Sometimes a studio will stumble upon the right combination of elements to create a film that many, if not all, will find enjoyable and that is just what Hammer did when they put out When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. There are dinosaurs of course, otherwise the title would be completely misleading, and they do look pretty fantastic, but there are also a whole lot of pretty cavegirls in the film, led by Victoria Vetri in the lead role. If there was one thing that Hammer knew more than horror, it was how to cast beautiful young women in nearly every film they ever made and how to exploit them to the fullest extent for the viewing audience. So for those that like women or for those that like dinosaurs, Hammer crafted the perfect movie with this one.
It begins with Vetri’s character Sanna not wanting to die by being sacrificed. As such, she makes a daring escape, gets rescued and is invited into another tribe. Sanna falls in love and causes a little jealousy along the way as her man Tara is in high demand. A lot of action happens featuring a lot of dinosaurs, Tanna gets adopted by a particular dinosaur who helps her out later in the film, and after some more conflict and a natural disaster, she continues to live while those who would do her harm no longer exist.
The dinosaurs in this film look great with some of the best stop-motion animation put on film outside of Ray Harryhausen. Every scene, no matter what type of creature that was featured, was exciting to watch and you often cheered the dinosaurs on more than you did the humans. Among those cavemen and cavewomen was the aforementioned Vetri who was quite mesmerizing and there was hardly a moment when your eyes were not on her. Of course there was the obligatory nude scenes, this was a Hammer film of course, but they added little to the movie overall and was merely just another bit of trickery on the studios’ part to get people in the seats. Magda Konopka and Imogen Hassall would also help the film along as another pair of cavegirls and while the cavemen were all right, including Robin Hawdon as Tara, the women were what drew you in, aside from the monsters that is.
If there was one drawback in this girl-meets-boy story, it was the use of a made-up language that was used instead of proper English. It did not necessarily hurt the film, but it would have been nice to know exactly what they were saying, not that it was altogether hard to understand in the first place with the limited topics they were sure to talk about. The film, directed by Val Guest, could have been a little shorter as there were a few scenes that tended to drag but overall, this film about mankind, and more so one girl, during the time of the giant lizards was highly enjoyable from start to finish.
First Entry – Trapped in the… – Valley of the Dragons (1961)
Second Entry – Can You Feel the… – Tremors (1990)
Third Entry – Beauty and Danger Collide in… – Viking Women and the Sea Serpent (1957)
Fourth Entry – Dance the Night Away in the… – Village of the Giants (1965)
Last Year’s Creatures…
Giant Monster Gamera (1965)
The Monolith Monsters (1957)
Gamera vs. Barugon (1966)
Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967)
Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)
Gamera vs. Viras (1968)
The Cyclops (1957)
Gamera vs. Guiron (1969)
Gamera vs. Jiger (1970)
The Killer Shrews (1959)
Gamera vs. Zigra (1971)
The Deadly Mantis (1957)
Space Monster Gamera (1980)
King Dinosaur (1955)
Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)
The Black Scorpion (1957)
Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996)
Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris (1999)
The Giant Gila Monster (1959)
Gamera the Brave (2006)
Frankenstein Conquers the World (1966)