The Land That Time Forgot (1974)


(director: Kevin Connor; screenwriters: from the book by Edgar Rice Burroughs/Michael Moorcock/ James Cawthorn; cinematographer: Alan Hume; editor: John Ireland; music: Douglas Gamley; cast: Doug McClure (Bowen Tyler), John McEnery (Capt. Von Schoenworts), Susan Penhaligon (Lisa Clayton), Keith Barron (Bradley), Anthony Ainley (Lt. Dietz), Godfrey James (Borg), Bobby Parr (Ahm); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: John Dark/ Samuel Z. Arkoff/Max Rosenberg; AIP; 1975-UK)

“Remains an entertaining old-fashioned adventure tale but loses any edge it might have started out with.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

It’s an AIP film which automatically means low budget and cheese, but this one is supposedly the largest budget film ever from the British production house Amicus–who put out three Edgar Rice Burroughs tales, this one being the first (the others are “The People That Time Forgot” and “At The Earth’s Core”).

Director Kevin Connor showed some promising talent in his “From Beyond the Grave,” falsely building up my expectations. “Land” is adapted from an Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 1918 novel and the screenplay is by James Cawthorn & Michael Moorcock. After its promising stylish start, it sinks into being a sub par WW1 submarine thriller with a fantasy sci-fi scenario to tantalize me on what could have been.

In 1916, during WW1, a German U-boat sailing on the Atlantic and captained by John McEnery sinks a British supply ship with its torpedoes, killing most on board. The few survivors who manage to get on a lifeboat include American adventurer Doug McClure, one of the ship’s officers Keith Barron, and ship passenger Susan Penhaligon, a biologist. Soon after the attack, they discover the German sub has surfaced and in the dense fog they overtake it and take control. But their problems are not over — they can’t communicate because the radio is broken by a saboteur and British warships are firing on them. Six days later they learn their compass doesn’t work because it has been tampered with and that they have gone off course and are lost somewhere off the coast of South America. Another coup takes place with the Germans taking charge and then the Brits regain control. In the meantime the sub is short on supplies and drifting to save on fuel, and finds itself hopelessly lost on the Atlantic. The Brits make an uneasy truce with the Germans to head for a neutral port and sort things out over there. But hope returns when they discover the mythical lost continent of Caprona, an awesome pre-historic paradise surrounded by icebergs, last visited some two hundred years before by the lost Italian navigator named Caproni. The lost sub soon discovers a subterranean river leading to where dinosaurs and ape men still dwell. This leads to monsters being killed, cavemen subdued, the sub repaired, an ancient oil refinery located and its fuel used for the submarine, the primitive beauty appreciated, and a volcano that erupts. Things move very quickly from exotic to ordinary on the island, but in all the hokum it still remains an entertaining old-fashioned adventure tale but loses any edge it might have started out with.


REVIEWED ON 1/23/2004 GRADE: C +