PREHISTORIC WOMEN (1950) ***
D: Gregg C. Tallas
Although no match for the remake (vide the cover of BATHOS #1) this is a reasonably entertaining movie of its type, offering (not very) wild women for the gratification of a predominantly male audience. As always, these broads are dressed to kill, without the occasional run-in with a dinosaur ever getting their hair mussed or their makeup smeared.
It matters not, if you prefer amazons or slave girls, since you usually get both. Here the poor girls are being kept as slaves by the men-folk, until one of them hits the leader on the head with a rock, the cartoon-like bonks, whenever there’s a scuffle, being among the more endearing qualities of this movie.
Of course, nobody knows how cavemen act, except there never were any, as only holy men live in caves. Well, perhaps a few more things.
For one thing they certainly didn’t bathe (or shave “with a sharp stone”). Also, if they had really been trudging through the jungle like some safari, they would either have been eaten, or they would have starved to death.
Then there’s speech. We tend to fall for the old me Tarzan, you Jane routine, but the fact is that a language able to satisfy the incredible cognitive demands of such an age would have needed twenty words for “stone” and a hundred cases.
Still, the girls are pretty handy with their slings. They are also unusually good-looking.
Soon they’re hunting men (called ANER, fire being PYRE – it’s Greek to me, or almost) tying them up and clobbering them with clubs suspiciously looking like a THYRSOS. That is, until our hero chases off a fairly effective pterodactyl with the obligatory firebrand.
This of course makes the girls realize, who the stronger sex really is, able to save their helpless mates from mice and spiders, ENGOR promptly settling an earlier dispute between TIGRI and ARVA – ENGOR TIGRI! ENGOR ARVA! ENGOR TIGRI! – marrying them both. The girls, having earlier inquired of “the Wise One”, why they feel so strangely inclined to dance under the full moon, entertain their newfound masters with their rather unmistakable undulations, the narrator explaining that they are “showing that they’re happy” – I guess that’s one way of putting it.
The cave-dwellers for once not speaking English, a constant voiceover informs us what is happening in the style of a Disney True-Life Adventure, the lack of dialogue making everyone concerned overact heinously – sometimes it almost looks as if they’re taking their cue from the narrator. There’s also a giant looking more like an Old Testament prophet than a troglodyte and several harrowing scenes, as ENGOR battles stock-footage of a tiger and is followed by a circus elephant, unable to kill the beast, since he has just lost his pencil-sized club.
Surprisingly, considering the date and budget, it’s all in full colour – well, maybe not quite full. Anyway, it’s good clean fun, mainly because it’s really not all that clean.
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