Do you want red wine with your grilled dinosaur?
If you got lost in The Land that Time Forgot (1975), would you shoot a dinosaur and eat it? That’s exactly what happens in this terrible 1975 film. I think the movie creators realized that they had nowhere near the budget for any realistic special effects, so they didn’t actually strand a bunch of people on an island of dinosaurs until about an hour into the movie. Until then, we’re treated to some World War I war battles, explosions, and many, many British accents.
The movie features a series of boat models, like one of a 1916 German U-Boat and other civilian vessels. I guess they were alright in design, the U-Boat being the best of them, but can it make sharp right turns? It navigates a small underwater cave like a champ, dodging in and around rocks. Pretty silly.
After the U-Boat blows up a civilian ship, three men and a girl somehow take over the submarine, which probably has around twenty men. The Captain offers them wine. Ridiculous. They argue, bicker, and wander around the Atlantic for an hour until they finally reach a mysterious land hidden within Antarctica. By then, they’re all best buddies.
After they emerge from a dirty lagoon, the submarine is attacked by this giant sea-lizard dinosaur thing. The crew hides. It eats one of them. Somebody then remembers that the German army has guns and shoots the darn thing. It drops dead like a rubber chicken and flops on deck. They cook it up and eat it. SERIOUSLY. The Captain offers them more wine.
The crew go ashore and wander around for a while, evading the rubber monsters. The creature effects are probably one step above cheap 1950s bug movies and alien flicks. This movie was released by American International, the king of the cheap movie for teens, and the company made a fortune on the drive-in special. Almost all of their movies had action, exploitation and/or monsters.
Anyway, their stupid submarine sinks in some boiling water and they are left stranded on the island of lost dinosaurs. The Captain runs out of wine, but he builds a refinery to make more. WHAT. SERIOUSLY. They make peace with some native cavemen that live next door and everybody is happy. It just sorta ends. At 90 minutes, it’s still too long.
This movie stars Doug McClure, who I’m not that familiar with. He did a series of low-budget movies in the 60s and he’s appeared on many old TV shows, like The Virginian, which is a cowboy spectacular. The character “Troy McClure” on The Simpsons is based on him. That’s how he appears; a white-bread former cowboy actor from the old days. Doug plays his heroic character in this movie too, but he’s not a cowboy.
Overall, this movie is terrible, but it at least moves along at a good pace. The kids might find it funny today. The highlight of the movie is the dinosaur dinner scene, where Doug McClure looks at his grilled dinosaur strangely, then forces a bite down with some wine. I don’t blame him. I was doing the same thing for the whole movie. Giving this movie strange looks, not eating dinosaur, I mean.