Wednesday, November 21, 2012


A remake of the influential 1940 special-effects epic of two warring tribes of cave people (existing simultaneously with dinosaurs) and the Romeo & Juliet romance that develops. This later version, naturally, has the edge over the older one as far as the effects, done by the master of stop-motion, Ray Harryhausen. And this one has the gorgeous Raquel Welch and the only somewhat less gorgeous John Richardson in the lead human roles. We're told at the beginning that we are in "a young world—a world early in the morning of time." We see the stark and unforgiving way of life that the Rock People, led by Akhoba (Robert Brown), lead, fighting over dead pigs for food and leaving the weak and elderly to die. Akhoba fights with the younger Tumak (Richardson), who tumbles off a cliff and is presumed dead. But the next morning, Tumak awakens, is chased by a giant lizard, and heads off to the shore where the Shell People live. Women out fish-hunting with spears find him and he helps them fight off a giant tortoise and a rampaging dinosaur. Tumak hits it off with Loana (Welch) and they head back to the land of the Rock People, but there's been some intrigue there: Akhoba, stuck on a ledge while hunting goats, is sent plummeting to this death by his rival Sakana. However, after Nupondi (Martine Beswick) does a sexy dance in honor of Sakana, Akhoba shows up very much alive and pissed off. There are more fights (including one between Welch and Beswick), dinosaurs, and finally a volcano before the end. This remake is more entertaining than the original due mostly the effects and the eye-candy stars. A poster from the movie of Welch in her fur bikini was ubiquitous in the 60s, and for that reason alone, movie buffs should see this. BTW, the version TCM aired includes Beswick's dance which apparently is not included in the current DVD release. [TCM]

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