22 June 2005 | guidon7
Exciting and Entertaining "Prehistory"
I believe I saw One Million B.C. at the old Rialto Theater in New York City 65 years ago. "B" films always premiered at this small cinema, i.e., the Laurel & Hardy films were shown first here, along with others. Anyhow O.M.B.C. was a surprise hit in 1940. The special effects were crude compared with today, but nevertheless, they were well done for the period and all in all the film holds up very well today. The animal/"dinosaur" sequences are exciting: woolly mammoths, alligators with sailfins attached to resemble prehistoric Dimetrodons, the Rock People fighting hand to hand with horned animals -- all well done. Lon Chaney, Jr. has his best role (except perhaps for Lenny Small in Of Mice and Men) as the bullying, tyrannical leader of the Rock People that gets his comeuppance, Victor Mature, good as his son and the beautiful and athletic Carole Landis, an ideal cave-girl. Incidentally, I'd take Carole any day over Racquel Welch in her remake, One Million Years B.C.
The creatures are of course live, and recognizable as today's animals, despite attempts to disguise them. To me, the fact that they are living creatures adds excitement, whereas we know today's special effects, good as they are, are still only someone's artificial creation. The fight between the Dimetrodon (alligator) and the lizard is rousing and bloody and the finale "leecha" sequence --the giant dinosaur besieging the Shell People, provides excitement and is also well done.
Last but definitely not least, we should not forget the splendid musical background score for the film. While I give the 1940 One Million B.C. a 9 rating our of 10, the music deserves a 10 out of 10.