One Million B.C. (1940)

“Pity and compassion played little part in the existence of those people– They despised weakness, worshipped strength!”

Synopsis:
During the prehistoric era, an outcast member of the brutal Rock Tribe (Victor Mature) falls in love with a woman from the gentler Shell Tribe (Carole Landis).

Genres:

Review:
This “historical epic” by producer/director Hal Roach — infamously remade in 1966 with Raquel Welch — was the top-grossing film of 1940, and marked the debut of big-chested Victor Mature as a leading man. It received good reviews upon its release (with the New York Times referring to it as a “masterpiece of imaginative fiction”), and still has a devoted set of fans clamoring for its release on DVD. For my part, however, I don’t understand what all the fuss is about, given that this “Land of the Lost” precursor is utterly lacking in historical veracity (dinosaurs and humans co-exist, to name just the most egregious error) and possesses an insipid storyline. At least it’s partially redeemed by some impressive action sequences and special effects.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Some exciting, well-done action sequences — particularly the erupting volcano

Must See?
No. While it holds historical interest as the most profitable film of 1940, this movie is really only a “must-see” for fans of cavemen flicks.

Links:

One Response to “One Million B.C. (1940)”

  1. Completely agree; not a must. This movie is an example of what can make Peary’s book frustrating at times: it’s a film that took me a loooong time to track down and, when I finally saw it, I went “Wha-???” Although I’m sure Peary includes it for some reasons stated in the overview here (particularly its place in cinema history), it sure is a chore to get through – except for the noted redeeming qualities, which still don’t really make it worth viewing. It fails to engage even on a silly level. But if TCM shows it, and you’re one who has trouble sleeping, DO tape it for your collection so you can have it handy when insomnia hits – it should ‘work’ within minutes!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.