September 8, 2011


After watching the growing divisions in Congress and within the two political Parties, I got to thinking the other day about the film “One Million BC,” a knock off of Conan Doyle’s novel, “Lost Worlds.” The film was first produced in 1940 by Hal Roach and starred Carol Landis and Victor Mature. I never saw the 1966 remake which starred Raquel Welch because the first had already left its mark on me. Like “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” I wrote about earlier, it was another one of those B movies that had more meaning than its director probably intended.

(United Artists)

The plot line is simple. Two tribes live in proximity to one another: the Rock People and the Shell people. They meet when one of the warriors from the Rock People is injured and is discovered by a woman from the Shell People. With the help of others of her tribe, they nurse the Rock man, Victor Mature, to health. As the Rock man grows stronger, he discovers many differences between the two tribes.  Rock people embrace the notion of survival of the fittest. Shell people put the needs of the weaker and more vulnerable members of the tribe first. There is some turbulence as the two groups attempt to interact but as this is a Hollywood production, in the end everyone learns to live together, happily ever after.

Sadly, without Hal Roach’s direction, humanity isn’t fairing as well in our efforts to live together as the Rock and Shell people. As political events unfold, it seems great effort is made by both the Republicans and Democrats to claim the mantel of patriotism. But what is at work is our reptilian brain and its desire to dominate.  Apparently, both sides have more in common than they realize.

By the way, Happy Literature Day!