Every now and then, an image from a movie will become bigger than the movie itself. That is definitely the case with today’s movie. In 1966, Ray Harryhausen did some of his best work in creating stop motion animated dinosaurs, but not a single person really thinks of the dinosaurs in that movie. Instead, everyone was talking about the publicity photo of Raquel Welch that would become one of the biggest, and best-selling, pinup posters of all time and instantly make her into a sex symbol. So let’s jump right into today’s iconic movie as I watch, One Million Years B.C.
The plot: In prehistoric times, Akhoba, leader of a tribe of cavemen known as the Rock Tribe, leads a warthog into a pit-trap, then summons the rest of his hunting party there. He signals for his son Sakana to finish off the beast but his other son Tumak starts fighting with Sakana for the right and Akhoba eventually lets Tumak kill the creature. As the carcass is brought out of the pit, Akhoba rips off one of it’s tusks and hands it to Tumak, then has him march behind him as they head back to the cave, which angers Sakana. Back in the cave the tribe lives in, the warthog is cooked and Akhoba grabs the first piece, followed by Sakana and Takuma before the rest of the tribe begin ripping into the meat. Having finished off his piece, Akhoba grabs some meat that Tumak had not eaten and when Tumak tries to take it back, Akhoba throws him to the ground. After he finishes the meat, Akhoba and Tumak start fighting and Akhoba eventually knocks Tumak off the cliff, where he falls into a tree below. Tumak’s mate, Nupondi, tries to go to him but Akhoba forbids it and Sakana drags her back into the cave. The next morning, Tumak regains consciousness and, knowing he has been cast out of the tribe, he makes his way down the mountain and heads out into the wilderness. As he starts climbing a cliff, Tumak comes across a giant lizard which tries to eat him but Tumak manages to free himself from it’s tongue and take refuge in a cave. Exploring the cave, Tumak finds a pool of water which he drinks out of but then notices some skulls hanging from a nearby wall and quickly runs from the chamber, just as an ape man enters and begins drinking from the pool. Back at the Rock Tribe’s cave, Nupondi waits until everyone is asleep before going to retrieve the tusk that Akhoba gave Tumak, but when Akhoba catches her, Sakana wakes up and considers challenging Akhoba but backs off after Akhoba kicks the tusk towards Nupondi. Meanwhile, Tumak makes his way across a desert, encountering a Brontosaurus as well as a giant tarantula along the way. Eventually, he ends up at a beach and collapses on the sand where he is seen by a group of women from the Shell Tribe. One of the women, Loana, goes to examine him but an Archelon appears at the top of sand dune. Loana uses a shell horn to call for help, then tries dragging Tumak to safety as the men from the village and manage to drive off the giant turtle. The Shell Tribe takes Tumak to their village, and Loana decides to tend to his wounds, which does not sit well with Ahot, another member of the tribe. Meanwhile, Akhoba is leading another hunting party and they attempt to capture a goat but as Akhoba climbs up to chase it, he ends up losing his grip and calls for Sakana to help him but steps on Akhoba’s hands, causing him to fall, and then claims leadership over the tribe but as a celebration is held for the new chief, a badly wounded Akhoba stumbles back to the cave. Back at the Shell Tribe, Tumak is confused by some of the Shell Tribe’s actions, as they appear to be more civilized than the Rock Tribe, including making spears instead of just using clubs as weapons. When Loana tries showing Tumak how to spear for fish, the tribe laughs at Tumak’s efforts but the laughter is cut short when an Allosaurus shows up and kills one of the tribe. As everyone runs for cover in the cave, a girl starts screaming as she is trapped in a tree and the Allosaurus is trying to reach her. Tumak grabs a spear from Ahot and leads the Allosaurus away, allowing Loana to run out and rescue her. Ahot and some other men go to help Tumak, but one of the men ends up getting killed. When the spear he is carrying is broken by the Allosaurus, Tumak grabs a pole from a broken structure and uses it as a spear, managing to stab it into the dinosaur’s stomach in order to kill it. As the villagers start to cheer, Tumak grabs the spear from Ahot’s hands but Loana manages to convince him to give it to her so she can give it back to Ahot. The villagers then proceed to have a funeral for the dead men but Tumak, not used to the custom, heads back in the cave and grabs the spear so he can hide it. Ahot catches him and the two begin fighting over the spear. The rest of the Shell Tribe return to the cave and prevent Tumak from killing Ahot and the tribe’s leader has Tumak cast out. Loana decides to go with Tumak and Ahot gives him the spear as the two set out on their own. Deciding to head back to his own tribe, Tumak leads Loana back into the cave where the ape man lives. The two stop to get a drink from the pool but when Tumak notices several ape men approaching, they quickly hide in a tree as the ape men begin fighting over something that Loana had dropped. Using the tree to climb out of the cave, the two encounter a Triceratops, which chases the two until it is set upon by a Ceratosaurus. Tumak and Loana manage to take shelter as the two dinosaurs begins fighting and Tumak manages to clear a hole for Loana