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  • 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.
  • My brother and I first saw ONE MILLION B.C. in the 1960's. It was always shown in our area as part of a one (1) week Halloween celebration on the local channel. We liked it then and I still think highly of it now. This is a fun and for its subject matter gentle film and find it more enjoyable then the technically superior Ray Harryhausen remake. It is very easy on the eyes in B&W compared to the rather harsh color of ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. It also boasts a very enjoyable and sentimental musical score.

    The acting is credibly done to the level of the subject matter. Mr. Chaney, Mature and Ms. Landis are not performing RICHARD III. We believe in their characterizations because they are sincere and not over the top. The Special Visual Effects of course could have used Willis O'Brien (yes, we knew they were lizards even back then in the 60s) but there are several convincing scenes. The drift down the river with various creatures in the background, the march through the jungle pursued by what appears to be a Armadillo, duel of the dinosaurs in the desert and finally the Volcano and the saving of the Shell People. All are well mounted and succeeded in their intent which we don't believe was to scare the audience but to involve them in the story line. You wanted these characters to succeed against nature and each other.

    So take a chance on this one (1). In fact watch both versions and I bet you will come back with a better appreciation of what the Hal Roach Studio presented. Hopefully they will reissue (restored) on DVD. It needs it badly since like KING KONG it suffered much in re-releases and sale to television and bits and pieces that have been grafted into so many 1950's horror/sci-fi films. Like THINGS TO COME it would be nice to see it in its original premier release.
  • This film must have been quite a show for moviegoers in 1940. Reportedly it did not do very well at the box office. But, it is remembered fondly by youngsters who saw this movie on television back in the 50s and 60s. Today we have to forgive the very silly story and over the top acting. Production-wise though, the photography, art direction and musical score are all quite good. Special effects are fairly impressive. Indeed, the dinosaur and volcano eruption sequences show up later in many low-budget films of the 40s and 50s so don't be surprised if they look familiar. Give it a shot - it's worth a look ! Footnote: For years, this circulated around under different titles and variable quality prints. Hal Roach Studios went back to the original 35MM elements and produced a very nice video transfer for television broadcast.
  • All right enough already, so they got the order of prehistoric life wrong in One Million BC. But it sure looked good to have Victor Mature tangling with that T-Rex and saving the shell people. And that's what the movie-going public paid to see, Victor Mature and Carole Landis scantily clad in front of the camera.

    Small studio producer Hal Roach busted the budget for this one, released by United Artists. Conrad Nagel as an archaeologist interprets the cave drawings for a group of weary young people on a hike who take shelter where he's doing some research. The two protagonists Louanna of the shell people and Tumac of the rock people look a whole lot like Carole and Vic.

    Vic's from the savage rock clan who basically operate on a survival of the fittest basis. After a quarrel with the head of the clan, Lon Chaney, Jr. he's exiled and he's found in the primeval forest by Carole Landis who definitely likes what she sees.

    Her shell people are a bit far up the evolutionary scale and she and the rest strive mightily to break Vic of his individualistic and isolationist ways.

    And that's the key to One Million BC. Think of the time it came out and what the world was facing. There's a lot of aggressive wildlife in the forest primeval and the savage wildlife in 1940 had two legs instead of four. Time for the clan and rock people of the day to put aside their differences and face the common foe of nature.

    This was supposed to be D.W. Griffith's comeback film and it's open to speculation as to how much he did shoot on this. I think the protagonists have an innocence about them, even the savage Mature before he gets housebroken so to speak the way Griffith protagonists do.

    For the next 30 years the footage of One Million BC was used over and over again in every kind of monster film going. Those lizards got to be old friends after a while. It also launched the careers of both Victor Mature and Carole Landis. Though both of them did have considerably more dialog in later films.

    After over 60 years One Million BC is still a great film to watch and be enthralled by the special effects as they were originally done. One Million BC got two Oscar nominations for Special Effects and Best Music Score.

    Will the rock and shell people find they have a common foe? Watch and find out.
  • Considering how much worse this movie could have been, I'm a bit surprised, what with old Hollywood taking on prehistoric times with the well-scrubbed likes of hunky Victor Mature and nubile Carol Landis. Frankly, both look like they just stepped off the pages of Photoplay, even if their fashion attire is a bit dated, to say the least. But whatever the expected Hollywood nonsense, the underlying story is a good one, with lessons even for today.

