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Valley of the Dragons

Valley of the Dragons (1961) starring Cesare Danova, Sean McClory, Joan Staley, Danielle De Metz

Synopsis of Valley of the Dragons

In Valley of the Dragons, two dueling human men are transported to a different world, when a giant comet flies too close to Earth. Once there, they have to deal with prehistoric animals, feuding cave men and … love!

Review of Valley of the Dragons

Theoretically, Valley of the Dragons is based on the Jules Verne’s Off on a Comet — but just barely. The original story is fairly dark, using the story to talk about how groups of nationalities will keep to their old ways – to the point of death. Thankfully, Valley of the Dragons is much more optimistic … and enjoyable.

Dueling Fools

Valley of the Dragons - our protagonists see the comet approaching
Valley of the Dragons – our protagonists see the comet approaching

It begins with two men about to engage in a duel for the love of a woman – when a giant comet comes too close to the Earth, and sweeps them aboard the comet. Surprisingly, the comet is large enough to maintain an atmosphere and support life — including prehistoric plants, dinosaurs, and cavemen. And oddly,, the gravity is exactly the same as on Earth, even though the comet is clearly much smaller.

A whole new world

Admittedly, on the face of it, the science here is silly — but that’s okay. It’s really an excuse to put two modern men in a prehistoric society. It slowly turns into a “buddy” film, as they grow into a grudging respect for each other, work to survive, and meet some of the hostile wildlife. They get separated by an attacking mammoth, and each joins a different tribe. Each tribe is antagonistic to the other. And, each falls in love with a different beautiful cave woman from the competing tribes.

Nice moments as they make a difference

The inevitable fight with the cavemen in Valley of the Dragons
The inevitable fight with the cavemen in Valley of the Dragons

They each help their respective tribe, and eventually they help the tribes work together to survive a dinosaur attack. There are several sweet moments, such as when the cave woman “claims” her new mate. Or later, when one of the modern men has to explain to “his” jealous woman that he doesn’t want the other cave woman. He simply wants to rescue his friend, and reunite that couple.

I truly enjoyed Valley of the Dragons for what it is – enjoyable monster movie fluff. Despite the “dragons” being iguanas with fins taped to their backs. It’s a well-acted, and enjoyable B-movie.

Cast of characters in Valley of the Dragons

  • Hector Servadac (Cesare Danova, Cleopatra, Viva Las Vegas). One of the two protagonists, a Frenchman. He falls in with the River People after they’re separated during a mammoth attack.. And it’s there that he falls in love with the beautiful blonde, Deena.
  • Michael Denning (Sean McClory, Them!, The Quiet Man). The other protagonist, an Irish American who falls in with the brunette Cave People, where he falls in love with the lovely Nateeta.
  • Deena (Joan Staley, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The Ladies Man). The beautiful blonde who falls in love with Hector. She learns a little English after falling in love with him – and “claims” him in front of the other cave woman.
  • Nateeta (Danielle De Metz, Return of the Fly). The other lovely cave woman, who claims … that is, falls in love with Michael.

Editorial review of Valley of the Dragons

Valley of the Dragons (1961) starring Cesare Danova, Sean McClory, Joan Staley, Danielle De Metz

Based very loosely on a story by Jules Verne, two men, about to undertake a duel, are thrust into an alternate universe. Finding themselves the only “civilized” men in a world of cavemen and savage beasts, the two realize they’ll have to put aside their differences to help each other survive in this strange new world. Cesare Danova and Sean McClory star, with Joan Staley (The Ghost and Mr. Chicken) and Danielle De Metz (The Magic Sword) starring as the love interests. Directed by Edward Bernds (Queen of Outer Space and The Three Stooges In Orbit), who also wrote the screenplay. Bernds likely saw the comic possibilities in the implausible Verne story, just one of the many reasons that this bizarre adventure is a one-of-a-kind fun-filled science fiction film without the earnest, straight-forward tone of many of its era’s sci-fi classics. Newly remastered.

Trivia for Valley of the Dragons

  • Uses stock footage from One Million B.C. (1940) and Rodan (1956).
  • Edward Bernds says the film was financially successful and had a long run on television. He believed that, in residual payments for television showings over the years, Valley of the Dragons gave him more income than his script work on the Elvis Presley picture Tickle Me.

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