• People That Time Forgot, The



    Released by: Kino Lorber/Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: May 24th, 2016.
    Director: Kevin Connor
    Cast: Patrick Wayne, Doug McClure, Sarah Douglas, Dana Gillespie, Thorley Walters, Shane Rimmer
    Year: 1977
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    The Movie:

    The Land That Time Forgot, based on the book by Edgar Rice Burroughs, was directed by Kevin Connor in 1977 as a follow up to The Land That Time Forgot, once again produced by Amicus’ Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg in conjunction with American International Pictures.

    The film follows Major Ben McBride (Patrick Wayne) who is excited to receive word that a message from his long lost friend Bowen Tyler (Doug McClure) has been found years after his disappearance. The letter in a bottle contains information about the lost island of Caprona, which is where it seems McBride is still stranded. Ben puts together an expedition team comprised of a beautiful newspaper photographer named Charly Cunningham (Sarah Douglas) and a paleontologist named Norfolk (Thorley Walters) and together they enlist the aid of a surly airplane pilot named Hogan (Shane Rimmer). With the team in place, they travel by bi-plane through the arctic tundra over massive mountains and then, as they close in on the island, they’re promptly attacked by a pterodactyl.

    The plane takes damage but they land safely enough, but surly old Hogan is going to have to stick around to try and get it fixed – that is, after they enlist the aid of a stegosaurus to get the thing moved to a safer location. From there, McBride, Charlie and Norfolk explore the area looking for Tyler, but instead find a buxom cavewoman named Ajor (Dana Gillespie). She joins their group and eventually they wind up deep inside the cave of a sadistic tribe known as the Nagas lead by a huge green man named Sabbala (Milton Reid) and his deadly masked executioner (David Prowse)! They save Tyler and then wind up journeying to the City Of Skulls (watch out for a completely awesome matte painting during this scene) – but if they’re not careful they’ll fall victim to some strange samurai style warriors or possibly an angry volcano!

    The production value here, while not necessarily impressive the way other sci-fi and adventure movies made around the same time were, have a charm all their own. If you can’t create a convincing dinosaur, then just make everything kooky and colorful and run with it – that seems to be the order of the day here, and for the most part it works. The interiors of the cave are very cool looking, with plenty of skulls scattered about and lots of garish colors. Lot of explosion and bubbling volcano stuff happens and the aforementioned matte paintings, while clearly exactly that, are seriously cool to see if you appreciate things like that. Oh and if that weren’t enough, be on the lookout for what appears to be some Frank Frazetta art (that’s definitely a Death Dealer piece) hanging from the walls of Sabbal’s cave/fort thing! The movie is also paced very well. At an even ninety-minutes in length it never goes for more than a few minutes without throwing in a monster or a bad guy or a colorful character of some sort.

    The cast are also pretty good. Patrick Wayne does fine with the material, he’s not the world’s most gifted actor but he looks the part and storms about the sets and locations with all the machismo you could hope for. Sarah Douglas is not only beautiful but perfectly cast as the proper, upper-class English woman. She’s also up for adventure, risking her life more than once to get those pictures she wants so bad. Thorley Walters and Doug McClure play the old guard type characters with plenty of charisma and Shane Rimmer is fun as the pilot/mechanic character – appropriately salty! Milton Reid and David Prowse (it was a busy time for him given that he played Darth Vadar the same year this was made!) make for fantastic bad guys, very memorable in their roles here, while Dana Gillespie fills out her fur cavewoman suit quite admirably!

    These qualities help us overlook the fact that the story has a whole lot of logic gaps (who does Ajor learn English so quickly?) and that some of the effects work was obviously done on the cheap and is fairly unconvincing. It’s not a perfect film but it is a perfectly entertaining film and a whole lot of fun to revisit every once in a while.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The People That Time Forgot arrives on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and it looks quite nice. Colors really pop here, especially in the scene where the executioner and Sabbala are wreaking havoc, while black levels stay nice and strong. There’s some minor print damage here and there but for the most part the image is pretty clean. Detail and texture are both very good, there’s solid depth here too. All in all, this disc offers pretty strong picture quality.

    The English DTS-HD Mono track on this disc is also fine. There are no issues with hiss or distortion and everything comes through cleanly and clearly. As this is an older mono mix you obviously can’t really expect much in the way of channel separation or fancy surround action but for what it is, this older single channel tracks sounds just fine.

    Extras start off with a commentary track with director Kevin Connor that is moderated by filmmaker Brian Trenchard-Smith. Connor is keen to talk about his experiences on the film particularly as the special effects and sets are concerned, but the pair occasionally falls prey to simply narrating for us what we can already see happening on screen. This isn’t a constant problem, but it happens a few times and when it does, the pacing of the track is hurt. That said, there’s enough information in here that will make it worth listening to for most fans. Connor’s got a decent memory and talks up what it was like working with the cast assembled for the picture, how and why Patrick Wayne wound up in this movie, what was shot in Spain and what as not, adapting the original source material and changes that needed to be made to it and quite a bit more.

    The disc also includes two featurettes, the first of which runs twenty minutes and is entitled Sarah Douglas Remembers The People That Time Forgot. Douglas looks back on her time spent making this picture with some seriously infectious fondness, sharing stories about how much she enjoyed working with the cast and crew on the picture, some of the location work featured in the film and, maybe not so kindly, her thoughts on some of the effects work. Either way, she’s a charming lady and her recollections are definitely worth taking the time to appreciate. The second featurette is called Dana Gillespie On The People That Time Forgot and here the actress spends twenty-four minutes talking about why she got the part (anyone who sees her in her skimpy costume will figure it out!) and her thoughts on that. She also talks about how much fun she had working on the film, her work outside the film industry as a singer and who, like Douglas, she got along famously with pretty much everyone that she collaborated with on the picture. This second interview is also a lot of fun.

    Aside from that we also get a trailer for the feature, a trailer for The Land That Time Forgot, static menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    People That Time Forgot remains a lot of fun, a reasonably family-friendly adventure film with some memorable set pieces, high concept ideas, fantastic set pieces and a game cast. Kino/Scorpion have done a fine job bringing this one to Blu-ray in very nice shape and with some solid extra features too.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!



















    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Mark C.'s Avatar
      Mark C. -
      Great review Ian, those screen grabs look delicious.
    1. Lalala76's Avatar
      Lalala76 -
      This was always my least favourite of the Connor films, as a child, however on recent viewing it's actually gone up in my estimation, especially if watched straight after Land that Time forgot.