The People That Time Forgot (1977)
Director Kevin Connor was once again enlisted to bring the stone age world of Edgar Rice Burrough’s lost continent to life in this wild tale of Patrick Wayne following the trail of Doug McClure’s diary from the earlier film, The Land That Time Forgot. Little time is wasted on pleasantries as the ship commanded by Wayne is arriving at it’s destination as the opening credits come to a close.
The square jawed Pat Wayne leads a group by plane into the interior of the island. It’s an open cockpit which allows the passengers including sexy Sarah Douglas and the old professor type, Thorley Walters to get a first hand look at the pterodactyl that’s about to attack and lay claim to the skies. The plane sustains enough damage that the pilot, Shane Rimmer has to land the plane far from their intended destination. Filmed in the Canary Islands of Spain, I did find that this sequel makes far better use of the location shoot and some of the scenery is gorgeous to look at.
Cue the remarks from the boys who fondly recall the gorgeous “scenery” of Dana Gillespie in her custom designed cave girl outfit.
Moving inland on foot, the gang does indeed come across lovely Gillespie who as it turns out is on the run from a warring tribe of cave dwellers. Thankfully she can speak English. It seems she knows McClure’s whereabouts and it’s thanks to Doug that she and many others have learned the language. She explains to Wayne that Doug was taken captive by the villains of our story and may be dead by now.
How about a matte shot of a mountain top carved into skulls. That’s the destination of our inland explorers as they seek to free their old pal from slavery and imminent death. Below the surface, Wayne and the ladies are to find out that the cave dwellers are a savage breed who sacrifice beautiful women by throwing them to the depths of a volcano. According to an interview on the Kino blu ray, one of our caveman goons who is to carry lovely Dana to the edge of the crater is none other than Mr. David Prowse (Darth Vader).
Just like the earlier film, there are plenty of cardboard cut out monsters attempting to devour our group of explorers/rescuers but a rousing ovation for the f/x team that set off the pyrotechnics during the climatic scenes when the group attempts to flee the island.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that this script penned by Patrick Tilley looked to Beneath The Planet of the Apes for much of it’s inspiration. I am midful of the fact that perhaps the Apes flick looked to the Burroughs novel but I haven’t read it so I’ll go with my first chain of thought. A group of explorers arrive on an unchartered island just as James Franciscus did in the first Apes sequel. Both Wayne and Franciscus are looking for an old friend. (McClure/Heston) Wayne finds Dana looking a lot like Linda Harrison’s Nova. The female cave women point the way to the men being searched for. Franciscus finds Heston in a subterranean world held captive in a cell. Guess where we find McClure? Hopefully you get my point.
This film has a better look overall than the first flick. First and foremost is the better use of the location shoot. It’s a colorful land and shows up nicely in the blu ray release from Kino. Wayne and his romantic interest Sarah Douglas are a good team on screen and Dana offers up the previously mentioned eye candy though I much prefer the look of Miss Douglas who would go from this low budget shoot to the other extreme by appearing as Ursa in Superman I and II, Ilya Salkind’s large scale productions.
I also love the look of the underground sets and the gang of warriors that inhabit it. The outfits and masks they wear look as if they’ve been channeled from Japanese samurai films and once again from the Gorilla army of the Apes films.
1977 proved a year of fantasy for the Duke’s son Patrick. He starred in both this lost continent tale and played Sinbad for the Harryhausen adventure, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. Thorley Walters who plays our bumbling professor should be a well known face to the many who love films from Hammer Studios having appeared in both the Dracula and Frankenstein series. Like the earlier film this one is brought to us by Samuel Z. Arkoff and American International by way of Amicus and Max Rosenberg.
While I don’t have the film poster to The Land That Time Forgot in the vault here at home, I am happy to say that I secured one for this follow up years ago and it’s a great example of the artwork that catches my eye when poster shopping. A fun time here that compliments the earlier film quite nicely.