Prehistoric Women (1950)

74 mins | Drama, Fantasy | 1 November 1950

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HISTORY

The onscreen producing credits for this picture read: "Produced by Albert J. Cohen in association with Sam X. Abarbanel." The film features a running commentary by an unidentified, present-day narrator, who describes the action and translates the invented language spoken by the characters. HR production charts list director/writer Gregory Tallas, who began his career as a film editor, as the editor; however, the onscreen credits list James Graham as the editor. According to a HR news item, producer Albert J. Cohen was so impressed with the performance of Johann Petursson, the eight-feet, two-inch tall circus entertainer who portrayed the giant "Guaddi," that he extended the shooting schedule and had two new scenes written for him. Portions of the film were shot on location in Whittier, CA.
       According to a memo in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the film was originally rejected because it "dealt with the subject of procreation of a race by women who steal men for that purpose solely." The film was later approved when numerous references to the women starting a new tribe were deleted. Despite the film's generally negative reviews, Prehistoric Women turned out to be very profitable, and modern sources recognize it as one of the most successful exploitation films of its ... More Less

The onscreen producing credits for this picture read: "Produced by Albert J. Cohen in association with Sam X. Abarbanel." The film features a running commentary by an unidentified, present-day narrator, who describes the action and translates the invented language spoken by the characters. HR production charts list director/writer Gregory Tallas, who began his career as a film editor, as the editor; however, the onscreen credits list James Graham as the editor. According to a HR news item, producer Albert J. Cohen was so impressed with the performance of Johann Petursson, the eight-feet, two-inch tall circus entertainer who portrayed the giant "Guaddi," that he extended the shooting schedule and had two new scenes written for him. Portions of the film were shot on location in Whittier, CA.
       According to a memo in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the film was originally rejected because it "dealt with the subject of procreation of a race by women who steal men for that purpose solely." The film was later approved when numerous references to the women starting a new tribe were deleted. Despite the film's generally negative reviews, Prehistoric Women turned out to be very profitable, and modern sources recognize it as one of the most successful exploitation films of its time. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
30 Dec 1950.
---
Daily Variety
12 Mar 1951.
---
Harrison's Reports
23 Dec 50
p. 204.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 50
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Apr 50
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
10 May 50
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 50
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 50
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Jan 51
p.
New York Times
29 Dec 50
p. 15.
The Exhibitor
20 Dec 50
p. 2993.
Variety
3 Jan 51
p. 67.
Variety
21 Feb 1951.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff photog and created by
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 November 1950
Production Date:
27 April--mid May 1950 at General Service Studios
addl shooting 7 June 1950
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Cinecolor
Duration(in mins):
74
Length(in feet):
6,622
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14815
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Under a full moon, a prehistoric, tree-dwelling tribe of women dance with abandon and listen as the tribe's elder tells the story of how the tribe was founded by Tana, mother of the current leader, Tigri: A generation before, women were slaves to the men. One day, Tana threw a rock at the tribal leader, and she and the other women fled into the jungle with their daughters. The women eventually became proficient at hunting and fishing, and lived quite happily until Tana was mortally wounded by Guaddi, a savage giant who had roamed the jungle for years. At the end of the story, the Wise Old Lady tells the women that they must find and capture husbands by the next full moon, to ensure the tribe's survival. The next morning, Tigri and five other women set out on their mission. When the women come across Engor and members of his cave-dwelling tribe, they attack the men and tie them up. Engor escapes, but the rest are taken back to the women's camp, where they are inspected by the Wise Old Lady. Several weeks later, when Engor has recovered from wounds suffered while wrestling with a panther, he vows to rescue his tribesmen and bring the women back as slaves. Along the way, Engor loses his club fleeing from an elephant, and while making a new club, he strikes two stones together and discovers fire. The women ambush Engor as he approaches their camp, and the handsome captive's presence sparks a rivalry between Tigri and Arva. The two women fight fiercely, but Tigri prevails and claims Engor for herself. ... +


Under a full moon, a prehistoric, tree-dwelling tribe of women dance with abandon and listen as the tribe's elder tells the story of how the tribe was founded by Tana, mother of the current leader, Tigri: A generation before, women were slaves to the men. One day, Tana threw a rock at the tribal leader, and she and the other women fled into the jungle with their daughters. The women eventually became proficient at hunting and fishing, and lived quite happily until Tana was mortally wounded by Guaddi, a savage giant who had roamed the jungle for years. At the end of the story, the Wise Old Lady tells the women that they must find and capture husbands by the next full moon, to ensure the tribe's survival. The next morning, Tigri and five other women set out on their mission. When the women come across Engor and members of his cave-dwelling tribe, they attack the men and tie them up. Engor escapes, but the rest are taken back to the women's camp, where they are inspected by the Wise Old Lady. Several weeks later, when Engor has recovered from wounds suffered while wrestling with a panther, he vows to rescue his tribesmen and bring the women back as slaves. Along the way, Engor loses his club fleeing from an elephant, and while making a new club, he strikes two stones together and discovers fire. The women ambush Engor as he approaches their camp, and the handsome captive's presence sparks a rivalry between Tigri and Arva. The two women fight fiercely, but Tigri prevails and claims Engor for herself. The next day, Engor fashions a torch out of some sticks and furtively pounds some rocks together, managing to light the torch just in time to defend the tribe against a flying dragon attack. Still wielding the torch, Engor orders the men to subdue the women, who are then forced to serve the men like slaves. Engor soon misses his own people, and he tells the men to prepare for the journey home. With the captive women in tow, the men make their way through the jungle, where they encounter the terrifying Guaddi. They take refuge in a cave, and the men trap the giant in a circle of fire, leaving him to perish in the flames. Tigri, now in love with Engor, asks him to return to the women's camp and start a new tribe, and when he agrees, the other men follow suit. That night, around the campfire, the couples pair off, and the Wise Old Lady performs the marriage ceremony. The women dance to express their happiness. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.