on Jules Verne's Career of a Comet.
Michael Denning: Sean McClory
Hector: Cesare Danova
Deena: Joan Staley
Also starring Danielle de Metz, Gregg Martell,
and the ubiquitous footage from One Million BC (1940).
Produced: Byron Roberts
Directed: Edward Bernds
Story: Donald Zimbalist
Screenplay: Edward Bernds
Executive Producer: Alfred Zimbalist
"Jules Verne was an imaginative genius, 100 years ahead of
his time." So much of his science fiction has become fact,
who's to say this story won't, huh? Well?
Algeria 1881 sees "swarms of humanity."
Outside the city Irishman Michael Denning and Frenchman Captain
Hector (Servidinc?) duel over a woman. On the count of ten,
cataclysms sweep off their seconds while they clutch the ground.
When all is calm, they suspend the duel and see that the city
has been replaced by lush vegetation and a pterodon. They can't
find the North Star or the moon and decide the earth has changed
course; perhaps they are the last survivors. Neanderthals attack
them with stone axes, but Hector saves Michael's life and they
spend their only two bullets. Now the duel is off in favor of
berries and game: "We'll try to bag some."
They witness the mongoose/snake battle from
One Million B.C. (1940) and lose their appetites. Giant
lizard footage prompts, "What kind of nightmare world is
this?" "A world of the past--a hundred thousand years
past." More cruel footage of lizards fighting follows.
Stock footage of mastodons is uncooperative
with their hopes of getting one alone on which they "could
eat for a long time." The see cave women who flee and realize
that since they had a guard and they "cook food!" then
"Maybe evolution didn't stand still." Footage of a
black bear cub distracts us from their thievery of food and clothing.
The women come back to the cave with the men of the tribe. Michael
and Hector change into cave clothing, which initially seems irrationally
since it's cumbersome and awkward, but is necessary in order to
make more stock footage work correctly, for after sighting another
war party of shell-people, more One Million B.C. footage
has Hector chased by a mastodon, shaken off a tree into the water,
and floating unconscious until washed ashore and discovered by
a blond cave-woman. She takes him to her shell-people camp and
fends of hostile males and curious females. Hector shaves, the
woman Deena feeds him, and they exchange nouns (food, stone, bird,
water, and "cheri"); they kiss.
Meanwhile, Michael saves an old man from the
rock tribe during a hunting mishap (more stock footage). He is
brought into the tribe, a brunette feeds him, and Anoka is jealous.
They fight, but it is halted. Michael makes a sling and whacks
Hector and Deena swim. He considers sulphur,
knows of charcoal at the campfire, and but for potassium nitrate
he might create "Boom." Scraping some of the last from
a cave wall, he hears Deena scream. Weird monsters chase her
but hate sunlight. The two are safe but separated. The rock
tribe captures Deena, who, seeing Michael, appeals, "Friend.
Friend. Help." Ah, so Hector is alive. The brunette is
sad, but Michael explains, "You belong to me, only you."
He takes Deena back with some other cavemen. After a near attack
and the reunion of the Europeans, the volcano blows. Stock footage
of lava and dying lizards. Afterwards, the rock tribe is trapped
by stock footage lizards, especially an iguana, in their caves.
Jabbing doesn't work; rocks from above doesn't work; dynamite
creating an avalanche does.
The tribes are on the verge of fighting again,
but Hector and Michael show "good will" as an example.
Hector has been studying the heavens and has decided that they'll
be close to earth again in seven years and can work on planning
what to do. Smirking at their women, they decide that's "not
too long," "no, not long at all."
This is, I suppose, an impressive job of blenderizing Verne's
idea with stock footage, but hell, just read the book and watch
One Million B.C.! Having seen the footage before (a dozen
times for some of it) makes this pretty tedious viewing. Use
of the bloody fighting-lizards footage by now has turned into
obsessive compulsive cruelty.