Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 1940. Hal Roach Studios. Screenplay by Mickell Novack, George Baker, Joseph Frickert, descriptive narration by Grover Jones. Cinematography by Norbert Brodine. Produced by D.W. Griffith, Hal Roach. Music by Werner R. Heymann. Production Design by Charles D. Hall. Costume Design by Harry Black. Film Editing by Ray Snyder. Academy Awards 1940.
Nothing like killing a giant lizard to really bring a family together. In this laughable adventure film, a prehistoric warrior (Victor Mature) is ejected from his clan and eventually accepted into a community of more advanced, peaceful people. One lady in particular (Carole Landis) takes a liking to him, so when Mature’s violent ways get him kicked out of this neighbourhood as well, she goes with him and follows him back to his much harsher tribe. An earthquake and a few fights with magically enlarged reptiles later, however, Landis is able to convince the lowly cro-Magnons to live in peace and harmony (and with less fighting over mastodon meat) as her people do. This 80-minute borefest features some pretty nifty visual effects, particularly the excellent miniatures, but its view of prehistoric life would have seemed ridiculous even at the time that it was made. The men sport short, shaggy hair and trimmed beards and the women wear tastefully cut, fashionable deerskin dresses; it looks more like a live-action episode of The Flintstones than Quest For Fire. Remade, quite famously, in the sixties with Raquel Welch.