I love Raquel Welch. She’s not a great actress but she did appear in some good films and when she’s given the right material to work with she can be very funny. I’ve always thought that Raquel’s natural appeal as a comedic actress had been overlooked due to her overwhelming sex appeal. There’s just no getting around the fact that Raquel Welch is gorgeous but she also has a great sense of humor that often seemed to be ignored by critics who couldn’t see past her incredible beauty. Of course Raquel Welch never let them. Her publicity stills continually presented the actress as a sexy film siren. Glamour (or glamor!) was obviously in Raquel’s blood and she had no intention of letting anyone forget it. And although she showed some dramatic skill in films such as Hannie Caulder (1972) and The Last of Sheila (1973), I personally think she really shined in comedies like Bedazzled (1967), Fathom (1967), Myra Breckinridge (1970) and The Three Musketeers (1973). Could she have become the Lucille Ball of her day? That’s doubtful but I often wonder what direction Raquel’s career would have taken if she had focused her attention on making funny movies and developing her comedic abilities.
Raquel Welch became an international star after appearing in the Hammer film One Million Years B.C. (1966). The movie was a remake of the 1940 Hal Roach film One Million B.C. that was nominated for two Oscars for its special effects and musical score. Hammer’s remake didn’t get any Oscar nominations but it was the studio’s most commercially successful film and featured some terrific special effects by Ray Harryhausen and a good score composed by Mario Nascimbene. But a large part of the film’s success was due to its female star. Hammer launched one of the most widely seen ad campaigns in the studio’s history for One Million Years B.C. and it paid off. Posters and publicity stills from the film featuring a fur bikini clad Raquel circulated around the globe appearing in countless magazines and newspapers. To this day Raquel Welch is one of the most widely recognized film stars in the world thanks to Hammer’s publicity blitz.
One Million Years B.C. is a highly entertaining fantasy film that takes place in a prehistoric world inhabited by dinosaur monsters and cave people. In the film Raquel Welch plays a young woman named “Loana the Fair One” who is part of the Shell People tribe. Loana falls in love with a man called Tumak (John Richardson) from the Rock People tribe and together the two would-be lovebirds are forced to fight for the survival of themselves and their love in a harsh world that seems determined to destroy them both. The film plays out like some kind of prehistoric retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet but the great special effects and nonstop action help make One Million Years B.C. one of Hammer’s most exciting and enjoyable movies.
Raquel Welch was given very little dialogue in One Million Years B.C. so she’s forced to use her body language and facial expressions to let the audience know what her character is feeling throughout the course of the film. This may sound like an easy task but it’s not and Raquel does a nice job of working with a limited vocabulary. She’s commendable in a film that doesn’t require much from her and she brings a warm sensitivity to a role that could have easily become forgettable in another actresses’ hands. Of course she also looks amazing in the movie and manages to inject lots of glamour into the rocky barren landscape of One Million Years B.C..
In 2010 Raquel Welch will be celebrating her 70th birthday and she’s kick-starting the year with the publication of her self-penned memoirs titled The Secrets of Timeless Appeal. The book is currently scheduled to be released in January of next year and focuses on her struggle to age gracefully in Hollywood where actresses are often put out to pasture before age 40. In the book Raquel supposedly opens up about being typecast as a “sex symbol” as well as her plastic surgery, struggles with aging and menopause. She also offers up beauty tips and health advice. It’s rumored that the actress might divulge intimate details about her romantic flings with other actors including Warren Beatty and Richard Burton as well as musician Alice Cooper but we’ll have to wait until January 2010 to find out.
One Million Years B.C. is available on DVD and currently selling at Amazon for just $6.99. You can also pre-order Raquel Welch’s upcoming autobiography The Secrets of Timeless Appeal at Amazon for $17.79.