Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET (1966 ) Writer/director: Arthur Pierce.

"My superior officer asked for volunteers for an important expedition -- I thought he said exhibition."

When Cosmos 3, the sister ship of Cosmos 1, crash lands on the planet Solarius, Admiral King (Wendell Corey) disobeys orders and lands on Solarius to search for survivors. Not to be confused with Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet or Queen of Outer Space (not to mention Prehistoric Women and Untamed Women, for that matter, and other space movies with sexy long-legged aliens), there are no savage groups of space babes or cave gals in the movie. Instead some characters search the planet while encountering assorted dangers -- including a pitiful gecko that is supposed to be a monster [but is at least referred to as a "giant lizard" instead of a dinosaur], and a toy tarantula about the size of a dinner plate -- while in the meantime pretty Linda (Irene Tsu) encounters Tang (Robert Ito) and begins a romance that has a mild touch of charming lyricism to it (as well as a cute chimpanzee). You feel sorry for the actors because the entire cast gives the film a lot more than it deserves. Wendell Corey of Desert Fury certainly deserves a better fate, as does Paul Gilbert, who basically plays the same girl-crazy comedy relief that he did in So This is Paris. "I've been on a diet for seven days and so far all I've lost is a week," he says. John Agar is cast as Dr. Farrell and Glenn Langan of The Amazing Colossal Man appears briefly as the captain of the crashing ship. Keith Larsen is Commander Scott, who doesn't trust Centaurians such as Linda. The music is lifted from a variety of Universal's science fiction films and others. The ending employs the absolutely hoariest of science fiction cliches.

Verdict: Like a bad episode of sixties Star Trek. *1/2.

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