    Apparently, the Rock people are early ancestors of our modern rugged individualists, even if their table manners leave a lot to be desired. No sir, no one here depends on anyone else. Catch dinnertime among these no-nonsense Rock people where the pecking order is strictly enforced—it's the roughest guy first, then the hunting dogs, then the rest of the guys, and finally the women, all grabbing what they can. Maybe that also accounts for why so few kids are seen among them. Anyway, everyone jealously guards his own hunk of meat since somebody else will grab it if they can. And better not get injured because if you do, you'll have to take care of yourself. No medical insurance here. But one thing about this tribe, they're tough as nails.

    Then there're the Shell people, probably forerunners of modern day European socialists. They all eat out of a communal vegetable pot, even passing plates of food from one to another. Just as importantly, each eats in peace knowing his neighbor can get more from the pot instead of grabbing someone else's. Then too, there's leisure activities, such as small group singing that's more like synchronized grunting, along with etching on rock walls for later archaeologists to find. So, since they all seem to get along with one another, it's not surprising a ton of kids are running around. The trouble is the tribe's terrorized into group huddles by one of those big lizards Hollywood was so fond of. What the Shell folks need is a dose of the Rock people boldness. And what the Rock folks need is a dose of Shell people civilization.

    Good thing for both tribes that Hollywood's got a Neolithic version of Romeo and Juliet that eventually brings the two groups together. But then what can you expect when hunky Tumac (Mature) from the Rock people meets up with the winsome Loana (Landis) from the Shell folks. Just goes to show, I guess, that no matter what, biology trumps all else, especially when all you're wearing is a bear skin. Still, I would like to know just how Tumac gets such a smooth shave—and I do mean smooth shave-- when the other Rock guys don't. But then how else could we recognize TCF's newest heart throb if he didn't. At the same time, I'm wishing I was born a lot, lot, sooner so maybe I could meet up with a prehistoric babe like Loana. I mean Las Vegas showgirls in their skimpy costumes have nothing on our great-great-great… (you get the idea) grandmothers.

    But then, if I were born a lot, lot sooner, I might meet up with one of those scary big lizards that seem always fighting with one another or I might get blasted by a volcano or swallowed up by an earthquake. Thanks to the screenplay, it's just one prehistoric hazard after another, and I'm thinking the special effects crew really deserved their Oscar nominations-- especially since there's no digitalized computer to fill in the blanks. All in all, I guess it's just as well that I'm knocking around in the 21st century where my biggest worry is commuter traffic at rush hour.

    Anyhow, skeptics have poked a lot of fun at this epic over the years, and truth be told, it's not too difficult. But despite the occasional silliness, the importance of learning from others is still more than just a prehistoric challenge.
  • BaronBl00d17 January 2005
    A group of mountain travelers find refuge in a cave where professor Conrad Nagel is examining prehistoric wall drawings. Nagel soon goes into a lengthy examination of the meaning of these pictures for his newly arrived guests which turns into the flashback which is the film. The pictures are the story of two prehistoric peoples: the tribal, brute rock people and the pleasant, peaceful shell people. Naturally, the story is a romance between stars Victor Mature(just his second feature film) and the lovely blonde Carole Landis. This film, produced by Hal Roach, has some things going for it. I liked the division between the two tribes and how each sustained life in a prehistoric world. The acting was surprisingly good with Mature and Landis doing credible jobs despite spouting occasional gibberish meant to be taken as caveman lingo. Landis in fact is quite affable and charming(being in a mini-cave dress always helps too). Lon Chaney Jr. gets his start in this type of film so to speak as the head of the rock people and as Mature's father. Chaney is good and is able to emote lots of emotion while using little dialog. The special effects are unfortunately not too special as we are basically given Irwin Allen/Bert I Gordon dinosaurs. You know the type. Iguanas and other common lizards, as well as an alligator, dressed up in fins and the like. For the technology used, these effects are okay and predate my examples of movies using them. There are also some very non-scientific bits of information used throughout the film...like man has already got domesticated dogs for just one example. Overall, this movie is a pleasant fantasy of what life might have been back then. It should not be taken too seriously as it is in truth a fairly simple tale with a simple message of how man might change through the influence of another(Landis on Mature and his people).
  • Ron Oliver13 October 2004
    Prehistoric man strives to elevate himself above the bestial in ONE MILLION B.C.

    Hal Roach Studios produced this vivid and exciting film which ambitiously takes on nothing less than presenting the Birth of Civilization and the Beginning of Civility. That it does so without seeming pedantic or foolish is due in large measure to fine performances and special effects which still look good many decades later. The viewer knows the exploding volcano is a fraud and the dinosaurs are actually magnified lizards, but somehow it does not matter. The entertainment value is real and the sentiments presented by the actors still ring true.

