Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The People that Time Forgot (4½ Stars)

This is a sequel to "The land that time forgot", made three years later in 1977. This time I don't have to apologise for liking it. It's a much better film, mainly due to the higher quality of the actors. It was a box office success, but evidently not enough to save the company that made it, Amicus Productions. Amicus was founded in 1962 as a direct competitor to Hammer. Amicus made 27 films, of which 20 were horror films and five were science fiction. "The people that time forgot" was their last film. They went bankrupt in the same year. Amicus can't be blamed for this. The 1970's were the decade that wiped out the British film industry. Hammer was almost bankrupt after making "To the Devil a daughter" in 1976. Hammer attempted one last film, "The Lady Vanishes", in 1979, and then stopped making films altogether.

The film takes place shortly after the end of World War One, at the end of 1918. At the end of the first film Bowen Tyler threw a message in a bottle into the ocean with information on his location. The bottle was found after it floated northwards from the Antarctic. Major Ben McBride, a childhood friend of Bowen, sets up an expedition to search for him. When his team arrives they find that many of the natives speak English, because Bowen has been educating them. He spent two years with the Galu tribe, but now the Galus have been wiped out by the warlike Naga tribe and Bowen has been taken prisoner.

Patrick Wayne never became a famous actor like his father John, but he proves himself to be a very competent actor as Ben McBride. Sarah Douglas accompanies him as the photographer Charlotte Cunningham. She plays a more significant role than Sarah Penhaligon in the previous film. Patrick and Sarah bounce off one another well, as the macho man and the liberated female.

Dana Gillespie in 1977

I'll talk a bit about Dana Gillespie, who plays the part of the native girl Ajor. She made only half a dozen films from 1966 to 1978, because she concentrated on live acting. She was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Parallel to that she followed a career as a pop singer. At the end of the 1970's she decided to follow singing as a full time career, and she's now recorded over 60 albums. Yes, sixty! That's an amazing number of recordings for a person to make and still remain widely unknown. She's the follower of an Indian guru, and 14 of her albums are spiritual music performed in Sanskrit.

Dana Gillespie in 2015

As is often true in the music business, it's not just about what you know, it's about who you know. I've been a fan of Dana's music since the 1980's, so I can verify that she has talent, but she needed a helping hand to get started. At school she was David Bowie's first girlfriend. He was 16, she was 14, and he followed her around like a lovesick puppy. It didn't work out, but they remained friends. When she wanted to make an LP of her folk songs he used his influence to get her a contract.

Dana Gillespie has never married. She was open about being bisexual in the 1970's when homosexuality wasn't accepted the way it is today.

David Bowie and Dana Gillespie

In the 1970's Dana Gillespie enjoyed notoriety because of a series of sex scandals. For instance, she was linked with John Stonehouse, the Labour member of parliament who worked as a spy for the Czechoslovakian government. Her antics were frequently reported in the News of the World. I don't even know if half the stories were true, but at least it meant that there were always new photos of her being published. I knew her face before I knew her as an actress, and long before I knew her as a singer.

Dana Gillespie in 1965

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