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Valley of the Dragons

Entry updated 12 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1961; vt Prehistoric Valley UK). Zimbalist-Roberts-Bernds Productions/Columbia Pictures. Produced by Byron Roberts. Directed by Edward Bernds. Written by Bernds and Donald Zimbalist, based very loosely on Hector Servadac: voyages et aventures à travers le monde solaire (1 January-15 December 1877 Magasin d'Éducation et de Récréation; 1877 2vols; trans as Hector Servadac 1877) by Jules Verne. Cast includes Cesare Danova, Danielle De Metz, Gregg Martell, Sean McClory, Gil Perkins and Joan Staley. Make-up by Ben Lane. 82 minutes. Black and white.

In 1881 Algeria, American Michael Denning (McClory) and Frenchman Hector Servadac (Danova) are about to fight a duel when a Comet passes extremely close to the Earth, carrying the two men away in a massive updraught of wind to deposit them on its surface. There, they find a Lost World made up of cavemen and Dinosaurs among other Monsters which the comet has gathered on previous brushes with Earth. The pair quickly settle their differences in the interest of mutual survival, and shortly find themselves in the midst of a conflict between two warring tribes of cavemen. Each grows increasingly friendly with the cave women Deena (Staley) and Nateeta (De Metz) as they work to survive various dangers, and to bring peace between the two tribes. They succeed in ending the conflict, then settle down to try and bring civilization to the comet while attempting to devise a plan for returning to Earth upon the comet's next close approach to our planet.

One of the later films produced from the works of Jules Verne after the copyrights expired in the 1950s, this minor effort is still entertaining in its own way. Much stock footage is used: dinosaurs from One Million B.C. (1940) and Rodan (1956), a giant spider from Cat-Women of the Moon (1953), plus material from at least one other unidentified film. Staley and De Metz make attractive heroines. [GSt]


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