One Million Years B.C.

UK, 1966
Director: Don Chaffey
Starring: Raquel Welch, John Richardson, Martine Beswick, Percy Herbert

While the search for a good Raquel Welch movie continues, I had a pretty good idea this was not likely to be one of them. Nevertheless, this is the movie that launched her as an international sex symbol, and the source of the infamous loin-skin bikini.

The title and poster art immediately make it apparent that intellectual rigour is not one of the film's strong points. After all, in one million BC there existed neither cavemen, nor dinosaurs. The dinosaurs having become extinct approximately 64 million years earlier, and cavemen not evolving from souped-up tree monkeys for at least another 800,000 years.

The salient point being that cavemen and dinosaurs never actually existed at the same time ... in fact about 65 million years apart, which is no small mistake when you think about it. So the tagline of the poster "This is the way it was", is basically marketing bullshit of the highest order.


Still, if you can buy into a cave-woman looking like Raquel Welch, then your disbelief has already been well and truly suspended!

So about the movie ... the simplest summary would be to say it has a couple of things going for it, and they both belong to Raquel Welch. While that may be accurate, it's not the whole story. Coming out of the Hammer Studios in England, it's worthwhile remembering that this is a 45 year old movie. And for it's time, the creature effects by Ray Harryhausen must've been quite fantastic.

Even now, they look quite impressive at times - the stop-motion models look more realistic than what most CGI produces - although the motion of the beasts themselves is not so convincing. All the best-loved dinosaurs make an appearance: Brontosaurus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex, even a clutch of Pterodactyls.

Filmed in the Canary Islands for that authentic dawn of the age of man vibe, the location lends the exterior scenes a measure of credibility. Unfortunately to modern eyes, most of the rest of the movie feels dated and fake. Had more attention been paid to realism, it may even have been possible to enjoy the movie for the thrill of seeing what caveman life would've been like. Instead the realism quotient is more along the lines of a Godzilla movie, and what charm remains, to modern sensibilities at least, is left entirely to Ms Welch.

On that point, you will not be disappointed. She definitely rocks the loin-skin and probably helped make the movie endurable for fathers taking their kids to the flicks all those years ago. Which must've been what happened, because the film was a commercial success.

Rating 4/10. Of interest to loin skin connoisseurs only.

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