Friday, September 30, 2011


Caveman is a 1981 American slapstick comedy film financed by George Harrison, written and directed by Carl Gottlieb and starring Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, Dennis Quaid and Shelley Long.


Atouk is a bullied and scrawny caveman living in "One Zillion BC – October 9th" (apparently in memory of John Lennon, who was killed 5 months before the film's release, he was Ringo Starr's friend and bandmate with The Beatles, whose birthday was October 9). He lusts after the beautiful but shallow Lana, who is the mate of Tonda, their tribe's physically imposing leader. After being banished along with his friend Lar, Atouk falls in with a band of assorted misfits, among them the comely Tala and the elderly blind man Gog. The group has ongoing encounters with hungry dinosaurs, and rescues Lar from a "nearby ice age," where they encounter an abominable snowman. In the course of these adventures they discover sedative drugs, fire, cooking, music, and learn how to walk fully upright. Atouk uses these advancements to lead an attack on Tonda, overthrowing him and becoming the tribe's new leader. He discards Lana and takes Tala as his mate, and they live happily ever after.


The movie was filmed in Durango, Durango, Mexico, using the Sierra De Organos near Sombrerete, Zacatecas, Mexico for exteriors, and features stop-motion animated dinosaurs constructed by Jim Danforth, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex which in one scene becomes intoxicated by a Cannabis-type drug, animated by Randall W. Cook. Danforth was a major participant in the special effects sequences, but left the film "about two-thirds of the way" (his words) through the work because the Directors Guild of America prohibited his contracted on-screen credit, co-direction with Carl Gottlieb. Consequently, Danforth's name does not appear on the film.

The film's dialog is almost entirely in "caveman" language, such as:

* "alunda" – love
* "bobo" – friend
* "haraka" – fire
* "macha" – monster
* "nya" – no/not
* "ool" – food
* "pooka" – broken
* "ugh" – like
* "zug zug" – sex

At some showings audiences were issued a translation pamphlet for 30 "caveman words." The only English dialog present is used for comedic effect, when it is spoken by a caveman played by Evan Kim who speaks modern English but is understood by none of the other characters. Being a Korean caveman, by speaking English, he appears to be more advanced than the rest. At her audition Shelley Long says she did not speak any English, but responded to everything with grunts.

Barbara Bach and Ringo Starr first met on the set of Caveman, and married just over a year later.


* Ringo Starr as Atouk
* Dennis Quaid as Lar
* Shelley Long as Tala
* Jack Gilford as Gog
* Barbara Bach as Lana
* Evan C. Kim as Nook
* Carl Lumbly as Bork
* John Matuszak as Tonda
* Avery Schreiber as Ock
* Richard Moll as Abominable Snowman


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

financed by George Harrison, let me guess was in the eight arms to hold you