Monday, 26 October 2015
The Land that Time Forgot (4 Stars)
The last two days should suffice to show my readers how erratic my film ratings are. Yesterday I watched "Sicario", which is universally regarded as a good film and is expected to be nominated for several Academy Awards, but I only gave it three stars. Today I watched "The land that time forgot", a cheesy film with below average special effects even for 1974, a film that didn't win a single award, but I've given it four stars. For me it's all about whether the film gives me a certain feeling. I often use the expression that a film "speaks to me". Some films speak to me, others don't.
The film is based on a novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It takes place in June 1916. A German submarine sinks a civilian passenger ship crossing the Atlantic. Apart from the crew, the only survivors are the American Bowen Tyler and his English girlfriend Lisa Clayton. They see the submarine surface, so they leave their lifeboats and ambush the submarine crew when they go out for fresh air. Bowen tells the Germans to steer the submarine to America, but the German captain deceives him by travelling south. Low on fuel, the submarine drifts off course and they get lost. By accident they find a lost island called Caprona. This island is the home to dinosaurs and primitive human tribes.
The creatures can't be compared with the dinosaurs in Ray Harryhausen's films. The special effects are far inferior. In Ray Harryhausen's films the whole animal was always animated, including the face, so it was possible to see the emotions. The dinosaurs in "The land that time forgot" are rubber puppets. The eyes don't move, which makes the dinosaurs look like they're dead. The film was made with a low budget, and it shows.
On top of this, Doug McClure was never a convincing actor. His performance is hollow from beginning to end. Susan Penhaligon, who I've never seen apart from this film, is the worst. It's difficult to understand why she's in the film, apart from to offer eye candy.
And yet I've still given the film a four star rating. However many faults I see in it, I still enjoyed watching it today, and I'll probably watch it again.