    Victor Mature & Carole Landis do quite well in roles which demanded speaking little more than nonsense words and grunts and using a significant amount of pantomime. They have no difficulty in conveying their thoughts and emotions to the audience. Their characters' efforts just to survive in an exceedingly harsh environment elicit the viewer's interest and respect.

    Lon Chaney Jr, in a role his father would have relished, plays the brutal chief of the Rock People. Silent film actor Nigel De Brulier portrays the Shell People's gentle patriarch. Another star from silent days, Conrad Nagel, appears in the movie's opening sequence as the slightly obsessed scientist who interprets the cave paintings which tell the film's tale.
  • Just watched this classic Hal Roach production on the TCM site. It's the story of a man and woman and how they get their previously enemy tribes together. Actually, what I just said made the movie sound simplistic which, despite the prehistoric setting, it's not. In fact, I was surprisingly enthralled by the story, the acting of Victor Mature and Carole Landis (though Ms. Landis is also good eye candy), the fights of the "dinosaurs" (actually lizards, alligators, and armadillos), and the exciting special effects concerning the volcano eruption. Roy Seawright deserves mega-kudos for that last sequence and possibly for Mature's fight with what looked like a model dinosaur worthy of Willis O'Brien. Also loved the music score that was played throughout. That score might have broken whatever monotony the slower scenes may have had. So with all that said, I'm recommending One Million B.C. for anyone interested in these old-fashioned effects movies.
  • This movie is a classic ,and is in the same class as king kong. The animation is good for the time period,and victor mature,and the rest of the cast were great.Since the speech was very limited,the characters in the movie did a fine job getting across to the audience what they were thinking.their likes,dislikes.their fears,etc.I was saddened to hear victor mature passed on early this month.
  • I really enjoyed this movie as a kid, and it's still fun today. The dinosaur special effects were advanced for its day, and frequently "borrowed" by later films. The music score was nominated for an Oscar, and quite impressive. And Carol Landis was a babe!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    After teaming Laurel and Hardy, and making Our Gang shorts, Hal Roach made this wild movie about cavemen. In it, Victor Mature plays a young caveman ousted from his tribe of brutal, club weilding cave-thugs. He winds up rescued by a peaceful, nicer tribe (We'll call these The Tribe of Pillow-Fighters!) He falls in love with Looana (a youthful, pretty Carole Landis coming across like a pre-historic Brittany Spears) The Thug tribe and the Pillow-Fighters are constantly at war with each other, until a nearby volcano explodes. Vic rescues many from both tribes, and in the finale scene, the two tribes live together, singing around a campfire!

    What helps make this film a little silly is that Ms. Landis always has pretty, combed, fluffy hair, the dinosaurs are clearly guys in goofy T-Rex suits, and the rest of the dino cast is pet store lizards with fins and what-not glued to them (Where was PETA during this?) Regardless, you can't bad mouth a movie like this. This is pure silly fun. Bring some friends over, knaw on a raw Sabre-Tooth Tiger bone, and enjoy
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was very surprised to see from the IMDb trivia that this was the highest grossing film released in 1940. I just wouldn't have imagined that a caveman film with dinosaurs consisting of lizards on tiny sets would have brought in that much money. I think it's because such a film would be passé today, but back in 1940 it viewed quite differently.

    The film begins with some travelers coming into a cave to get out of the storm. Inside was an archaeologist (Conrad Nagel) and he tells them a story about what life would have been like during early human history. Interestingly, the travelers played out the roles as cave people in the tale. You'll probably notice rather quickly that one of the cavemen (Tumak) is Victor Mature--in only his second film role. Carole Landis, a lovely contract actress with Hal Roach Studios and Lon Chaney, Jr. also star in this tale.

    Having actually seen the 1966 remake of this film in the theater (when it was re-released in 1970), I noticed very quickly that this 1940 version actually had better sets and special effects. While this version was impressive in its day, the 1966 version wasn't so cutting edge. I was particularly impressed by the matte paintings and sets in this 1940 version--it looked very professional, even though the Roach studio was NOT a fancy or rich operation. They generally seemed to make the most of what they had--including putting hairy suits on modern mammals to make them look wild and woolly.

    Mature is a bit of a wimp in the film--at least at the beginning. Despite his age and size, he's beaten up in a fight with an old man and is tossed from the cave--and has to fend for himself. He eventually floats down stream to another social group where he meets an exceptionally well-coiffed group of people (for cave dudes, most of them looked awfully nice--with nicely trimmed beards and clean skin). Landis, in particular, is quite a dish. Actually, now that I think about it, Mature looked amazingly good also. Despite his slightly unruly long hair, he was clean-shaven--something you wouldn't expect from such a guy.

