Monday, January 22, 2007

Cavegirl:Raquel Welch-Cavegirl supreme!

So, MAC cosmetics have voted RW as a beauty icon at the age of 66. Quite right too, although how much of her age-defying looks are genetic and how much surgical I don't know.

The fact is that during One Million Years BC she lit up the screen every time she was on it and I don't think she ever looked better.

As the sixties went on her hair got bigger and she looked more plastic. Also, how many RW films has anyone actually seen?

But in an animal skin bikini she is unsurpassed, despite the very many actresses and models who have tried to emulate the look since.

One Million years BC shot her to stardom but in fact it could be argued that one photograph shot her to stardom. Taken admist the sulphurous fumes on the Canary Islands this black and white shot was later coloured for the film's posters in endlessly different ways. Legs apart confidently but arms held in a slightly more hesitant, and therefore vulnerable, pose, her bust literally overshadowing the rest of her body, the picture is taken from waist height and makes her appear to be more of an Amazon Queen than her 5'6" would allow. It is one of the most iconic film star pictures of the sixties and indeed one of the most iconic pictures ever of an actress. The fact that it was grabbed quickly, as Raquel was choking on the fumes, makes it one of those happy accidents that often make the best photographs.

What none of the girls who tried to copy the look had, of course, was the 37.5"/22.5"/35.5" figure that Raquel possessed when she made this film. These more modern shots demonstrate her awesome waist/hip ratio (she had had two children by the time she made One Million years BC). No modern pin-up has a 22 inch waist!

Cavegirl Rating: 10/10

Monday, January 15, 2007

One Million Years BC: the Story - Part 2

Back in the cave Sakana is having a big party to celebrate being chief and Nupondi does a rather athletic dance which drives them all wild.

The atmosphere is only spoilt by a bloodied Akhoba returning "from the dead".

In the Shell People's cave Tumak wakes up and finds it deserted so has time to admire all the technological aspects of the tribe before joining them outside. After a bit of spear envy with Ahot, who obviously fancies Loana, and some "comedy" spear fishing in the pool they are attacked by an Allosaurus. Harryhausen's fight scene here is one of his greatest and ranks with the dinosaur roping in Valley of Gwangi and the skeleton fight in Jason and the Argonauts for animation skill.

After the fight Tumak gets into an argument with Ahot over his spear (he obviously suffers from spear envy)and is banished. Loana goes with him and Ahot sportingly gives Tumak his spear (the symbolism of this may be deliberate or not!). Armed with this high-tech piece of weaponry Tumak and Loana head into the wasteland again.

They end up in the apemen's cave from earlier on and have to escape from a bunch of these nasties. Climbing out of the cave they come across the dino highlight of the film, the battle beteen the Triceratops (always my favourite dinosaur) and a Ceratosaurus. During this fight Loana and Tumak get separated and Loana is captured by Sakana and his boys.

Tumak charges in and Loana stops him killing Sakana.

They all return to the Rock People cave where Loana causes something of a sensation, although not with Unipondi and the two of them get into an athletic cat fight. Martine Beswick had done this sort of thing before as one of the gypsy girls in From Russia with Love and the resultant fight is another highlight and, indeed, is the fur bikini highlight of the film. Both girls are lightly oiled and nicely grubby.

Later Sakana and Yumak have another spat and Sakana leaves the tribe with his supporters.

After this Loana tries to integrate with the Rock people and even teaches them to go swimming. We have our first view of Raquel in a wet fur bikini (she stayed dry in the earlier sea side scene) but it isn't any more revealing than when she is dry, although she does look nice shiny and wet.

Unfortunately, this idyll is interuppted by a Pterandon who grabs Loana and takes her off to it's nest as a nice snack for its chicks.

Tumak sets off in pursuit and fortunately the Pteranadon releases Loana when it is attacked by another pterosaur.

Tumak thinks she has been eaten by the pterosaur and so misses her lying on the beach.

She staggers back to the Shell people and gets them to help her look for Tumak. Its not long before they meet up again. A Rock People man has left Sakana's group and warns Tumak that they are about to attack his father's cave. Tumak and the Shell People arrive just as the attach starts and there is a big fight between the three factions. Loana gets grabbed by Sakana and Tumak fights to rescue her. He has just got Sakana at his mercy when the volcano, which has been simmering away for the whole picture, finally blows it's top. In the ensuing confusion Sakana grabs Loana once more and makes a run for it. Earthquakes and rock falls make mincemat of most of the cast and Sakana gets what he deserves (no, not Raquel).

The survivors emerge from the rubble (surprisingly close to the sea considering how long it took Tumak to get there earlier in the film). Tumak leads the survivors into the landscape no doubt thinking that he better start working on producing new tribal members with Loana right away.

And why not?