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The Atlantic Ocean, 1916: A German submarine manages to blow up a
British freighter, but in return the surviving crew of the freighter
manages to enter and take over the submarine. At first there's much
fighting between the German crew, led by Captain Von Schoenvorts (John
McEnery), the British crew led by Captain Bradley (Keith Barron), and the
American observer Commander Tyler (Doug McClure) - don't ask me why he was
thrown into the mix -, but soon everybody realizes they are lost on high
sea, and when they start working together, Cap Von Schoenvorts turns out
to be quite a nice and sensitive bloke, more interested in natural science
than in waging wars.
Eventually the ship finds its way to an uncharted island that seems
unaccessible from the outside ... but the sub finds a cave leading to a
lake on the inside, and while on the outside the island looked like an
ice-covered desert, our motley crew is quite surprised to find lush
vegetation and even some animals ... that and dinosaurs and cavemen.
Soon Captain Schoenvorts and natural scientist Lisa (Susan Penhaligon)
find out that on this island, all the stages of evolution are present at
the same time, even the cavemen are not all on the same evolutionary
stage. And Ahm (Bobby Parr), a cavemen our heroes have captured, but who
soon befriended them, claims - in his caveman lingo - that all the cavemen
here live through all the evolutionary stages in one single lifetime.
Eventually, Tyler, Von Schoenvorts and Lisa mount an expedition to the
source of the islands biggest river ... and find what they think the
source of all life on this island (though it's never quite clear why).
But scientific accomplishments as such don't come without tragedies, at
least not in films like this one. Soon enough, while Tyler and Lisa are
out hunting and almost fall prey to a caveman tribe, the underwater
volcano on which the island sits starts to spit lava ... and suddenly Von
Schoenvorts' second in command Dietz (Anthony Ainley) wants to make a
getaway right away, and if he has to leave Tyler and Lisa behind, all the
better ... and to accomplish his evil goal, he even starts a successful
mutiny against Cap Von Schoenvorts. But there's one thing that he hasn't
taken into account: the heat of the volcanic activity has heated up the
water quite a bit, so first the submarine crew gets cooked inside the
vessel, then the ship blows up ... and all of a sudden Tyler and Lisa, the
people Dietz wanted to leave to die, are the only two survivors ...
Now let me get this straight, all the Amicus Lost
Civilisation/Continent-films (also At the Earth's Core, The
People that Time Forgot) are rather weak, with badly done dinosaur
effects, and Doug McClure, one of the more annoying B-movie heroes of the
time, and this one is no exception: The script is incredibly silly, with
plotholes aplenty, the direction does little to create proper tension, and
as usual, both the dinosaurs and Doug McClure are less than convincing ...
yet somehow I find myself liking the film for exactly these
inconsistencies, and I will watch (and like) more films of the same ilk