Saturday, January 21, 2017

#2,293. Creatures the World Forgot (1971) - Spotlight on England

Directed By: Don Chaffey

Starring: Julie Ege, Tony Bonner, Robin John

Tag line: "Survival against all odds!"

Trivia: All of the exterior sequences were shot in Namibia and South Africa

As they did with 1966’s One Million Years B.C., Hammer studios travels to the distant past in director Don Chaffey’s Creatures the World Forgot, only this time with decidedly mixed results.

When a volcanic eruption destroys their village, a prehistoric tribe, led by a newly appointed chief (Brian O’Shaughnessy), heads off in search of a place to live. Along the way, they meet a fair-haired tribe, and, following a bizarre ritual, the chief is given a blonde maiden (Sue Wilson) to be his mate. She eventually gives birth to twin boys, both of whom will spend their formidable years vying for their father’s attention. Even as adults, the two sons: one blonde (Tony Bonner), the other dark-haired (Robin John), remain adversaries, yet continue to live with their father in the tribal village.

After a fierce battle with a warrior clan, the blonde son takes a new woman (Julie Ege) as his mate, something that doesn’t sit well with his brother, who grows more hostile every day. When the chief is killed in a freak accident, the brothers fight each other for the right to be named the tribe’s new leader. But when the victor chooses instead to take his followers and leave the area, it sets off a war between the siblings, and only one will come out of it alive.

Unlike One Million Years B.C. there are no Ray Harryhausen dinosaurs in Creatures the World Forgot, with the characters instead facing off against warthogs, gazelles, porcupines, scorpions, and, in one unintentionally hilarious sequence, a bear (played by a guy in a suit). In addition, Creatures the World Forgot features no dialogue whatsoever (much like 1981’s Quest for Fire); not even a narration track , and while this does add to the realism of it all, I admit I had a hard time figuring out who was who In the early scenes.

Shot on-location in Namibia and South Africa, Creatures the World Forgot looks like it takes place in prehistoric times, and the actors do a fine job in their respective roles (especially when you consider they had to do it all without speaking). Alas, the movie just isn’t engaging; there are a few thrilling fight scenes (the battle against the warrior tribe is a highlight), and the eruption that sets the story in motion has its share of excitement as well (though it’s over-reliance on rear projection is unfortunate). And like One Million Years B.C., most of the women in Creatures the World Forgot are both beautiful and scantily-clad. But there’s simply not enough going on here, and there are stretches of the film that drag as a result.

As a curiosity, Creatures the World Forgot has its charms, but if you’re only going to watch one Hammer caveman film, I’d recommend you make it One Million Years B.C. It may not be as accurate a portrayal of the time period as this movie, but it’s definitely more interesting.

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