    At first, Mature has some difficulty adjusting to life in the new tribe. However, soon he becomes an important member--especially after he saves a young girl's life by killing what appears to be a mini T-Rex. But, because he is a pile of raging hormones, he eventually is forced to leave this group--and Landis goes with him because he's such a hunk. Will the two ever be able to make it on their own? What will become of them? Tune in and see...or not.

    Generally, it's the sort of movie I could care less about unless it were made really, really poorly (then it's good for a laugh). While some of the animal fighting scenes between alligators and monitor lizards are cheesy, the rest of the film is not. Interestingly, however, the worst parts of the film (these reptile fights) were often re-used in later films--crappy ones such as ROBOT MONSTER and TEENAGE CAVE MAN. In addition to these scenes being poor, they were also amazingly cruel, as the reptiles actually were allowed to tear each other apart and fires were set in which they appeared to be killed or at least badly injured! I can see why censor officials in the UK insisted that these scenes be cut.

    Overall, if you insist on seeing a caveman movie, this or THE FLINTSTONES (1994) are your best bet. Still, even a good caveman film is something I can't get that excited about--after all, it's all a lot of grunting and modern animals pretending to be ancient. And, I doubt if my not being that impressed by this film is unusual for audiences in 2010. It's the sort of film that once packed 'em in, but now just seems a tad silly.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I've never been a huge fan of caveman movies but I recognize that they have their place. For me the two best were ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. because, well, it had Raquel Welch in a skimpy outfit and I had just hit puberty. The other as CAVEMAN with Ringo Starr, a hilarious movie that should be sought out. That being said I wasn't sure what to expect with this movie.

    The film opens with a group of lederhosen travelers seeking shelter in a cave while hiking only to find an archaeologist inside checking out some markings on the wall. To pass the time he begins to interpret them for the group. Naturally those in his story look like members of this group.

    The story is fairly simple yet fills the movie's time well. We're introduced to a tribe of rock dwelling cavemen who have little concern for one another. It's a rule by strength caste system. Our hero is Tumak (Victor Mature), the son of the tribe's leader. This tribe wanders in search of food with tree limbs as clubs. When Tumak kills an animal and they go to eat, he offends his father and is banished from the tribe.

    Tumak wanders and fall unconscious into a river which takes him downstream. There he is discovered by Loana (Carole Landis), a member of the shell tribe. She calls for help and she and her tribe take him back to their cave. Once awake Tumak finds this tribe completely different from his own. They share food, help one another and have fashioned spears from the branches and stones they've found.

    Eventually Tumak falls prey to his old way of doing things and steals a spear from a tribe member. This causes Loana's father, the head of the tribe, to cast him out. Tumak takes Loana with him and they are on their own. They come across two dinosaurs fighting one another and when Tumak sends Loana for cover, she is found by his old tribe. Tumak comes to her rescue and begins to teach his old tribe the lessons he has learned from Loana's. An eventual unification of the two tribes is in the works and if you didn't see it coming right from the start you've not seen many movies.

    So is the movie any good? Is it entertaining? The easy answer is yes to both questions. One has to take into consideration that the movie was made back in 1940 long before CGI created creatures took over movie screens. A combination of animals and people in costumes as well as rear projection footage of larger lizards made to appear enormous made this film a spectacle for audiences of the day. So much so that the film was nominated for an Oscar for special effects.

    The dialogue once we get into the story could be posted on two pages if that. It is the visual story that is going on here not the words being spoken. This provides a chance for actors to perform with their body language and motions rather than their oratory skills. And it works quite well.

    The print being offered here is the best available and probably not seen this way since the film was originally released. Digitally restored by VCI you won't find a better presentation. This version also has a commentary track by film expert Toby Roan as one of the few extras. There is also a stills gallery with tons of ad artwork and stills from the film.

    This might not be the first item you pick up off a shelf to purchase when you go shopping but for film fans it will be something to treasure. It's a piece of film history, more so than the story it tells.
  • I recently stumbled across One Million Years B.C. on AMC. When the film began, I thought, "Uh, oh". The opening sequence, aside from incredible looking mountain shot, was not impressive (mainly because of the writing). But I kept watching because of LC Jr. and I'm glad I did. My mindset quickly changed. The stunts and (most of) the fx in this film still hold up today and I can only imagine how thrilling it must've been in 1940! If you can get past some cheesy dinosaurs you'll enjoy this film. And one can understand why the dinosaurs were as is. There's a huge lack of stop motion. Roach was wise to do this --- creating many great moments with live-action and hardcore stuntwork. The "blow up" of the lizards looks cool - some others are hilarious. And I'm sure PETA would have gone crazy. People were probably dropping jaws, though, as we did with Jurrasic Park. It's apparent a lot of hard work and heart went into creating this film. I've gained a new respect for Hal Roach. Lots of fun and required for the "rainy Sunday afternoon" collection.
  • I've seen One Million BC a couple of times and enjoyed it, although its remake, One Million Years BC with Raquel Welch and Ray Harryhausen special effects is much better. This was released on video in Germany, of which I have a copy which a mate ordered for me from Amazon.

