Friday, 22 March 2013

The Adventure You Will Never Forget

‘The Land That Time Forgot’ is classic school holiday fodder, a rip-roaring adventure full of dinosaurs, spear chucking and volcanic explosions. This one even has a submarine which, I must admit, I always find a bit exciting. I love submarines.

Set during World War One and based on a book by pulp colossus Edgar Rice Burroughs, the action takes place on the mysterious island of Caprona, an uncharted place which, despite being near Antarctica, has a tropical climate. It also has a unique eco-system where pterodactyls rule the skies and stegosaurus’ are forever getting into scraps with tyrannosaurs. Chuck in some Neanderthal type people, some lost German sailors and Doug McClure at his most McClure-ish and you’ve got yourself one hell of a film – if you’re about eleven. Happily, that’s my mental age.

One of a number of films that Amicus produced aimed firmly at a younger audience, ‘The Land That Time Forgot’ is cheap, unpretentious fun – but not without imagination, perhaps even style. Pulp source material of a certain vintage often throws up something odd – some bizarre theory or pseudo-scientific viewpoint (usually insanely right wing) – and here it is hinted that the unusual properties of the island mean that its inhabitants evolve not over time but over distance, i.e. the further north people go, the more sophisticated they become. It’s pretty suspect (people from warmer climates are more primitive?) but it gives the narrative an edge of strangeness and mystery, which it needs. Man does not live by pterodactyl attack alone, you know.

1 comment:

  1. I, too, really liked this nice bit of escapism when I was twelve. I saw the film in a local twin theater with my dad (a WWII army officer who was sixty at the time we saw it). I seem to remember him liking it too. Perhaps he may have read some Burroughs when he had been a kid. The memory of sharing that experience with him makes The Land That Time Forgot a special film that transcends its story.

    Thanks for recalling this one, Chief. You did good.