Year One: 5 caveman films
One Million Years BC (1940/1966) Hal Roach and star Victor Mature created the template for many future cinematic evocations of the prehistoric era with their original tale of exile, volcanoes and gigantic beasts. Don Chaffey’s now iconic remake gave the world Raquel Welsh in a shabby chic bikini. Both were milestones in stop frame animation and historical inaccuracy. 1966 version currently available on DVD (Optimum).
Teenage Cave Man (1958) Future Man From UNCLE, Robert Vaughn made his cinema debut as a wandering caveman with a bouffant in Roger Corman’s exploitation quickie. Basically a remake of Roach’s film with then in vogue allusions to mysticism and youth culture. Vaughn plays the titular youth in search of new pastures. Corman kept the budget tight on this interesting addition to his directed works and it shows. Not currently available on DVD.
Caveman Ringo Starr and wife Barbara Bach joined a youthful Dennis Quaid and Shelley Long in this pre-histerical (sic) comedy of Neanderthal rivalry and romance. TV comedy legend Carl Gottleib (Saturday Night Live, Mork and Mindy) directed. The ‘intentional’ caveman comedy was born. Ugg ugg. Not currently available on DVD.
Quest For Fire (1981) French anthropological hobbyist and filmmaker Jean-Jacques Annaud strips things back with this earnest adaptation of JH Rosny Sr’s novel about the journey that may have led to prehistoric man’s most important discovery. The film spawned cro-magnon epic The Clan of the Cave Bear starring Daryl Hannah. Available on DVD (Second Sight).
California Man (1992) The caveman finally got to go to high school in this amusingly dumb teen comedy which gave the world the talents of Brendan The Mummy Fraser who played defrosted neanderthal Link. The film did reasonable box office before becoming a cult hit on VHS. A proposed sequel was shelved a few years later because prehistoric man comedies had become so passé. Not currently available on DVD.
Year One is on general release from Fri 26 Jun. See Also Released.