    A group of explorers go into a cave and look at some cave paintings done by Stone Age Man. The movie then goes back in time and we learn how these people lived. One of these, Tumak meets a girl from a rival tribe and falls in love with her. After getting up to different adventures including battles with dinosaurs and other prehistoric life (more of which later), a volcano erupts and there is also an earthquake towards the end.

    Now to those creatures, starting with those "dinosaurs". These are enlarged lizards and alligators with sails stuck on their backs to resemble Dimetrodons. We also see a T-Rex which is just a man in a monster suit and seems to be dancing. At the beginning, the cavemen kill a rubber Tricertops for food. Other creatures we see are Woolly Mammoths which I think are just elephants covered with fur, a giant armadillo, aardvark and snakes. Some of these creatures look OK and some look rather shoddy.

    Stock footage from this movie was to appear in many others in years to come, including Teenage Caveman, Tarzan's Desert Mystery and King Dinosaur.

    The cast includes Victure Mature in his first movie, Carole Landis, horror star Lon Chaney Jr (The Wolf Man) and John Hubbard.

    Though not fantastic, One Million BC is certainly worth a look and is a worthy addition to any collection, especially for fans of dinosaur movies like myself.

    Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
  • Imagine a world one million years ago. With people who inhabit a dark and dangerous unfriendly world, where they tend to dwell in the shadows of prehistoric reptiles and other ancient monsters. Where men live in caves and use the most primitive of weapons for competition, defense, and hunting the great beasts of their age. And you have a picture of what you will see in this 1940 adventure film, "One Million B.C." This film, while it may be ahistorical on many accounts, is a rather unique, entertaining little gem reminiscent from the dawn of the 1940s. If this were a documentary, the professors would be offended. Yes, cave men and dinosaurs did not inhabit the same world. And there are no records of iguanas and sail-backed crocodilians in excess of a hundred feet in length. But in my opinion, that is what makes movies like "One Million B.C." special. They are examples of what filmmakers thought about in the past. And the kind of movies that the naive audience found spectacular decades ago.

    "One Million B.C." is pretty much your kind of ancient love story and it may even be trying to symbolize that the people from the ancient world were not all barbarians and like animals and that they had their own way of life with emotions and problems very much like ours today. This is explained after the first five minutes or so, because the film is basically a flashback. Starting in the present day and then remembering what happened long ago. And while it may not be an incredibly powerful romantic film, it is a great look at old film-making.

    The special effects used on the monsters that no longer exist are acceptable for the time the film was made. Obviously, the constraints of the budget did not allow for the expensive stop-motion animation technique from the 1933 "King Kong" or the even earlier 1925 "The Lost World". Dinosaurs here are portrayed in three different ways: men in rubber suits, puppets and props, and most commonly used graphically enlarged lizards and other reptiles. Its a look into the time when visual effects were still under development. And maybe it was the filmmaker's way of trying to convince the audience that what they were seeing was real. And by adding sound effects as the reptiles opened their mouths, could have frightened the audience back then. Some special effects weren't as keen, though, most primarily the tyrannosaurus and the triceratops. The triceratops was a small prop that was nearly immobile. And the tyrannosaurus was a man in a suit that provided very choppy, revealing motions. Nonetheless, the sequences with these two creatures was quite fun. Campy, but fun. And as for the graphically enlarged lizards, they worked out fine on the most part. But they had to be formatted with the actors to make them appear gigantic. There are many cases in the film where you can see the creatures were altered to make them look ancient. For example, there is a crocodilian in the film with a sail upon its back. Obviously, a small caiman or alligator with a rubber fin placed onto its armored hide. It just shows how the special effects artists at the time were being forced into using their ingenuity and imagination.

    "One Million B.C." is a nice little gem and in my opinion, it's an underrated film. Maybe it started out of a bit of a weak level and kind of rushed through to the main part of the story, but the rest of the film was entertainment at a naturally fine level. Also featuring a very well, Academy Award-nominated musical score that was dark and ominous, perfect for enhancing the appearance of a world gone. In actuality, a world that never really existed according to science. It's an imaginary world, but one that you can look at and believe.
  • Dinosaurs chase people, people chase people, lava chases people and dinosaurs. If you like movies of the 1940's this should keep you interested. It is fun, and if you get into it, rather exciting.
  • I just watched One Million B.C. I hadn't seen this in sixty years and it certainly brought back memories. I remember seeing it at the Rialto Theater in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. But no one called it the Rialto, everyone called it the Rat Hole. Why? Because rats ran across the floor in the dark, bats swooped down from the ceiling, and poor old winos slept and snored in the back row. Decent people didn't go there.

