Tuesday 25 October 2016

"One Million Years BC" - UK BD/DVD review

Hammer films may be best known for their horror films, but every so often they would come up with something uniquely different from their usual gothic chillers. One such example is the pre-historic classic "One Million Years BC", which has just been released in the UK in a Blu-ray and DVD combo pack from StudioCanal.

Set in a fictional pre-historic era, where cavemen and dinosaurs exist together, the film focuses on a young caveman named Tumak (John Richardson), who is expelled from his tribe following a fight with his father, Akoba (Robert Brown), the tribe leader.

Venturing out into the wastelands, he has to battle stop-motion dinosaurs, giant Iguanas and other historical anachronisms and fictional creatures, before stumbling upon another tribe, where he falls in love with the extremely attractive Loana (played by Raquel Welch, in a very alluring fur bikini).

But attempting to rejoin his old tribe with his new love doesn’t go too well, resulting in a spectacular clash of tribes, and a very interesting cat-fight between Raquel Welch and Hammer regular Martine Beswick. And when a nearby Volcano erupts, tribal differences may be the least of their worries…

Filmed in Lanzarote, in the middle of winter (which proved a testing time for the actors, clad in their loose fitting fur costumes) this loose remake of the old 1940s film One Million BC was one Hammer’s most expensive films, but also proved to be their most profitable. Its success undoubtedly due, in no small part, to Raquel Welch’s iconic fur bikini, which featured on all the promotional materials, and because of the elaborate stop motion effects by legendary special effects maestro Ray Harry Hausen.

"One Million Years BC" is released in a double pack containing both a Blu-Ray and DVD version of the film, which are taken from a brand new 4k scan of the original film elements and contains the following extras...

Interview with Raquel Welch (12 mins) – Brand new interview in which she talks about her memories of her time on set (and for a 76 year old looks bloody amazing)

Interview with Martine Beswick (15mins) – Brand new interview with the hammer actress, discussing her memories of the film.

Ray Harryhausen stills and artwork gallery – A photo gallery of original sketches and storyboards created by Ray Harryhausen for the film, along with photos of the models created for the film as they look today.

A nice selection of extras, but I’m sad that they didn’t include the original theatrical trailer on here, which was present on the previous DVD release. Also, the old DVD had an archive interview with Ray Harryhausen, which would have been a nice addition to include, but sadly Studiocanal decided against it.

"One Million Years BC" may not be the most historically accurate film about our pre-historic past, not least because dinosaurs and cavemen were separated by a gap of about 65million years (not to mention there were no dinosaurs resembling giant iguanas either). Plus it was kind of weird seeing James Bond actor Robert Brown, who played M during the Roger Moore-Timothy Dalton era, as a caveman in this.

But the film is still tremendous fun, even if there are no actual lines of dialogue, just people grunting and gesticulating, and with this new 4k restoration, has never looked better, so is highly recommended viewing for all lovers of classic Hammer films.

Pre-order the UK BD/DVD combo pack from Amazon.co.uk


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