Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Voyage to the Planet of the Prehistoric Women|
Actors: Judy Cowart, Margot Hartman, Pam Helton, Paige Lee, Mary Marr
Director: Pavel Klushantsev
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Retromedia, I love you!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You gotta hand it to American International Pictures and Roger Corman. In the mid 60s, Roger purchased a Russian sci-fi flick called "Planeta Burg" for a song and some Vodka, and footage from it was used for what turned out to be VOYAGE TO THE PREHISTORIC PLANET in 1965. That film added actors Basil Rathbone (in one of his final roles) and Faith (THIS ISLAND EARTH) Domergue. Directed by Curtis Harrington (under the pseudonym "John Sebastian"), it's a clumsy melange of veteran actors on cardboard sets trying to interact with a more impressively produced import.Milking the bone dry, footage from this Soviet space saga was also transformed into something called VOYAGE TO THE PLANET OF PREHISTORIC WOMEN. Directed by Peter Bogdanovich (only a few years shy from his Oscar-nodded THE LAST PICTURE SHOW) under the name Derek Thomas, this patchwork was even more mind-numbing (but somehow more entertaining), and like its predecessor, sold straight to television. Bogdanovich also narrates the proceedings (with proper screen credit given) as one of the film's cosmonauts.The plot has a group of male cosmonauts landing on a planet (Venus) searching for lost comrades. They encounter men in rubber dinosaur suits, a giant plant with vicious vines, and pterodactyl that looks like the cousin of THE GIANT CLAW. The new American footage features 50s blonde bombshell Mamie Van Doren and other actresses in blonde wigs as a tribe if women who lie around the seaside rocks. Sporting clamshell bras and gray paint around their wastes, they communicate through telepathy and worship the dead pterodactyl who is also represented as a rock sculpture.The original Russian footage (dubbed into English) is superior, with dazzling sets and costumes, and great outdoor and cavern locations that give it a surreal fantasy look. They have an intimidating robot that looks like "Robbie" on steroids, and a cool land rover to get around. Some Toho-like miniatures are also on hand. The Bogdonavich-lensed stuff is much campier to say the least, with Mamie and the babes looking pretty and biting into rubber fishes filled with fake blood. Besides Van Doren, all the other girls are unknown except for Margot Hartman, wife of producer/director Del Tenney who was also in some of his films (CURSE OF THE LIVING CORPSE, PSYCHOMANIA).Retromedia has presented VOYAGE TO THE PLANET OF PREHISTORIC WOMEN on DVD in a non-Anamorphic transfer that looks to be letterboxed at 1.66:1. Colors are pretty nice--the colors in the original Russian footage look muted to begin with, so the American footage fares much better in appearance. There are some nicks and scratches in the print source, and the picture jumps a bit in spots, but the transfer is satisfying overall. Audio is clear and free of any noticeable defects.Extras include "Being Mamie," a new video interview with Mamie Van Doren that lasts over 20 minutes. At 71, Mamie is as sassy as ever, and the interview talks about most of the films she has acted in. There are some funny stories and interesting anecdotes told (apparently she was not crazy about Bogdonavich), so this disc is a must for her fans. Also included is a full reproduction of a Russian photo novel for the original film, as well as a brief still gallery. There are also some very sarcastically amusing liner notes by Thorn Sherman on the back cover. According to Retromedia, Bogdonavich declined an offer to do a commentary track."
Voyage To The Planet Of Telepathic Vulcanism
Robert I. Hedges | 12/06/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Now I like theatrical cheese as much as the next person, but this is a moldy piece of stinky gouda. This film is essentially a bunch of often-seen stock footage (most of which came from behind the Iron Curtain) shown in glorious sepia and white. The box says the film is in color, but the reality is generally otherwise. This is a real chore to get through even for devoted fans of bad movies.
The plot, as much of it as there is, concerns three groups of voyagers to Venus, who find giant man-eating flowers, pterodactyl-like flying things (the earlier reviewer was spot on in his comparison to "The Giant Claw," which is, tragically, a much better movie), and the most ridiculous six foot tall tyrannosaurus creatures wrestling around in mud with astronauts (and a robot). About 35 minutes into the movie we finally see the women, headed up by Mamie Van Doren, who generally sing like Sirens, and incant for volcanic eruptions to thwart the intruding astronauts. The astronauts have particularly silly and incongruous equipment, especially their atomic powered flying car (that also doubles as a submarine), and are dubbed into English with some of the worst dialogue in film history.
