At Home, BluRay/DVD Reviews

WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH (Warner Archives)

By • Mar 14th, 2017 •

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BluRay review by Roy Frumkes

I really can’t be the first to refer to this film as The Primeval WHERE THE BOYS ARE. The film lends itself to such ridicule, particularly during the first act, that aka’s are not only unavoidable, but essential to allow a viewer to continue watching. The choices of actors, the skin-care-ad physical appearance of all involved, the nonsensical presence of blonde cavewomen but no blonde male counterparts. I could go on and on and on, but I guess that’s what you’re supposed to do, and either join in the fun and laugh harder and harder at it, or promptly hand it to the youngest film fan in the vicinity (though this European version has, oddly, exploitative nudity. Didn’t they know its market was going to be 90% children and 10% Jim Danforth aficionados?)

Produced by Hammer Films, the idea was to essentially duplicate their success with ONE MILLION YEARS B.C., itself a remake of Hal Roach’s ONE MILLION B.C. (1940), with Jim Danforth replacing Ray Harryhausen as the Stop Motion Effects creator, and Victoria Vetri replacing Raquel Welch as the cavewoman centerfold of the month (Ms. Vetri was Playboy’s Miss September, 1967 – one of the great years for film – and Playmate of the Year, 1968). Danforth’s sequences are rewarding, in particular an evening clash with a giant aquatic reptile on a beach illuminated by firelight. The camera loved Vetri only half as much as it swooned for Welch, but at least the script allowed her to have more fun than her predecessor.

One vital production member who appears in both films is film music great Mario Nascimbene, who contributes not only the score, but special music/sound effects. The music here isn’t as original as in the earlier film, and one can hear quotes from his towering score for THE VIKINGS whenever a scene calls for an even remotely similar theme. But along with the Special Effects, Nascimbene’s score is one of the film’s highlights.

Matching up the other leads from the earlier film against this one, Imogen Hassall as the primordial jealous girl-friend is no Martine Beswick , and not only is Robin Hawdon no John Richardson, but he reminds one of Tony Anthony (of dubious Spaghetti Western renown).

The scenes in the middle with Ms. Vetri and her bewildered dinosaur companion, as well as her unexpected, re-inserted nude scene, are both lots of fun. In Hammer’s coffee table book featuring their comely female stars over the years, Victoria gets her due, but the book’s bio neglects to mention that she shot her husband at close range in 2010, initially pleaded self defense, but subsequently had difficulty explaining that the bullet hit him in the back as he was leaving. She is still in prison as of this review, and doing well. Ms. Vetri was born the same year I was, which makes her 73.


To order, visit The Warner Archive Collection (www.wbshop.com)

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