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Land That Time Forgot, The (1974)


Main image of Land That Time Forgot, The (1974)
DirectorKevin Connor
Production CompanyAmicus Productions
ProducerJohn Dark
ScreenplayJames Cawthorne
 Michael Moorcock
Original novelEdgar Rice Burroughs
CinematographyAlan Hume

Cast: Doug McClure (Bowen Tyler); John McEnery (Captain Von Schoenvorts); Susan Penhaligon (Lisa Clayton); Keith Barron (Bradley); Anthony Ainley (Dietz); Godfrey James (Borg); Bobby Parr (Ahm)

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During WWI, the crew of a British supply ship overpower their German U-boat captors. But when one German crewmember sabotages the compass, they find themselves in a strange prehistoric land.

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Adapted from the first novel in Edgar Rice Burroughs' 'Caprona' trilogy, The Land that Time Forgot (1975) was Kevin Connor's second feature after From Beyond the Grave (1973). Connor and producer John Dark evidently found Burroughs' stories ideal source material, as they would later bring to the screen two more of his works: At the Earth's Core (1976) and The People that Time Forgot (1977), the second installment of the Caprona trilogy. The trilogy's conclusion, Out of Time's Abyss, was never filmed.

Financed by Amicus, the British production company that was Hammer's main rival in the 1960s and '70s, and by American independent producer Roger Corman's AIP, The Land that Time Forgot is a surprisingly serious and well-made film, in spite of its very low budget and sometimes amateurish special effects (stop-motion animation would have made for more convincing dinosaurs, but was dropped due to budget constraints).

The script was co-written by Michael Moorcock, one of Britain's leading British science fiction and fantasy writers. Moorcock's involvement helped give the film a more serious feel and atmosphere, keeping the unintentional comic moments to a minimum.

Generally solid direction from Connor and some good performances by the mostly British cast, particularly Anthony Ainley as the sinister Dietz and John McEnery as Captain Von Schoenvorts, ensure that the message remains on track and that the consistent pace of the narrative keeps the audience involved and entertained. Even Doug McClure, the embodiment of the 'B' movie actor, gives a reasonably convincing performance.

The film offers some interesting takes on evolution and politics, as illustrated by the decision by Germans, Americans and British to set aside their political differences and to cooperate so that they can get out of the island alive. The German captain is portrayed as a reasonable man, driven by scientific curiosity, and very willing to forget the nonsense of war in the face of the incredible discovery the party has just made.

Eric Mahleb

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Video Clips
1. Arrival (3:20)
2. Plesiosaurus steak (2:38)
3. Allosaurus attack (2:36)
Production stills
At The Earth's Core (1976)
One Million Years B.C. (1966)
Harris, Julie (1921-)
Amicus Productions
Science Fiction