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Valley of the Dragons

Valley of the Dragons (1961) Movie Poster
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USA  •    •  82m  •    •  Directed by: Edward Bernds.  •  Starring: Cesare Danova, Sean McClory, Joan Staley, Danielle De Metz, Gregg Martell, Gil Perkins, I. Stanford Jolley, Mike Lane, Roger Til, Mark Dempsey, Jerry Sunshine, Dolly Grey, Lon Chaney Jr..  •  Music by: Ruby Raksin.
      Algeria 1881. Two men, Michael Denning and Hector Servadac are having a duel with one another when a comet goes past the earth at low altitude. The strong wind this creates transports the two men to the moon. They find themselves in a jungle inhabited by reptiles and prehistoric humans. They have a difficult time before they manage to adapt to the dangers, but eventually they each find a girl to spend time with, awaiting the next return of the comet to take them back to Earth.

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Image from: Valley of the Dragons (1961)
Image from: Valley of the Dragons (1961)
Image from: Valley of the Dragons (1961)
Image from: Valley of the Dragons (1961)
Image from: Valley of the Dragons (1961)
Image from: Valley of the Dragons (1961)
"Valley of the Dragons" is a real scrapbook of other, better movies. Finally available in a very nice DVD print from Columbia Classics, VOTD reveals itself to be the second half of a sci-fi double bill aimed at kids in the early 60s. VOTD is strictly a potboiler patched together from other films Columbia had access to, as well as stock footage. Columbia hoped to cash in on the Jules Verne craze that had seen great success with Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" (1954) and 20th Century Fox's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (1958). Verne's "Off on a Comet" was pretty much forgotten, so Columbia seized on the title and added an astonishing number of things harvested from other sources in hopes to make the money the aforementioned films harvested. It didn't work, and VOTD ended up on an endless loop in second-run theatres and died a quiet death on TV "Chiller Theater" offerings until vanishing in the late 60s.

Seeing this oddity again after so many years is why popcorn was invented. It's earnest, yet silly. The production values are not bad, and the story is as flimsy as they come. Earthmen are swept onto a passing comet, discover they're about to become lunchmeat for "dinosaurs", run away from flaming oatmeal spewed out by a volcano, and find hot babes on said comet. Love conquers all and leering commences as the two former enemies realize they have seven years to fool around with the hot babes before maybe getting off the comet when it passes Earth again.

The "dinosaurs" are the stock variety lizards with fins glued on their backs and blown up via rear projection. Many have wandered over from the classic "One Million BC" (1940), as have a bunch of mangy mastodons. The erupting volcano and the hot oatmeal returns from that spectacle as well. There's a really unpleasant scene featuring a giant kinkajou attacking and really eating a snake. Rodan (1956) wanders over from Japan and makes a few peek-a-boo appearances. The giant spiderbug is from "World Without End"(1956). The Morlocks from MGM's "The Time Machine" (1960) show up, although the faces have been changed and lack the glow-in-the-dark eyes. And so on.

All that aside, VOTD isn't a bad way to spend a few minutes, and there's some cheesecake and a loose bikini top in an underwater swim sequence. This is poverty row movie-making at it's finest. Be warned though, if you making a drinking game of this by taking a shot every time you spot something from another B-movie monster mash, you'll be stinking drunk by the 45 minute mark.


Review by Kingkitsch from the Internet Movie Database.

 

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