The whole mess is narrated in flashback by one of the astronauts who, of course, is in love with a woman on Venus, and pines for her in a plot reminiscent of "Nude on the Moon," which, even more tragically, is also a better movie than this.
For mind-numbing bad film exposure this is tough to beat, but I still give it two stars for the audacious compilation of film from so many sources into a finished work that almost makes sense. Watch it at your own risk, because only the strong survive.
Roger Corman And His Babe Army Are Here!
Bindy Sue FrÝnkŁnschtein | under the rubble | 11/10/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Alright, this movie started out as a straight-forward sci-fi epic about the first ship on venus. Filmed in eastern europe (I've heard it was made in hungary, poland, czechaslovachia, and / or russia; take your pick) in 1963 or so, Roger Corman got a hold of it, brought it to america, and "fixed" the film for american audiences. Some "dull" scenes were removed and scenes with Faith Demergue (floating in a spacestation) and Basil Rathbone (at a moonbase) were added. Both performers seem as bored as they are boring. This "new" movie was called VOYAGE TO THE PREHISTORIC PLANET. Next, in about 1967, Corman removed the Demergue / Rathbone scenes, turned over the camera to Derek Thomas (aka: a young Peter Bogdanovich), and inserted Mamie Van Doran and a host of scantilly-clad uber babes. Thus, the confoundingly confusing mess, VOYAGE TO THE PLANET OF PREHISTORIC WOMEN was born! Instead of a venusian adventure, it's a playboy bunny sunbathing contest, with a few astronauts and a robot running around! Unfortunately, there's a load of unnecessary narration in this one that's only slightly less painful than swallowing a porcupine. I'm not really complaining. I mean, I enjoy this type of hyper-schlock. If you like babes in seashell bras (and who doesn't), then this one's for you..."
If you can't make it campy enough the first time...
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 01/22/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"In 1965 Roger Corman and a small gang of others took a Soviet movie, added some scenes with Basil Rathbone and Faith Domergue, and created a reasonably serviceable science fiction movie titled "Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet." There were some strange moments and a few funny moments, but the movie was a reasonably campy, low-budget science fiction film. Apparently someone (Corman perhaps) decided the movie was insufficiently schlocky and gave it one more shot.
In the original movie we see two groups of men wandering around Venus. The first group crashed and is trying to get rescued. The second group of men is trying to find the first group of men. As both groups wander around they encounter a cheesy looking reptilian bird, a deluge, and an erupting volcano. In this movie Corman provides an explanation for these happenings; an explanation that probably would have been better left unexplained.
It turns out that there were a bunch of blond Barbie clones wandering the planet with telepathic powers and excessive chest development. These women, who spend a lot of time lying around with 60s-looking pants and shell tops, walk around acting like a coven of witches with too much makeup, false eyelashes, and too little in the way of prehistoric attributes. Their hair is, of course, perfectly styled, in spite of the fact that they spend a lot of time in the sea. Mamie Van Doren, one of the three M's of the 50s and 60s (Jayne Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe included), is the leader of the Venusian blonde babes, who include a cluster of women who may have been so embarrassed by this movie that most of them never appeared in a film again.
The movie switches between the men and the women, who (a rare-for me-plot spoiler here!) never meet each other. The women perform some mumbo-jumbo ritual, and some catastrophe hits the men. I was wondering in "Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet" why all these things happened right at the particular moment.
This movie was completely unnecessary. If "Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet" was unbelievable, this movie is pure fantasy. I am sure director Peter Bogdanovich looks back on his first feature(?) film with some fondness as well as with some embarrassment. If you buy this turkey be sure you have your sense of humor handy.
This movie was also titled "The Gill Women" and "The Gill Women of Venus," though gills were never evident to my disbelieving eyes. Now you have three movie titles to avoid. Let's hope no one ever gets the idea to remake this thing.