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Jurassic July - The Land That Time Forgot (1975)

Directed by: Kevin Connor
Starring: Doug McClure, John McEnery, Susan Penhaligon, Keith Barron, Anthony Ainley

After capturing a German U-Boat during World War I, the crew of a British ship find themselves stranded in a land inhabited by neanderthals and dinosaurs.

There's a glorious period of naivety in your childhood before your skull hardens and you develop the ability to distinguish a quality film from one made by hacks. During this period I put Doug McClure on equal footing with Harrison Ford and at the age of eight this movie was just as good as "Raiders of the Lost Ark". It had pterodactyls, something missing from the Indiana Jones movies (though if George Lucas got his way...). I'm no longer eight years old and my skull is significantly harder. With hindsight I can most definitely say McClure is no Ford and Kevin Connor is no Spielberg.
The movie gets off to a pretty good start as a British ship carrying McClure is sunk by a U-Boat. McClure, being the lucky git he is, ends up in a rowboat with Penhaligon, an actress who is cute in a seventies children's TV presenter kind of way. They come across the crew of the sunken vessel and band together to capture the German submarine using the old "stand behind the door and grab 'em when they come out" trick. If this move had been taught in military schools perhaps the allies could have wrapped the two wars up a lot more quickly. McEnery makes for an effective German officer with his Aryan blue eyes and a somewhat convincing accent. He actually goes on to be one of the film's more sympathetic characters despite torpedoing countless women and children. His english speaking captors lock him up but forget to check his person for keys so he regains control of the craft and they all end up off course in the title destination.
Once there they encounter the least threatening "dinosaurs" ever to grace the screen. These creatures just lope about while the humans riddle them with bullets like rich aristocrats on an elephant hunt. They also come across two tribes, one group resembling neanderthal man and the other slightly more evolved . It all ends badly with the island napalmed in what may be a cheeky Vietnam allegory by Connor, but I doubt he had such lofty ambitions. 
If you're under the age of thirty I doubt you'll be able to get through this in one piece but if you grew up with McClure gracing the screen every bank holiday afternoon you'll feel a warm glow of nostalgia. Fans of cheesy special effects will want to check it out for the pterodactyl kite alone. It was followed up by a sequel "The People That Time Forgot" which dispensed with dinosaurs but added Dana Gillespie's cleavage.
6/10

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