When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth
|When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth|
|Directed by||Val Guest|
|Produced by||Aida Young|
|Music by||Mario Nascimbene|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||96 min. (USA)|
|Language||Aboriginal / English|
Like several of Hammer's previous films, such as One Million Years B.C. (1966), the film anachronistically portrays dinosaurs and humans alongside each other. Directed and scripted by Val Guest, it was based on a treatment by J. G. Ballard, and nominated for an Oscar for its visual effects.
The special effects are considered a benchmark in stop-motion animation believability, and the film is referenced in the movie Jurassic Park. Stop-motion effects were created by Jim Danforth, assisted by David W. Allen and Roger Dickens.
The landscapes of Earth during the Quaternary period were filmed in Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura (Canary Islands). Locations included Maspalomas beach, Ansite Mountain, Amurga and Caldera de Tejeda.
The film was released on DVD as an exclusive from Best Buy with a G-rating, but was quickly recalled because it was the uncut version and contained nudity. The original is now a collector's item.
When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth was the third in Hammer's "Cave Girl" series, preceded by One Million Years B.C. (1966) and Slave Girls (1967). It was followed by Creatures the World Forgot (1971). The movie characters talk in a language that seems like an ancient cave man language which involves dialect of random made up words that does not make any sense.
The films opens with a tribe on a cliff who are about to sacrifice three blonde women. One of them Sanna escapes and jumps off the cliff, where she is rescued by Tara and some men on a raft. Tara takes Sanna to his seaside tribe, who worship the sun, and where a plesiosaur that was roped, escapes temporarily, but is recaptured and burned to death. At the feast afterwards, we learn that a brunette woman, Ayak, is interested in Tara, but he is fascinated with Sanna who has set up a hut. He brings her food. After a fight between Sanna and Ayak in the water, Sanna's former tribe arrives, looking for her. She flees and is followed by pursuers. Hiding in a tree, a Gigantophis tries to wrap itself around her but attacks and kills one of the men, whom the three other men can't help. They think Sanna is in a nearby cave, but a Chasmosaurus attacks instead, killing one man and injuring another. Vultures, not content as scavengers, take swipes at the wounded man. When Tara seeks Sanna, he finds the one man dead and, after the Chasmosaurus charges and runs off a cliff, rescues the others.
A funeral pyre at sea is followed by a tribal frenzy during which Sanna's hut gets burned and Tara runs away. Sanna meanwhile has faced a vicious prehistoric long-tongued lizard and is nearly eaten by a plant. She cuts off her hair to escape the plant. Tara unfortunately thinks Sanna has been eaten by the man-eating plant. Sanna sleeps in a large dinosaur eggshell. The other egg hatches and the dinosaur imprints. The parent, thinking Sanna has hatched, brings her a deer carcass. Sanna plays with her new sibling. She dives and catches fish in her teeth. She finds her dinosaur involved in a fight with a few men, and she calls off the dinosaur.
While Tara is hiking back to the tribe, he is carried off by a giant Rhamphorhynchus. He kills it by ripping its wing and then stabbing it, knocking it off a cliff. Tara and Sanna reunite and go to her cave where they strip nude and make love and go skinny dipping but they are, witnessed by a lookout. When Tara returns to the tribe, he is challenged, tied to a raft, and set to sea with the raft burning. A Mosasaur knocks over the raft; Tara escapes and staggers back to Sanna. But the tribe is still searching for Sanna, and see smoke from her fire. The two run, swim, climb, and witness a dinosaur fight, but are captured. Sanna's dino sibling rescues her, but Tara they prepare to burn again. A giant crab kills a few men as the weather grows ominous again. The moon seems to be forming, and a tidal wave looms. Sanna arrives to save Tara from the giant crab, and a raft escape begins to take shape. The tribal leader tries commanding the water to heel. Ayak gets sucked into quicksand, and the leader is drowned. Sanna and Tara and two other people survive and witness an eclipse, as now the moon exists.
- Victoria Vetri as Sanna
- Robin Hawdon as Tara
- Patrick Allen as Kingsor
- Drewe Henley as Khaku
- Sean Caffrey as Kane
- Magda Konopka as Ulido
- Imogen Hassall as Ayak
- Patrick Holt as Ammon
- Jan Rossini as Rock Girl
- Carol Hawkins as Yani
The film was popular at the box office. As of 2013, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth currently holds a two and a half star rating (4.9/10) on IMDb.
- Bruce G. Hallenbeck, British Cult Cinema: Hammer Fantasy and Sci-Fi, Hemlock Books 2011 p204
- Sinclair McKay (2007): A Thing of Unspeakable Horror: The History of Hammer Films: 105
- Marcus Hearn, The Hammer Vault, Titan Books, 2011 p111
- When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth at the Internet Movie Database
- When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth at allmovie