It’s hard to imagine the target audience for Hammer Films 1970 production When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. Certainly the prospect of monstrous reptiles and attractive young ladies would have been enticing to any 14 year old (as I was that year) but the lack of dialog, save for the predictable grunts, groans, and a strange-to-the-ear created language, makes this a tough movie to follow. In that regards it seems more “adult” oriented but I cannot imagine too many grownups waiting in line to see what is ostensibly a Grade B kid’s movie.
The plot, which is nearly as scant as the clothing worn by the aforementioned cave girls, revolves around a mysterious tribe who, struggling to survive in such hazardous times deems to appease the sun gods by sacrificing any woman born with blonde hair. When Sanna, played by Italian born beauty and future Playboy model Victoria Vetri (who also worked under the name Angela Dorian) escapes the ritual surrender she finds herself a stranger in a strange land, living among a rival tribe who are both in awe of and fearful towards her. It is there she meets Kingsor (played by Patrick Allen) whose own mate Tara (Robin Hawdon) is none too happy with the new competition.
There is a fair share of action, the dinosaurs are reflective of the generally clever production values of a Hammer Film, but the movie never really goes anywhere. It’s much more a series of modestly related events than a cohesive entity unto itself. In this instance I was glad to be watching it at home, where my iPad allowed me to search out a bit of biographical information on the actors and think about my next viewing adventure. Had I been 14 and watching it at the Palm Springs Movie Theater in Hialeah, Florida, I am not sure even the under attired ladies and/or the dinosaurs would have kept my attention.
Addendum: After her Playboy career and acting days fizzled out (among her other roles was that of King Tut’s assistant on a 1967 Batman episode) Ms. Vetri, who in 1962 turned down the lead in Lolita that eventually made Sue Lyon a sensation, moved to Southern California where her life took a bad turn. In 1980 she was the victim of a brutal attack in her Hollywood house, suffering a broken nose and broken ribs. The perpetrators were never caught. In 2010 she was charged with the shooting death of her husband of 25 years. She pleaded no contest and in 2011 was handed down a nine year prison term.