Women of the Prehistoric Planet (1966)

Genre: Science Fiction B-Movie

This movie is a turkey, but not as bad as could be expected.

A spaceship, The Commos 3, is traveling through space. On board are a mixture of humans and Centaurians. The Centaurians have the look of Asians, hence are made up of  by an Asian cast. All is well, when suddenly some Centaurians rebel and take the crew hostage and demand to be taken to another planet. In the ensuing commotion, the spaceship collides with a planet and crashes onto its surface.
Meanwhile, another spaceship, Comsmos 1, picks up the distress signal and makes its way to the planet to rescue them. Admiral King (Wendell Corey) is on board and they, too, also have some Centaurians as passengers, notably the pretty Linda (Irene Tsu).

They land on the surface of the planet and realize their journey, although relatively quick, had been the equivalent to eighteen years on the planet’s surface. They soon realize that the crew from the missing spaceship’s chances of survival is pretty low.
An inebriated Wendell Corey
Regardless of this, a search party is sent out to look for any signs of them. They are headed by Commander Scott (Keith Larsen), with Dr. Farrell (John Agar), a really annoying Lt. Bradley (Paul Gilbert), who is the comic relief character, the chief (Stuart Margolin) and the expendable unknown actor. The group have to do battle with a superimposed giant lizard, which is replaced by a rubber one when it is killed; a real snake which fills the search party with terror. I’m sure in the script it probably asked for a giant snake, but when it came to filming, a real-life boa was used which doesn’t look terrifying at all, and a large hopping giant fake spider, which causes its unlucky victim to die of fright (not laughter).
Linda (Irene Tsu)
There is one ridiculous scene where the search party have to cross a pool of boiling oil. They decide the only way across is balancing along a wooden pole while holding onto some vine. You've guessed it, this is where the expendable unknown actor dies. All the time while watching this scene, the viewer will be asking themselves why the search party didn’t walk around the pool as there is clearly a way.

After finding the destroyed Cosmos 3, the search party concludes that all its crew are dead, so they return back to their ship.
Linda with Tang in his cave
Meanwhile, back on the spaceship, Linda, defies the Admiral’s orders and goes outside for a walk (!). It’s not long before Linda has found a beautiful pool of water and is swimming naked (nothing shown) in the pool while humming a merry tune. What is it about women in these films? As soon as they see a nice pool of water, they defy all logic that they could be on an un-hospitable planet and decide to remove their clothing and go bathing.  Well, you’ve guessed it again: she is captured by a native man who takes her unconscious back to his cave.
The search party
Back on the spaceship, they soon realize that Linda has gone outside and is now missing, so Admiral King sends out the returning search party to search for her.

Back in the native’s cave, Linda awakens and soon falls in love with the native Tang (Robert Ito). She soon finds out that Tang is in fact also a Centaurian, and is the sole survivor of the Cosmos 3.

This relationship between Linda and Tang becomes similar to Tarzan and Jane as they fall deeply in love. Tang even has a pet chimp. The trouble is, their new idyllic existence suddenly comes to an end when they are attacked by some mutant cavemen. In the ensuing commotion, the search party also discovers Linda and rescues her, but not before shooting Tang.

Linda is brought back to the spaceship just as a volcano erupts, spewing stock footage of molten lava. The Cosmos 1 then prepares to blast-off when the love-sick Linda escapes to look for Tang.

Will she find her lover? Is he dead or alive? Will they be engulfed in molten lava?

This film was based on a script called Prehistoric Planet, but producer Jack Broder decided to change it to “Women of…” because he thought it would be better for marketing. To justify his decision he filmed three native girls frolicking in the pond and waterfall, but these scenes never made it into the final cut of the movie, though they do appear in the movies’ trailer. What we are left with is a film with no women of the prehistoric planet, except, that is, if you count Linda.
Wendell Corey attempts to act sober
On the subject of Linda, she is so cute! Played by Chinese born actress, Irene Tsu, who was once a winner in the San Francisco "Miss Chinatown" beauty pageant in 1961, her career spanned TV and film. She appeared in many episodes of cult TV shows and also appeared along side Elvis Presley in Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966).

Wendell Corey, who plays Admiral David King, sounds drunk throughout the film - his voice noticeably slurring while he and the other male crew members wear very un-fetching tight white outfits that really show off there pot-bellies and middle aged-spread.
The special effects in this film are horrendous and are more in line with the Flash Gordon serials from the late 1930’s, with similar shaped rockets hanging on pieces of string and flown over very noticeable model planet terrain. Even the volcano in the background has smoke rising from it done in such away that it was probably a lit cigarette butt which had been stuck in side and the smoke allowed to drift out.

Saying all of that, there are a couple of quite interesting and intelligent ideas in this film, notably a statement on race issues.

All in all, this film makes for an interesting curiosity.

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