Prehistoric Women

Year 1950

Laurette Luez as   Tigri
Rudolph Anders as Dr. Wyatt
Allan Nixon as Engor
Judy Landon as  Eras
Johann Petursson   as  Guadi
Janet Scott as Wise Old Lady  
David Vaile as Narrator
Director - Gregg G. Tallas
Screenwriter - Gregg G. Tallas
  - Sam X. Abarbanel  

If you thought Quest for Fire was a worthwhile investment, then you might like Prehistoric Women. The two movies are so close to each other in terms of plot and approach that I'm surprised that Sam X. Abarbanel didn't sue for copyright infringement.

In both movies, a group of guys meets up with a tribe of women who take them prisoner. Then, thanks to fire, the men and women end up getting along.

It always amazes me that fire is such a rare commodity in these types of movies. I know about Prometheus and I appreciate that fire is a big deal. But even the most hapless person on Survivor knows how to make fire. The tribes in these movies have developed tools and language but they don't know how to make a fire. I just cannot buy the premise.

Another reason I link these two movies together is that they both have their own "language". A big deal was made about Anthony Burgess creating a series of sounds for Quest for Fire. He was at least as successful as whomever did the same for Prehistoric Women.

And what a language it is! The Wise Old Woman can tell the history of the tribe of women in great detail using Anglo-Saxon sounding monosyllabic clusters of sounds. That's a greater vocabulary than what is mastered by most high school graduates.

This will be my last comparison paragraph between this movie and Quest for Fire. Quest for Fire had great cinematography, and Prehistoric Women does not. Quest for Fire had an elephant in a wooly mamoth costume, and Prehistoric Women has an elephant out of costume (although maybe the tusks are extensions) and a stop motion pterodactyl. Quest for Fire had the audience figure out what was going on, and Prehistoric Women has a narrator. Quest for Fire was pretentious, and Prehistoric Women is a classroom film with weak sexual exploitation connotations.

Just for grins, I read the synopsis for Clan of the Cave Bear. All of these movies have one thing in common - they all act like it's original to have strong women in prehistoric times. Hint! Hint! It's not original. Besides being historically incorrect (that's unwritten history that I'm referring to), it's been done to death.

Anyway, before I get on my soapbox about the differences between men and women and how they were shaped by societal roles over scores and scores of millenia, let me get back to this movie... Prehistoric Women.

Three women and the Wise Old Lady decide to take their children and take off from their men. They survive long enough to teach their children how to hunt, fish, etc. The girl children grow up. The boy children... Who knows what happened to the boy children? In one scene, a boy was being dragged over the set by a bear cub. Then, neither the boy nor the bear were ever seen again! (Dum-dum-DUM!)

And you be hard pressed to fine six less likely looking relations among the grown up girls. I mean, the tribe that they came from was four women (if you count the Wise Old Lady) and six men. All of the men had dark hair. Yet we have six offspring who look nothing alike. There's a short blond, a tall redhead, and someone who is definitely Latino. I'm surprised there wasn't an African or Inuit thrown in just for good measure. With only three moms to produce six children, there have to be some siblings. Good luck trying to figure that out using family resemblance.

Here's the plot. Six well groomed women in torn clothing capture four well groomed men in animal pelts and use them as slaves. Then using fire, the men turn the tables. In the end, everyone is just looking for a mate, so the guys grab gals and get hitched. Then there's a hoe down, or something similar since the only instrument is a drum, and a new tribe is born. Corn likker is the next thing to invent.

Here's an attempt a humor. The narrator, a continually spouting master of the obvious, talks about the girls diving and says, "Historically, the swan dive was invented before the swan." I'm assuming he means that diving was invented before the name "swan" was used, but I was left wondering, "When was the swan invented?"

What happened to the girls' moms? Well, two of them were carried off by Guadi, a giant who kills tigers with his bare hands. An apparent ancestor of Eegah, Guadi was played with relish by Johann Petursson. At one point, he even does the mad scientist sinister laugh. Without Guadi (Muad'Dib?), this movie is even more of a snooze fest than it already is.

One thing that I did like about this movie were the animals. There were real panthers in some scenes and I think that it was a real elephant in another. Out of place animals, but live ones rather than footage of stock ones.

I also think that this movie isn't historically incorrect in a lot of aspects. The idea of some tribes being migratory makes sense. That genes and ideas had to be mixed to further the species meant that tribes had to combine was inadvertently well documented as well.

No nudity and no blasphemy. At least I think no blashemy. They didn't speak English, they spoke prehistoric. And everyone spoke the same prehistoric, too. Even tribes that never met before could converse without a problem. In general, I'd advise a miss on this one.

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