One Million B.C. (April 5, 1940)

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One Million B.C.
 

Released on April 5, 1940: A stone-age man discovers a shell clan woman near the ocean and together they return to the rock clan and help them survive wild pre-historic beasts and the eruption of a giant volcano.

Produced by D.W. Griffith and Hal Roach

Directed by Hal Roach and Hal Roach Jr.

The Actors: Victor Mature (Tumak), Carole Landis (Loana), Lon Chaney Jr. (Akhoba), Conrad Nagel (narrator), John Hubbard (Ohtao), Nigel De Brulier (Peytow), Mamo Clark (Nupondi), Inez Palange (Tohana), Edgar Edwards (Skakana), Jacqueline Dalya (Ataf), Mary Gale Fisher (Wandi), Norman Budd (rock person), Harry Wilson (rock person), John Northpole (rock person), Lorraine Rivero (rock person), Harold Howard (rock person), Ricca Allen (rock person), Adda Gleason (rock person), Edward Coxen (rock person), Ben Hall (shell person), Creighton Hale (shell person), Audrey Manners (shell person), Rosemary Theby (shell person), Patricia Pope (shell person), Chuck Stubbs (shell person), Jimmy Boudwin (shell person), Ora May Carlson (shell person), James Coppedge (rock person), Katherine Frye (shell person), Betty Greco (rock person), Aida Hernandez (rock person), Robert Kent (mountain guide), Boots Lebaron (shell person), Jean Porter (shell person), Dick Simmons (shell person), Henry Sylvester (rock person), Frank Tinajero (rock person)

 

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Surf 'N Turf, or Rock Man meets Shell Woman

I know very little about the genesis of this movie, but my imagination thinks that it might have gone something like this . . .

One sleepy Sunday afternoon 65 year old D.W. Griffith, the greatest director of the first silent moving pictures, was enjoying a leisurely visit with silent comedy film producer Hal Roach and the topic of conversation was motion pictures in 1940 compared to the silent sagas that they had produced.

Hal Roach might have lamented a recent visit to a movie theater with his son to see a modern comedy . . . Hal Roach might have told D.W. Griffith that during the movie at a particularly funny spot he broke out into a loud laugh . . . and his horror when all of the people around him shushed him and angrily ordered him to be quiet so they could hear the dialogue . . . Why, back in the hey-day of silent comedies, Hal Roach produced stories that had the entire audience in loud laughter and no one needed to shush anyone to hear the dialogue . . . because there was none! . . .

D.W. Griffith would nod in agreement and remember the days when he could . . . without a peep of sound . . . cause audiences to laugh, then cry, then go white-knuckle with fear, then laugh again before the closing scene. These men could direct actors that would tell the story with their faces, their arms, their bodies, and the emotions of the actors were laid bare for the audience to recognize and empathize with . . . no dialogue needed.

Hal Roach would agree and lament that some directors in 1940, with every word in the language were not able to grip the hearts and minds of the audience the way they did in the silent days. Then one of them had an inspiration from the soul of the universe and commented that they should produce a movie in 1940 . . . with complete sound, music, sound effects and camera effects that only the greatest producers like them could accomplish . . . with fewer than a hundred or so spoken words . . . could it be done?

With the challenge out in the open Hal Roach decided to take on the project and wanted to hire the great D.W. Griffith to help produce the groundbreaking motion picture. As it turned out D.W. Griffith directed the screen tests and costume tests and then bowed out of the project, but Hal Roach insisted that he also direct some scenes of the finished movie and wanted to include his name as a producer. This groundbreaking story earned two Academy Award nominations for Best Musical Score and Best Special Effects, and many of the scenes of pre-historic beasts in the wild were used in future films. Not to mention that it would many years later inspire the movie of almost the same name that would make Raquel Welch famous. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Carole Landis and Victor Mature
Carole Landis and Victor Mature
Carole Landis
Carole Landis
Carole Landis
Carole Landis
Carole Landis discovers Victor Mature
Carole Landis discovers Victor Mature
Carole Landis
Carole Landis
Conrad Nagel and Robert Kent
Conrad Nagel and Robert Kent
Conrad Nagel
Conrad Nagel
Conrad Nagel
Conrad Nagel
John Hubbard, Carole Landis and Victor Mature
John Hubbard, Carole Landis and Victor Mature
John Hubbard and Victor Mature
John Hubbard and Victor Mature
Lon Chaney Jr. and Victor Mature
Lon Chaney Jr. and Victor Mature
Lon Chaney Jr.
Lon Chaney Jr.
Robert Kent
Robert Kent
Victor Matures and Carole Landis
Victor Matures and Carole Landis
Victor Mature
Victor Mature
Victor Mature
Victor Mature