An eye-poppingly attractive actress on the cusp of superstardom, a fur bikini, some iconic pre-release marketing images – oh, and some stop-motion dinosaurs – One Million Years BC seemed to have a lot going for it back in 1966.

And so it proved for Hammer (yep, this was a Hammer film) with this prehistoric yarn turning out a tidy profit for the studio upon its release.

In many ways the venture still resonates today, and thanks to the undoubted charms of leading lady Raquel Welch, the legacy of the film (and its marketing materials) lingers on.

After all, when I settled down to watch the Blu-Ray earlier this week, my wife – who has not even seen the film – sniped that I only wanted to see it ‘to gawp at Raquel Welch in a fur bikini’.

That was not entirely the case (although it certainly didn’t dissuade me from sitting through it again), but it hammers home (if you excuse the pun) how One Million Years BC has lodged itself firmly in the pop culture psyche.

But does the film deserve the attention? Is it worth a spanking new re-release 50 years on?

Well, yes – a cautious yes, but a yes nonetheless.

Director Don Chaffey’s offering is pretty simple it must be said, kicking off with the developmentally-stunted ‘Rock tribe’ – a boorish bunch of warrior folk led by the aging Akoba (Robert Brown).

A nice bout of sibling rivalry later and one of Akoba’s sons Tumak (John Richardson) finds himself on the receiving end of a push of a mountaintop, left to wander the wilderness and fend for himself as an outcast.

It is on these wanderings that, near death, Tumak stumbles across the ‘Shell Tribe’ – more peaceful and civilised.

Although initially suspicious, Tumak is integrated into the new group and, surprise surprise, fancies getting jiggy with Shell girl Loana (Welch).

Things eventually go south for Tumak, but when he is cast out, Loana decides to go with him, leading to plenty of skirmishes with other tribesmen – and plenty of dinosaurs – as the unlikely pair look to set up a new home.

That’s pretty much about it, and when you throw in the fact that there is virtually no dialogue other than the odd grunt, One Million Years BC was clearly going to live or die by its visuals.

Welch was obviously going to take care of that side of things for the male viewer, while the buff Richardson (who Welch and Martine Beswick positively drool over in the special features interviews) offers some eye-candy for the ladies.

And that doesn’t even begin to take into account a host of other eye-catching performers – of which former Bond girl Beswick provides most of the memorable highlights (a fight sequence with Welch a real treat), or the stunning locations (filmed in the Canary Islands).

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Then we have the dinosaurs themselves – from triceratops to giant turtles to what appear to be miniature T-Rexs, courtesy of the legendary Ray Harryhausen.

Whenever the pace of the film appears to be flagging, another creature pops up for a battle sequence to spice things up and, 50 years on, one can only marvel at Harryhausen’s work.

One Million Years BC is a very basic tale, and certainly does little to stimulate the old grey matter. But as a visual feast (looking great on Blu-Ray), and as a film that is simply downright fun for a lot of the running time, this one hits the spot pretty nicely.

Blu-Ray Review: One Million Years BC
3.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.