The People That Time Forgot Blu-ray review
Release Date: May 24
“It can only be one thing: Prehistoric! Definitely prehistoric.”
Shot for less than $2 million dollars at England’s Pinewood Studios, THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT is the third film in a loose trilogy of Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptations that also included 1974’s THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT and 1976’s AT THE EARTH’S CORE. All three were directed by Englishman Kevin Connor (MOTEL HELL), released through American International Pictures and featured Yank lead Doug McClure (HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP).
However, like BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES did with Charlton Heston before it, this direct sequel to LAND only features McClure’s Tyler in a cameo role towards the end. Taking the lead is John Wayne’s son Patrick Wayne, who has a lot of his pop’s tough guy presence but lacks The Duke’s swagger. Wayne plays a pal of Tyler’s who discovers the message-in-a-bottle he sent out to sea at the end of LAND and organizes a rescue party. Included are a stuffy paleontologist (Thorley Walters), a tough female photographer (Sarah Douglas, wearing Princess Leia hair buns) and an alcoholic gunner/mechanic (Shane Rimmer). Once they crash land in the mythical Caprona they team up with a busty local cavegirl named Ajor (Dana Gillespie) to find Tyler.
What sets this trilogy apart from the similarly family-friendly Ray Harryhausen pictures of the time is the way they forgo stop-motion monsters in favor of practical creatures, either accomplished with mechanical puppets or men in suits. The charming phantasmagoria of beasties this time around includes a pterodactyl, a stegosaurus, a pair of horned t-rexes and snake creatures bursting from walls. A tribe of badly-made-up cavemen also provide an obstacle for our heroes, though not an insurmountable one.
The intro of Asian-influenced bad guys on horseback leads our heroes to a mountain castle made out of skulls where an angry volcano god lives. The villains here are clearly visually influenced by the fantasy art of Frank Frazetta, so much so that there are, in fact, several famous Frazetta paintings hanging as tapestries! Frazetta also provided the poster art seen on the cover of this new Blu-ray edition. STAR WARS saga alums David Prowse (Darth Vader) and Kiran Shah (Teedo in THE FORCE AWAKENS) appear, while the film is capably shot by cinematographer Alan Hume who would go on to lens RETURN OF THE JEDI.
Overall this is a boisterous, rip-roaring adventure in the pulpy tradition, full of cool monsters that kids and nostalgic adults will appreciate equally. Kino Lorber have done a terrific job of cleaning the film up and giving it the extras fans of this series have been waiting for.
As with Kino’s releases of AT THE EARTH’S CORE and THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT, PEOPLE gets a commentary track by director Kevin Connor moderated by Australian B-movie legend Brian Trenchard-Smith (BMX BANDITS, DRIVE HARD, LEPRECHAUN 3 & 4). The two of them discuss technical details like integrating effects into a sequence, storyboarding, catering and how far the location was from the hotel. Smith clearly has great affection for the film, and recalls fondly seeking it out in theaters as a child.
Also included are substantial on-camera interviews with the film’s two British female leads. Sarah Douglas shares memories of auditioning for 1978’s blockbuster SUPERMAN while in the middle of shooting this film, while Dana Gillespie goes on humorously about the challenges of wearing her revealing cavegirl get-up (tape was needed to keep her from pouring out of it during running sequences).
Finally, we’re given vintage trailers for both THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT and THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT, making this a must-own if you have the other two, and likewise you should at the very least order LAND before diving into this one. AT THE EARTH’S CORE is also good fun, if unconnected storywise, though it features its fair share of whimsical creatures, a wacky Peter Cushing performance, as well as a scantily-clad Caroline Munro.