde haired beauties led by Loana (Raquel Welch). All the men are blonde too. They take Tumak back to their cave, which is much prettier than the previous one. They are also much more advanced and use many tools and the leader does not appear to be the strongest person. Loana nurses Tumak back to health and promptly falls in love. Unfortunately Loana has another man from her own tribe who is in love with her and he gets into a fight with Tumak. Tumak wins but is stopped short of killing his rival by the tribe. Tumak is sent packing. He leaves but Loana chooses to go with him. Tumak and Loana go back to Tumak's original cave where he challenges his brother for leadership. His brother Sakana has taken leadership after treachery against his father. From here things get a bit wacky. Raquel Welch gets into a famous cat fight with Martine Beswick over Tumak. Loana is taken by a flying dinosaur. Tumak goes after her. Sakana tries to take back leadership. Tumak returns with the blonde warriors in tow and then....what a surprise....a volcano erupts and makes a mess of everything....
PRODUCTION: One Million Years B.C. was created by the famous English movie studio, Hammer Films. It had special effects by the master of stop motion, Ray Harryhausen. The outdoor scenes were shot in the Canary Islands.
According to Harryhausen in the interview included in the extra's, the budget was 400,000 to 500,000 pounds, which was a decent amount at the time. Stop motion is used for most of the dinosaurs with the exception of the first one you see and the tarantula. In that sequence they use the lizards with glued on fins method (I'm not sure if there were any fins glued on)! For the most part the stop motion animation is good. However when people are used in the animation it doesn't look all that good even for the times. I suppose it was very difficult to make realistic looking humans using stop motion effects. If Harryhausen couldn't make it look good, I don't suppose anybody could.
The acting was average at best. John Richardson as Tumak was just OK as was Raquel Welch as Loana. Martine Beswick was the other female star. At the time she was considered very beautiful and she was a Bond girl. While attractive, she isn't my cup of tea. I much prefer Raquel Welch. I'm not sure any movie from the time period portrayed cave men in a believable way.
CONCLUSIONS: One Million Years B.C. is a fairly entertaining movie. Obviously there were no people in the time of the dinosaurs but as Ray Harryhausen says, you have to look past that in order to have an entertaining movie. As simple as it is, it gets slightly confusing at the end, especially since the characters speak in a made up language. You don't always know what the characters are trying to do. But then again, that's probably the way it was.
There are some other plot holes too. It's highly unlikely that two tribes so close to each other would have never come across each other. Not to mention that one is all blonde and the other all brunette. The land seemed mostly barren and without any animals to hunt.
The Dinosaurs, which are supposed to be the star of the show, are mostly in the movie for some action sequences but don't move the plot much at all. They are mostly stop motion but a few are not. Besides the enlarged lizard you also have a tarantula that looks much the same as it does in any movie with tarantula's when a live one is used and enlarged. The sequence are fairly well done, especially the attack by the Allosaurus and the fight between the Triceratops and the Ceratosaurus.
This is probably as good as you will ever see this movie. It made Raquel Welch a star and while at the time she wasn't thrilled with making it, she admits in her interview in the extra's, it is the movie that made her famous.
I give it 4 stars for the picture quality, 3 stars for the plot, 4 stars for the extra's.
Overall I give this release 4 stars out of 5.
Recommended for fans of Raquel Welch, dinosaur movies and fans of 60's sci-fi/fantasy.
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