    But on Saturday afternoons, kids took over the place to watch four to five hours of movies, cartoons, and 1930's serials -- which even by 1953 standards were corny – all for only 15 cents. I don't remember that any of us ever questioned whether we were decent people or not; the popcorn was great. How the winos could sleep with all the noise I have no idea. Child audiences were highly proactive with what was going on up on the screen.

    It was safe then for kids to ride their bikes downtown. And every Saturday afternoon that place was packed. The winos never bothered us, and we'd never heard of child molesters. All we knew was not to accept candy from strangers and since no one ever offered us any, we all felt safe.

    This movie stuck in my mind because it was unlike anything I'd ever seen. At ten years old it fulfilled my every dream of adventure ... dinosaurs, volcanoes, ancient peoples, jungles, snakes and morals that we could all understand and appreciate: It's better to be kind and unselfish than to be mean and brutal. I'd highly recommend this film but only if you think back to when you were 8 – 11 years old and watch it as you would have then. Even if you find it a tad corny, the child in you will love it.
  • Despite the defective historical content (dinasaurs and humans did not coexist) this was the first movie to portray Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon man as interacting. Modern archeology has shown that the two branches of man did coexist and inter-breed.

    I watched this movie many times during my childhood and as often as I see it available in my adulthood I watch it again. I never tire of the excitement, adventure, and human conflict.. It portrayed the people of pre-history as having human feelings and reactions not so very different from our own. Of course, it is dated, but that does not dilute its impact.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    (There are Spoilers) The movie starts with a narration by Conrad Nagle about this group of people out to see the sights going into a cave ,during a violent thunderstorm, for shelter. Finding this worldly and wise old man studying the ancient writings on the caves wall the sightseers are then told this fantastic story that he deciphered about what happened back then when it was carved, or written, as we go back in time to One Mllion B.C.

    Tumet is the bull-headed young son of Akhobo the leader of the warrior-like Rock People who's independence and disobedience towards his father is just too much for him to take. Getting into a fight with the old man during dinner over who gets the biggest piece Tumak is kicked out of the tribe and left on his own to fend for himself in the wild. Being attacked by this woolly mammoth Tumek ends up falling into a nearby stream almost breaking his neck. Found by gorgeous and sexy Loana of the far more civilized and peaceful Shell People Tumak is slowly nursed back to health and to a new world of understanding of his fellow man in that sharing is the secret to surviving in these wild and crazy times. Unlike where the leader takes all and give out the scraps to those lesser in his tribe, like with the Rock People, who are subservient to him.

    It takes a while for Tumek to get the hang of it in living in a society where caring and looking after your fellow tribesman was more important then how brave strong and victorious your were in taking on and killing everyone who's a threat to you and your tribe.

    The fact that Tumek's life was saved by the foreign Shell People where he was earlier ostracized into the wilderness to die by his own flesh and blood made him to be more akin with them. Also the fact that he's now in love with Loana, a stranger to his tribe, was more reason for him to feel like that.

    The movie really gets moving in the last fifteen minutes or so after a number of family squabbles between Tumek and Lnana as well as fights that Tumek has with his former tribe the Rock people. Tumek's father Akhobo is unseated from his leadership position after he was badly injured trying to take down a prehistoric ox and is left a shell of his old self. Tumek in taking back his leadership of the Rock People in hand to hand combat with their new leader instills in them what he learned in shearing the pie, or a form of prehistoric socialism, from the shell People that makes things a bit more bearable for everyone in it.

    With both the former enemy Rock and Shell people now living in peace together all hell breaks loose with the nearby volcano blowing it's top leading to a massive earthquake with all the wild animals, mostly giant lizards, going bananas attacking each other and the people in the area. Top special effects for it's time back in 1940 make "One Million B.C" a real novelty item. With a very realistic volcanic eruption followed by a heart-stopping lava flow that wipes out just about everything, man and animal, in it's path.

    It was really a shame that the animal scenes were not supervised by members of the Humane Society back then which lead to most of the lizards in them ending up dead and mangled in the fights they were encouraged to have in the movie. In fact the scenes of the lizards fighting with each other and attacking and killing the cavemen were, unfortunately, so good and realistic that they were incorporated into scores of movies and TV shows over the next thirty years.

