I’ve been slowly plowing through the huge stack of movies-courtesy of the purveyor of this fine blog-sent me several months back. Among my recent viewing delights was The People That Time Forgot, based on the ERB book and a sequel to The Land That Time Forgot. It stars Patrick Wayne (son of “The Duke”), the ubiquitous Doug McClure, Sarah Douglas, the so very lovely Dana Gillespie, and a pre-Darth Vader David Prowse (as “the Executioner”).
Adventurer Ben McBride (Wayne) is part of a contingent of sailors whose expedition is financed by a wealthy newspaper publisher. The publisher insists his photographer-daughter Charly (Douglas) go along on the trip, much to McBride’s chagrin. The group hopes to learn the fate of Bowen Tyler (McClure) who has disappeared on a previous journey. It is in a mysterious lost land they encounter strange climate, dinosaurs (of course!), prehistoric tribes, and Tyler. Among the primitives is Ajor, the last surviving member of her tribe. She speaks English, having learned it from Tyler, and leads the group to where he is held captive. What ensues is a battle royal between the crew and a weirdly harnessed group of warriors, the near rescue of Tyler, and the inevitable encounters with rubbery looking reptiles . It’s pretty normal stuff, the special effects are standard 1977 cheesy, but the story moves along at a brisk pace and the dialog, while hardly Oscar worthy, is a notch above such typical fare. Oddly the more personal scenes are handled far better than the action ones, as explorers fend off dinosaurs and the warring primitives settle their differences.
If nothing else The People That Time Forgot is a trivia buffs dream. Prowse’s role was cut short so he could go join the Star Wars cast, and Dana Gillespie, a childhood friend of David Bowie, went on to a career in music. There’s also an odd Superman connection. Among her many roles, the statuesque Sarah Douglas went onto play the villainess Ursa (and later did numerous voices for the Green Lantern animated series) while Patrick Wayne, an early choice to play the Man of Steel, turned down the role that would soon make Christopher Reeve a household name. The People That Time Forgot is a lot of fun, a reasonably well made-especially given the time period and budget- romp that provides a lot of entertainment in just over 90 minutes.