The Land That Time Forgot (1974 film)

The Land That Time Forgot is a 1974 British-American adventure fantasy film directed by Kevin Connor and written by Michael Moorcock and James Cawthorn, based upon the 1918 novel The Land That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It stars Doug McClure, John McEnery, Keith Barron, Susan Penhaligon, Anthony Ainley and Declan Mulholland.

The Land That Time Forgot
Theatrical release poster by Tom Chantrell
Directed byKevin Connor
Screenplay byMichael Moorcock
James Cawthorn
Based onThe Land That Time Forgot
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Produced byJohn Dark
Max Rosenberg
Narrated byDoug McClure
CinematographyAlan Hume
Edited byJohn Ireland
Music byDouglas Gamley
Distributed by
Release date
  • 29 November 1974 (1974-11-29)
Running time
91 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States[1]
Budget$250,000[2]–over $1 million[3]
Box office1,908,872 admissions (France)[4]
$2.5 million[5]

Plot edit

A bottle with a manuscript inside it is thrown into the sea. It floats to the coast of England, where a sailor discovers the bottle and opens it to read the manuscript. Bowen Tyler narrates.

During World War I, Bowen Tyler and Lisa Clayton are passengers on the ship torpedoed by Captain von Schoenvorts. Along with a few surviving British officers, Tyler persuades the other men to take over the surfacing submarine, this being their only chance for survival. After they confront the Germans on the deck, a fight ensues, and they seize the German U-boat. Tyler takes command, hoping to sail to a British port. Von Schoenvorts has his crew steer toward a safe sea port, but German officer Dietz breaks loose and smashes the sub's radio.

Off course and running out of fuel in the South Atlantic, the U-boat and its crew happen across an uncharted subcontinent called Caprona, a fantastical land of lush vegetation where dinosaurs still roam, co-existing with primitive man. There are also deposits of crude oil. If the Germans and British work together, the oil can be refined and enable their escape from the island. Tyler and von Schoenvorts agree to work together.

Tyler discovers the secret of Caprona: individuals evolve not through natural selection but by migrating northward across the island. With the submarine working again, a sudden outbreak of volcanic eruptions occurs across the island. Dietz starts a mutiny, shoots Captain von Schoenvorts, and takes command. He abandons Tyler and Clayton in Caprona in an attempt to escape, but the U-boat cannot function in the boiling waters, and the crew is killed as it sinks. Tyler and Clayton are stranded, and being the only survivors of their group, are forced to move northward. Tyler throws the bottle with the manuscript inside it that's seen at the beginning of the film.

Cast edit

Prehistoric Creatures

Production edit

Amicus originally wanted to cast Doug McClure in the lead, but he refused, so they signed Stuart Whitman. Then Samuel Z. Arkoff of American International Pictures came on board as co-financers, providing the bulk of the budget, but would only make the film if McClure was cast. He changed his mind and agreed to do the film.[6]

Kevin Connor said: "Doug was a great asset. In fight scenes he was especially good due to his hours of American TV action films. He knew exactly where the camera was at all times and threw punches precisely where the effect would work for the screen. He was always co-operative and came up with many ideas."[7]

Shooting began in February 1974 and lasted 16 weeks. Shepperton Studios were used for filming, whilst some of the scenes set in the landscapes of Caprona were filmed in a disused claypit in Reading, Berkshire.[8]

Kevin Connor recalled: "The reason we went for the hand puppets was for a more fluid look. Roger Dicken, who created the dinosaurs did such fine details and had the movement down so well that we went with him and used that technique. Also, we developed the use of a small VistaVision camera to shoot the dinosaur back-ground plates which gave us great quality because the exposed frame is twice the size of a normal 35mm. Everything was shot front projection as well."[7]

The U-boat and ships were models and the dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals were puppets, hand-held or on strings rather than stop motion. The speaking part of Von Schoenvorts was later dubbed in post-production by German-born actor Anton Diffring.

Amicus was to make two more Burroughs adaptations, The People That Time Forgot (1977), a direct sequel to this film starring Patrick Wayne, Sarah Douglas and McClure in an appearance midway towards the end, and At the Earth's Core (1976), with McClure (in a different role), Peter Cushing, and Caroline Munro. All three films were distributed in the United States by American International Pictures.

Reception edit

Critics and audiences gave The Land That Time Forgot mixed reviews, earning the film a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 43% based on 14 reviews.

The New York Times described the film is "an initially agreeable picture about the discovery of a mystery realm where various stages of evolution coexist", but "the early virtues of Land collapse once the island is reached and the traffic jam in artificial monsters develops."[6][9]

Box office edit

The film was the 14th biggest hit at the British box office in 1975.[3][10]

Comic book adaptation edit

A comic book adaptation of the film appeared in Marvel Movie Premiere, a one-shot black-and-white magazine published by Marvel Comics in September 1975. It was written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Sonny Trinidad.[11]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "The Land That Time Forgot". American Film Institute. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Exclusive Interview With Legendary Director Kevin Connor". Horror Channel. 7 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b Ed. Allan Bryce, Amicus: The Studio That Dripped Blood, Stray Cat Publishing, 2000 p 144-150
  4. ^ Box office in France 1976 at Box Office Story
  5. ^ Donahue, Suzanne Mary (1987). American film distribution : the changing marketplace. UMI Research Press. p. 300. ISBN 9780835717762. Please note figures are for rentals in US and Canada
  6. ^ a b Mark McGee, Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures, McFarland, 1996 p. 293
  7. ^ a b Jones-Morris, Ross (7 August 2012). "The Studio That Time Forgot – An Interview With Amicus Director Kevin Connor". Hey Guys.
  8. ^ Hoad, Phil (11 February 2020). "How we made The Land That Time Forgot". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  9. ^ ""The Land That Time Forgot' Shows Bright Splashes". The New York Times. 14 August 1975. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
  10. ^ Harper, Sue (2011). British Film Culture in the 1970s: The Boundaries of Pleasure: The Boundaries of Pleasure. Edinburgh University Press. p. 270. ISBN 9780748654260.
  11. ^ Friedt, Stephan (July 2016). "Marvel at the Movies: The House of Ideas' Hollywood Adaptations of the 1970s and 1980s". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (89): 59–60.

External links edit