We have had a couple of posts about Julie Ege, star of Creatures the World Forgot (1971), here and here. However, we want to gather her cavegirl pictures together and include this magnificent picture (above) which we haven't shown before.
Hammer were very keen to repeat the success of One Million Years BC (1966) and realised that most of the appeal of the latter film was Raquel Welch. Keen to find a new starlet with the same impact as Welch Hammer Films managed to persuade Columbia pictures to finance a third prehistoric film.
Almost exactly forty-one years ago, on April 29th 1970, they launched a campaign to find the "Screen's New Sex Symbol of the Seventies" Columbia helped with the world-wide marketing of the competition and over 2,000 girls applied. 280 were chosen to be interviewed by Hammer boss James Carreras and, in June, 24 year old Julie Ege was announced as the winner.
In reality, it was the amount of press coverage Ege had gained from her largely naked role as a Swedish au pair girl in the Marty Feldman comedy Every Home Should Have One that swung the choice. This had generated an amazing 1657 column inches about her; something that the Hammer publicity machine was well aware of.
"The millions who have read about Julie Ege will now want to see her in her first major starring role in Creatures the World Forgot", they said.
Before Ege left for Africa for filming, Hammer arranged for her to spend a week on a desert island with just a photographer to "prepare" for her prehistoric role. The resulting photographs of Ege wearing very little indeed went round the world and were published in several newspapers and magazines.
Triple P remembers seeing them in one of the Sunday papers at the time so Miss Ege must have been one of the very first women we responded to!
Filming was entirely on location in South West Africa and began on 1st July. Ege had just given birth and was not feeling too well so retired to bed early during the shoot. As a result, the crew thought she was stuck up and contrived to keep her out of shot as much as possible, much to the annoyance of Hammer in London.
Worse for Ege was the fact that she was given a horrible dark wig and an inferior fur bikini to Welch's. As a result the lovely fur-dressed creature who appeared in the publicity shots was made to look like an almost unrecognisable, dowdy frump.
Unlike Victoria Vettri (a Playboy rather than a Penthouse alumnus) in When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, Ege didn't strip off for the film either.
Also, Hammer were keen to be (pre-) historically accurate on this film which meant no more dinosaurs: another blow to its box-office prospects. Arguably, they were more concerned at how the dinosaurs in When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970) had hugely delayed the delivery of that film.
The film did quite well at the UK box office but not well enough that Hammer produced another prehistoric film. The story was complicated, there were no dinosaurs and the much-touted Ege did not live up to her previous visual image. If they had put her in the Welch style outfit at the head of this post who knows what might have happened? Interestingly, the producers of the posters for the film went for a much more Raquel Welch-like effect than the straggly effort that actually appears in the final film.
Although Ege remained well known in Britain and made a number of subsequent films, Creatures did not catapult her to the world-wide level of celebrity that One Million Years BC (despite having the same director) did for Raquel Welch.
Ege with co-star Tony Bonner
Part of her problem, we believe is the poor quality of her fur bikini. Not all fur bikinis are equal!
Julie struggles with a snake