to escape but the hole collapses before he can make it out, leaving him trapped. When the Triceratops manages to pierce the Ceratosaurus’s stomach with it’s horns and leave, Tumak is able to escape and calls out for Loana. Meanwhile, Loana ends up being confronted by Sakana and some members of the Rock Tribe and she uses her shell horn to call for help before she is attacked by Sakana. Tumak hears the horn and manages to fight off the other members of the Rock Tribe before fighting with Sakana and he manages to injure him but Loana stops Tumak from killing him. Heading back to the Rock Tribe’s cave, everyone is accepting Tumak as the new leader after he beat Sakana and Nupondi grabs the tusk to give to him but ends up fighting with Loana when she tries to take it from her. Loana gets the upper hand and everyone starts motioning for her to kill Nupondi but Tumak stops her from doing so. Some time later, Tumak and Loana have begun teaching some aspects of the Shell Tribe’s lifestyle to the Rock Tribe but Sakana and some of the other men are not happy with it. Later, Loana has convinced Tumak and some other members of the Rock Tribe to swim in the river but As Loana heads back to the shore, a Pteranodon attacks the group and manages to snatch Loana before flying away. Tumak and another Rock Tribe warrior chase after it but Nupondi watches them go and smiles as she believes her rival will be dead. The Pteranodon takes Loana to it’s nest in order to feed it’s young but before it can drop her, it is attacked by a Rhamphoryncus. The Pteranodon drops Loana into the ocean during the struggle and she manages to make it to shore as the Rhamphoryncus kills the Pteranodon and proceeds to eat it’s young in the nest. Tumak arrives at the beach and sees the Rhamphoryncus feeding and believes it is eating Loana, not seeing her on the other side of the dune he is on and heads back, collecting his injured companion along the way. Loana has managed to stagger back to the Shell Tribe, which was close by, and she manages to convince Ahot and some of the other Shell Tribe members to come with her so she can go back to Tumak. Meanwhile, Sakana and his allies waylay a Rock Tribe hunting party and force them to carry the animal to their camp, where they proceed to cook it. That night, a young boy that was part of the hunting party manages to sneak out of Sakana’s camp and heads out to find Tumak. The next morning, Tumak hears the horns from the Shell Tribe and, seeing Loana with them, he gets their attention and after embracing Loana, he has them help his companion. Just then, the boy that escaped from Sakana reaches them and after explaining what happened, Tumak asks Ahot for help and when he agrees, they all head out towards the Rock Tribe camp. Meanwhile, Sakana wakes up and, noticing the boy is missing, he quickly wakes his men and heads out to attack the Rock Tribe. When he gets there, he calls out for Tumak and when Akhoba comes out of the cave, he is attacked by one of of Sakana’s men. Tumak and the others arrive and Tumak races out to challenge Sakana only to be struck from behind by one of Sakana’s men. As Ahot and the other members of the Shell Tribe go to attack Sakana’s men, Loana tries to tend to Tumak only to be grabbed by Sakana. Tumak recovers and goes after Sakana and the two begin fighting. Tumak gets the upper hand and goes to kill Sakana when the nearby volcano suddenly begins to erupt. As everyone begins to flee from the eruption and sudden upheavals in the Earth, Tumak manages to kill Sakana while Akhoba, Nopondi, and several members of the Rock and Shell tribes end up perishing during the eruption. When the dust settles, Tumak, Loana, Ahot, and the other surviving members of the two tribes look at the new landscape and head out to find a new place to call home.
One Million Years B.C. met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie is a remake of the 1940 movie One Million B.C., and several scenes from the original were redone for the new movie, particularly the Allosaurus attack on the Shell Tribe. The movie is largely ahistorical, portraying humans and dinosaurs living together and when asked about it, Ray Harryhausen, who worked on the special effects for the movie, said that he didn’t make the movie for professors that probably didn’t go see those types of movies anyways. The original dinosaur models from the movie still exist, though the Triceratops and Ceratosaurus were repurposed for a later Harryhausen movie, The Valley Of Gwangi. The movie was a box office hit, earning $8 million off of a budget of ₤422,816 (about $554,000).
This is one of those quasi-B-movies that will probably end up standing the test of time.Personally, I love this movie. The acting was good and since there was minimal dialogue in the movie, and none of it really understandable for the most part, a lot of emphasis was put on gestures and the characters actions. The story was pretty good, showing two tribes in different stages of civilization and how they ended up merging in the end. Harryhausen’s stop motion effects were really good, despite the limited budget, but he also used some live animals (an iguana, a warthog, and a tarantula) and when he was asked about them, he said it was his idea as he felt it would add a bit of realism to the movie. A great movie to watch because you really don’t have to pay attention to what everyone is saying, allowing you to just watch all the action unfold on the screen.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5