The Land That Time Forgot (1975)

One from the to watch pile…

The Land That Time Forgot (1975)

Film: As a kid, I loved movies and TV that had obviously fake giant monsters and miniature related special effects in them. Harryhausen films and Godzilla flicks were of a particular high level of interest, but even stuff that came from Gerry Anderson, like Thunderbirds and Space 1999 were seen as a great time.

Another type of film, and TV show, I loved was the ‘Lost World’ subgenre. I poured over my Island at the Top of the World View Master set (this was pre-home Video, remember) and I always made sure I watched Sid and Marty Kroft’s Land of the Lost.

I’m assuming this addiction came from an early exposure to Gillian’s Island!

I guess most of these films and TV programs got their inspiration from the stories that legendary authors like Jules Verne (The Mysterious Island and Journey to the Centre of the Earth) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (The Lost World) and Edgar Rice Burrough’s The Land That Time Forgot. I imagine at the turn of last century, the idea of both discovering ancient beasts and exploring were things that young men particularly were enamoured by.

This brings us to this film, 1975’s The Land That Time Forgot, produced by Hammer’s rivals Amicus, directed by Kevin Conner, who also directed Motel Hell and Warlords of Atlantis, and was written by Elric creator Michael Moorcock with James Cawthorn and has a star studded cast: Doug McClure (seen in such films as Humanoids of the Deep and Shenandoah), Susan Penhaligon (Patrick) and Anthony Ainley (The Master From Doctor Who in the 80s).

During World War One, Bowen Tyler (McClure), biologist Lisa Clayton (Penhaligon) and a group of British sailors who are lost at sea, manage to find themselves onboard a German submarine of which they manage to take command.

Unfortunately, one of the Germans destroys the communications equipment and so they are stuck and decide to power on until they are lost, have no fuel left and food for only about a week, when they happen upon the mythical land of Caprona.

Caprona seems to be stuck in an ancient time, but has a mixture of creatures from the many ages of Earth and a bizarre secret.

To survive the two groups decide to band together and attempt to find a way to refine the oil they have discovered in Caprona, but with so many external threats… and maybe a few internal ones, will they be able to survive at all…

Whilst this movie tells an interesting story, it’s slow… especially the first 30 minutes which are disastrously slow. It’s a bright and attractive movie, but it has a few moments where it just doesn’t work. Night scenes that clearly take place in the day but in the thick of the woods, dinosaur puppets that are laughable at best (and remember, I LIKE stupid monster movies), and some creatures change in scale from scene to scene.

To its credit, though, some of the submarine miniature stuff is pretty cool, and it does have a surprising dark ending, which of course leads itself nicely to the sequel The People That Time Forgot, again by Amicus and Conner, two years later.

Basically, it’s an interesting scifi concept told in a slow and uninteresting way.

Score: **

Format: This region B Bluray, released by Umbrella Entertainment, runs for approximately 90 minutes, and features a decent (considering its age) 1.85:1 image with a fine mono DTS-HD audio track.

Score: ***1/2

Extras: Sorry, no extras for you!

Score: 0

WISIA: Considering the first half hour feels like 6 days because of how painfully slow it is, if I do watch it again, I’ll be fast forwarding to the dinosaurs!

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