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A Journey to the Beginning of Time (1955)

Cesta do praveku (original title)
Youngest of four boys one day finds a fossil of trilobite. So his older friend take him on journey through prehistory, up to beginning of time, to see real live trilobites.

Director:

Karel Zeman

Writers:

William Cayton (USA version), J.A. Novotný | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Vladimír Bejval ... Jirka / Jo-Jo
Petr Herrman Petr Herrman ... Toník / Tony
Zdenek Hustak Zdenek Hustak ... Jenda / Ben
Josef Lukás Josef Lukás ... Petr / Doc
James Lucas James Lucas ... Doc (US version) (as James Lukas)
Victor Betral Victor Betral ... Joe / Jo-Jo (US version)
Charles Goldsmith Charles Goldsmith ... Ben (US version)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Petr Herrmann Petr Herrmann
Kerry Mark Joels Kerry Mark Joels ... Doc (voice)
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Storyline

Four young boys visit a dinosaur exhibit at the New York city Museum of Natural History. They then row out onto Central Park Lake where they find a secret cave and paddle into a wondrous prehistoric world filled with the very dinosaurs they had just seen. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Four boys living the excitement every boy dreams about in the most fantastic adventure of any age!


Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Czechoslovakia

Language:

Czech

Release Date:

1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Journey to the Beginning of Time See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of the prehistoric animal reconstructions have been modeled after the artwork of renowned Czech painter Zdenek Burian. This is perhaps most apparent on the Brontosaurus, which is standing in almost the exact same pose as in Burian's famous piece and has the exact same detailing on its body. Strangely, the prominently-featured Stegosaurus and Ceratosaurus were not based on Burian's art, even though he has painted both animals, including the promotional paintings for this very film. See more »

Goofs

The sound is out-of-sync during the stegosaurus examination scene. Most noticeable when the boys are measuring the length of the dinosaur. See more »

Connections

Featured in Fantastic Dinosaurs of the Movies (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Czech version vs. American version
22 June 2005 | by nycruise-1See all my reviews

What a difference a few years makes (eg., this is a follow-up to an earlier post of mine).

Both the US and the original Czech versions are out there for sale these days (try ebay - and go for the DVD! The Czech version, at least, is cut from a wonderful print).

How the distributors of the US version ever came up with four boys falling asleep in the American Museum of Natural History and transgressing time via an Indian shaman statue is beyond me, but it was a pretty ingenious way of putting a domestic mystical stamp on a foreign film.

The Czech version begins with the character known as "Doc" in the US version recounting his "journey" while reviewing his diary. Before long, the four boys are seen emerging from the cave (which was supposedly located in Central Park in the US version) into the realm of the Ice Age, after which, the film proceeds as the movie we all know with a few notable exceptions: occasional shots of "Doc's" diary written in Czech, and an ending very different from what American audiences have seen - a seashore sequence in which the boys find a living trilobite, and closing shot of the narrator summing up the movie before fading out. (How the boys got back from their 4.5 billion year trip will remain a mystery until I get someone to translate the Czech dialog!) There appears to be no pontificating over how the boys had reached "creation" - and no footage to accompany it (the US version has shots of spouting lava and twisting luminous geometric shapes suggesting not only the beginning of earth but of the universe itself).

Despite extensive credit given to the staff of the American Museum of Natural History in the US version (namely, Edwin Colbert, prominent paleontologist at the time), it's apparent that, after viewing the Czech version, the Museum's input was limited to the museum sequences. The original movie is all Karel Zamen's - along with whichever Czech(s) who served as his paleo-documentarian(s).

Still a mystery, however, is why (as I stated in an earlier post) North American fossil vertebrates feature prominently in the film. The Styracosaur, the Sabertooth cat and, most notably, the grotesque Uintatherium featured are all unique to the American West.

Perhaps Zamen was not as isolated from US influences as life behind the Iron Curtain would have us think.


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