Release Date(s)1975 (December 15, 2017)
Studio(s)Amicus Productions/American International Pictures/Orion Pictures/MGM (Umbrella Entertainment)
- Film/Program Grade: C-
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: D+
1975 saw the release of Amicus Productions’ The Land That Time Forgot, an adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel. It’s a fairly standard tale about a group of people who wind up on an unknown island and discover the presence of prehistoric animals, but complicating matters is a group dynamic between German naval officers and American civilians, as well as a tribe of Neanderthal-like people who are out to kill them. A favorite of many folks who were young when it was released to both theaters and later to TV, it’s an example of Amicus attempting to stretch beyond their horror anthology confines for which they were, and still are, known for.
Unfortunately, The Land That Time Forgot hasn’t aged particularly well, for many reason. We’re more accustomed to seeing these types of films with stop-motion animated creatures, and we tend to forgive those more. In this case, there are live action puppets that, truth be told, aren’t all that articulate or interesting to look at. The human counterparts aren’t much better, flip-flopping allegiances at the drop of a dime or simply having no character traits at all, often carrying out totally random actions. That being said, the film does manage to eek out a bit of imagination. While the plot itself is reminiscent of many dinosaur films since the 1920s, even throwing in an exploding volcano for good measure, it takes a bit to get into as we’re thrust into a situation where one group of people is attempting to hijack another group of people. The island that they eventually get to seems more like an afterthought, as it’s out of another film altogether.
Looking at it today, it’s clear why The Land That Time Forgot wasn’t well-received when it was originally released, yet it’s clear how it managed to carve out a small cult niche for itself over time. It doesn’t offer any well-paced excitement, but it at least tries to do something different with the stale material. Had stop-motion been employed to realize its menagerie of animals, it would likely have had a little more lasting value. Then again, it does have aspects of unintentional entertainment now and then. Look no further than the completely motionless pterodactyls that are clearly on wires flying over our heroes heads.
Umbrella Entertainment presents their Blu-ray presentation of the film with a transfer that’s similar (if not the same) one used for the Kino Lorber Studio Classics Blu-ray release of the film. It’s fairly clean and mostly stable with only speckling leftover while grain is well-resolved, outside of transitions and rear screen projections that is. Colors are strong, particularly the jungle foliage, while skin tones appear cool. Detail and depth are excellent with deep blacks and appropriate levels of contrast, particularly during any scenes in the submarine. The audio is presented in English 2.0 mono DTS-HD with no subtitle options. All aspects of it are well-balanced, including good dialogue reproduction, but the overall track is fairly flat. There are no heavy distortions, nor are there any leftover instances of hiss, crackle, or dropouts. The score actually features the most fidelity overall. There’s no main menu, but an audio commentary with director Kevin Connor moderated by Brian Trenchard-Smith has been included, which is only accessible by toggling the audio options with your remote control. Unfortunately, the making-of featurette and theatrical trailer that’s included on Kino Lorber’s Blu-ray release isn’t present here. And just for posterity, the Region 2 DVD releases from CMV Laservision and VCI also included a still gallery, which hasn’t been replicated on any other type of disc, high definition or otherwise.
Umbrella Entertainment’s Blu-ray release of The Land That Time Forgot features a solid presentation with clean audio and a crisp picture, at least much crisper than previous home video presentations. Whether you’re a fan of the film and find merit in its minor technical qualities, or you would rather lampoon the it with a few friends by your side, this is a nice disc to pop in either way.
- Tim Salmons