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Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Land that Time Forgot ( 1975 )

The year is 1916. Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, a German U-boat torpedoes a supply ship and captures its survivors. Among these survivors is Bowen Tyler ( Doug McClure ) who, with a few other surviving crew members, manages to take command of the vessel. However, he soon becomes allies with the U-boat's commander, Captain von Schoenvorts ( John McEnery ),  when the ship's compass is sabotaged and they find themselves off course and heading towards Antarctica. A narrow underwater passage leads them into an uncharted subcontinent known as Caprona where they work together to search for fuel for the return journey while battling dinosaurs and dangerous tribes of primitive men. 

The Land that Time Forgot is a campy adventure film with rubber dinosaurs and hoards of hairy cavemen, and it probably has the most appeal to those who grew up with the film from childhood, but even a first-time viewer will discover some exciting moments in it....such as this man-eating prehistoric Loch Ness monster. 
Edgar Rice Burroughs, the man whose imagination gave birth to Tarzan, penned "The Land that Time Forgot" in 1924. The novel's premise is a clever blend of adventure, sci-fi, and World War I drama and director Kevin Connor did a fair job of transferring that to the screen. But overall, it lacks the spit and polish ( and the pinch of humor ) that could have made it a really memorable classic. While McClure was a talented actor, he didn't exude the heroic charm of an Errol Flynn or Stewart Granger, which the lead character deserved to have. 
Nevertheless, the box-office receipts were so good for The Land that Time Forgot upon its release that Connor turned out two more Edgar Rice Burroughs-based films for American International Pictures: At the Earth's Core ( 1975 ) also starring Doug McClure, and The People that Time Forgot ( 1977 ) with Patrick Wayne, which was the most entertaining of the three. 

Susan Penhaligon also stars as the requisite love-interest, with Keith Barron, Anthony Ainley, Godfrey James and Roy Holder rounding out the cast.

8 comments:

  1. My fondness for the film most likely stems from my fondness for Doug McClure. He had a mice easy-going charm which was perfectly displayed on The Virginian. I always thought that if "they" had been smart, they would have given him the part of LeBoeuf in True Grit. Nobody ever listens to me!

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    1. Now that's perfect casting, CW! McClure would have made a fantastic LeBoeuf. He was well-suited to westerns. But for adventure films like this, I think Patrick Wayne did a better job playing the hero in the sequel - The People That Time Forgot - which McClure also appeared in.

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  2. I saw this in the theater as a kid and you describe it perfectly. Campy but kind of fun, and I still remember the "u-boat/dinosaur" movie after all these years!

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    1. I would like to see all three of the Edgar Burroughs films in the theater! Especially a drive-in theater. Yes, the movie is campy, but it does have its moments of pleasure.

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  3. For me "At the Earth's Core" is by far the best of the three due to the presence of Peter Cushing and Caroline Munro.

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    1. It's been such a long time since I've seen At the Earth's Core, I really don't remember the film, but anything with Peter Cushing in it gets an A rating for me, so I'll have to revisit that one again soon.

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  4. Although these films were released in the US by AIP, they were mostly made by Hammer's rival Amicus (Kevin Connor's first film as director was the Amicus horror From Beyond the Grave). Connor and his producer John Dark also made Warlords of Atlantis (1978) (also with McClure and Peter Cushing) and Arabian Adventure (1979), with Cushing and Christopher Lee. These type of moderately budgeted family adventures were pretty much killed off by the success of Star Wars. A shame because they are fun in an undemanding way. At the Earth's Core is one of the silliest and campiest of them all, which is another way of saying it's one of the best.

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    1. Jay, I wasn't aware of Amicus, and I certainly wasn't aware of Arabian Adventure....hot dog! I'll have to check that one out! I love the tagline to the film "Star Wars with flying carpets"...Ha!

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