    The movie ends not with Conrads Nagels narration to his captive band of sightseers about the story of Tumek and Loana but with both tribes, Rock & Shell, now living in peace and harmony. As we see them walking into the sunset with their adopted son who's mother was killed, when he was overtaken by the deadly lava flow, after the earth shaking volcanic explosion in the film.
  • Hal Roach produced this film and quickly signed Chaney Jr., for One Million BC as Akhoba, leader of the Rock People, Junior truly proved worthy of his name. Bearded and bloodied, gored by a prehistoric musk-ox, he snarled and stomped and stole the film from the stars, sexy Carole Landis and the handsome Victor Mature. However, Lon Chaney Jr., was not able to put the make-up on like his father or create his own characters, because the make-up men had a union and Ben Madsen did Chaney's make up. In the 1940's this was a nice try at trying to make this film into a D.W. Griffith production, but it never happened.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This will never be a rival to "Jurassic Park" or even "The Lost World" in the history of films about dinosaurs, but for what the creators of this fun yet silly adventure do makes it worth seeing. The audience is expected to suspend all disbelief in believing that enlarged wild animals of today could be compared with giant animals of the pre-historic time. As told to a group of cave explorers (including a lederhosen wearing Victor Mature), this takes all the people seen in this prologue and transports them back to caveman days where men battle each other as well as nature. The camera is really the star here, enlarging these animals to appear to be dinosaurs, huge snakes and even a woolly mammoth (obviously just an ordinary elephant) and making them appear even greater in size than your usual Geiko gecko.

    After battling his cave chief, pre-historic he-man Victor Mature is pushed off a cliff, fortunately falling into sand, and setting out on his own to find his own tribe to rule. He battles an elephant (supposed to represent a woolly mammoth) and after floating through a swamp (as giant lizards who obviously are congested and can't smell him swim by), he finds himself a new home where he battles other he-men cavemen for the affections of pretty blonde cave girl Carole Landis. There really isn't too much of a plot other than to explain how these ancient peoples could possibly survive with the elements around them. For that aspect alone, the film is really interesting, even though it is obvious that you can't take science fiction to any lower element of fiction than how this ends up being portrayed.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film dramatizes the concerns of 2 quite different prehistoric peoples, who come together in the end to form one culture. We might think of the Rock people as Neanderthals, and the more advanced Shell people as Cro-Magnons. However, if we take the date One million BC literally, modern humans had not yet evolved, and we are dealing with pre-human Hominoids. Since they wear clothing, which evidence suggests is a much more recent invention, I will assume that we are dealing with much more recent human-like beings........ There are many anachronisms. The most glaring example is the inclusion of various reptiles and mammals made up and greatly magnified to resemble dinosaurs or other prehistoric beasts. Dinosaurs, of course, vanished 64 million years before humans emerged. Even more anachronistic is the inclusion of a sail-backed Dimetrodon, made by gluing fins on a crocodilian. Dimetrodon was not a dinosaur, per say. In fact, it belonged to a group that went extinct about 250 million years ago, before the first dinosaurs emerged! Dogs weren't domesticated until perhaps 20,000 years ago, and it is doubtful the early ones looked anything like a Great Dane......... We see the Shell people eating nice big juicy apples that weren't bred until comparatively recent times, from much smaller, sour, progenitors........The prologue consists of a group of rock climbers seeking shelter from a thunderstorm. in a sizable cave. They discover an archeologist, played by Conrad Nagel, examining an extensive set of wall paintings. To pass the time, he offers to tell them the story that the paintings suggest.........Seems there were 2 local bands of humanoids. The Rock people were more primitive in several ways. They lived on mountains, ate exclusively meat, practiced an extreme version of survival of the fittest, and wielded shafts without stone spearpoints . Without spears, I find it difficult to believe that they were fierce warriors and hunters, as suggested........... On the other hand, the Shell people had spears with stone spearpoints, yet were mostly vegetarians, subsisting on modern fruits and vegetables that didn't yet exist in the real world. Socially, they were more cooperative, treating the relatively week members with deference. Thus, in contrast to the Rocks, they allowed children and women first choice at the food stewing in the communal hole in the ground, that served as their cooking pot. Also, the sick and disabled were cared for. Apparently not warlike, presumably, they carried their spears as defense against the various large wild animals and waring tribes......... Apparently, Victor Mature, with only one minor film role under his belt, was judged to have the right physique and looks to carry the lead Tarzan-like role of Tumak, son of the leader of the headman of the Rocks. He was banished from the Rocks for fighting, surviving a push off a cliff, and fall into a swift stream. He floated downstream to the territory of the Shell people, where he was discovered, resting in a little cove, by the maiden Loana, played by Carole Landis. She soon decides he's the man for her, although being a foreigner. She teaches him the ways of the Shell people, such as being kind to the less fortunate, and the use of the spear. But, eventually, he is banished for stealing a spear. Loana follows him, as they head toward the Rock people. Surprisingly, Tumak soon establishes himself as the leader of the Rock people(perhaps partly by his possession of a spear?). He has several encounters with beasts, and watches several fights between beasts. Eventually, the nearby volcano explodes, sending lava down, to inundate the people's villages(I thought the Rock people lived high on a mountain?). Further terror is unleashed by the opening of huge cracks in the earth, as an earthquake accompanied the volcanic explosion(not unusual). One mother is consumed by the lava. Tumak and Loana adopt her small girl, who survived. Now, the Rock people are threatened by a huge dinosaur who has them trapped in a cave. The Shell people show up to try to defeat the monster. Their spears bounce off it's thick hide, so they succeed by causing a rockslide that plummets the beast to death. The two tribes join, as symbolized by Tumak and Loana walking into the sunset, with their adopted girl between. Interestingly, physical and molecular evidence suggests that the Neanderthals and modern humans interbred, to some degree.........This story was remade in 1966, with the voluptuous Rachel Welch, in a revealing bikini, serving as Loana. Not having seen it, I won't comment on other comparisons, except the obvious Technicolor vs. B&W photography.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    . . . the Adam & Eve Era, according to the best estimate of the Roman Authorities on such things. ONE MILLION B.C. is shot when Earth's human population was still all-White, made up of the blonde Shell People and the less advanced brunette Rock Folks. Blonde princess Loana introduces the Rockers to agriculture, jewelry, stone tools, table manners, and a brassiere technology that puts even the most modern lingerie of the 1930s to shame. Then the earthquakes that killed off the dinosaurs (all but one got sucked down cracks into the Abyss due to the Law of Gravity acting upon their excessive body mass) destroys the Rockers' home cave. Unfortunately, the only surviving dinosaur has the Shell Sect pinned inside THEIR own grotto, with no access to the bounty of their fields and orchards. Fortuitously, the Endangered Species Act hasn't been passed yet, so the domesticated Rockers bury this Last Dino Standing under a rock slide, and everyone lives as happily afterwards as can be expected for a gang of citizens at least 49,700 generations away from being able to exercise their Second Amendment Rights when Danger looms.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    One Million B.C. did good business on its release in 1940 and, despite the years, parts of the film have aged remarkably well. One of these is not its entirely unnecessary opening sequence, in which a bunch of hikers dressed in German lederhosen take refuge in a cave and happen upon a wizened pipe-smoking palaeontologist who, as the resident "expert", spins a yarn to his captive audience about cave people that, with the help of a dissolve, is dramatised for us on screen. This early sequence is so slow and contrived that contemporary audiences may not have the patience to get past it, which is a shame as parts of the film thereafter are quite absorbing and contain a decent dose of the spectacle that made fantastical prehistoric films so appealing.

    Directors Hal Roach Sr. and Jr. seem to at times approach their prehistoric tale from an anthropological perspective which both helps and hinders the film. They seem so concerned with representing the lifestyles of the prehistoric folk with such authenticity (!) that the action is at times painfully slow and at others simply laughable: prehistoric humans and dinosaurs did not exist simultaneously (a forgivable error in dinosaur films as facts have never stood in the way of Hollywood spectacle), but more glaring is the final scene which imposes a bizarre message about the sacredness of the contemporary nuclear family structure. Equally baffling is the idea that although speech has not yet developed beyond grunts and two syllable sentences, the more complex language of music is a given.

    The two tribes represented on screen are clearly at different levels of social advancement with Victor Mature, as Tumak making an unsuccessful grab for power in his own tribe that ends with his shunning and adoption into a more civilised order, with mixed results, Efforts to show the tribes levels of socialisation are at times so laboured that they become redundant and drag out for far too long. But dull moments aside, there are some remarkable sequences that will actually impress contemporary audiences if they can endure the slower moments.

    One such moment is the volcanic eruption and earthquake that causes rockslides and a lava flow that engulfs one of the characters in a scene that may have you wondering how on earth this was achieved without killing the actor.

    For lovers of practical effects, if you can get past the slow moments that dog this film and drag it out unnecessarily, you will find some impressive moments that still stand up no doubt inspired later dinosaur films such as the highly successful 1966 Hammer studios film One Million Years B.C. that follows the narrative as this Hal Roach creation.
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