So, we had our Wild
Women of Wongo (strictly platonically, guys) and now we have Prehistoric
Women. There’d better be an
exploding volcano in this one or else there’ll be trouble!
We start out with jumpy titles and understated music. The titles are so jumpy, in fact, that one is tempted to yell for the projectionist’s attention. Finally our cast screen is settled—sort of . We’re told that Laurette Luez plays “Gri” and Allan Nixon plays “Gor” and the next character names are “Ee,” “As,” “Va,” “Le” and finally “G” and “H.” And sometimes “Y” isn’t that right? So unless the screenwriters were very frugal with names, I suspect our framing is still pretty off. Of course, this is in prehistoric times, maybe we didn’t discover the second syllable principle til later.
Wasn’t Allan Nixon in Mesa of Lost Women? This makes the second I’ve seen of his “Women” Pictures. Lucky me!
John Merrick (the Elephant Man?) plays “Be Leader” which sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? I always thought the verbs should have someone to look out for them. Raoul Krushaar wrote the music, he is probably best known for his evocative score for Invaders from Mars. Howard Anderson did the special effects—that name sounds familiar. Writers, producers and director are people I’ve not heard of. Maybe that’s good.
And over some grainy night footage, our narrator starts. “Our knowledge of the prehistoric world, before the first historian sat down to write the story of his people, is vague. It’s founded on the research of archeologists. Their studies of people and dwellings which existed in those times. Existed not only in rocky wastelands, but in the warmer climates, in the plush, prehistoric jungles. Not so very long ago, an explorer in a wild, tropic jungle found evidence which told this story.” We see some pretty crude cave paintings, which seem to show a woman (long hair) holding hands with a man (gorilla face). Our narrator barely pauses. “Nobody knows when these events took place, maybe ten thousand, maybe a hundred thousand years ago. It’s the story of romance when the world was young.”
And we’re back to the usual stuff we’ve been seeing during this narration, a moonlit sky and some vague mountainous silhouettes. “And as all romances must, it concerns itself mainly with one man, Engor, and one woman, Tigri.” I…what? All romances are about these two? Are you sure? Well damn. As an aside, I guess those are Laurette and Allan.
Well, we see Tigri walking along in extreme (and dark and ill-defined) close-up, and the narrator says, “This is the woman of our story. She is Tigri, the leader of her tribe.” We pull out and see that she’s not walking, she’s “dancing” with some other ladies to some tom-tom music. “Under the spell of the full moon, Tigri and the women of her tribe dance restlessly, savagely—“ If you say so, man, from here it’s too dark to see anything other than vague shapes moving around. This is a terrible print. Oh sorry for interrupting. “--impelled by a feeling of frustration, of a promise unfulfilled. They dance not knowing why, and continue until exhausted.” We see an old lady dancing too. I guess. (I wonder what they shot this on—Super8 looks better than this. Maybe it was shot on 4mm film.)
We really can’t make out much of what’s happening. Some swaying motions, some things that might be faces or hands or legs moving in the light…this would make a really good abstract film, because it just looks like moving patterns. You hippies could probably have a good “freak-out” to this. In fact, why don’t you go do that? (Damn dirty hippies.) I have to say, though, this footage doesn’t lend itself well to storytelling. I fear this film is going to be rough going.
I think there was a panther tied up with a rope. Then we’re back to the Prehistoric Hippy Freak Out. This goes on for over a minute of nothing more than vague shapes doing the frug, then they collapse onto the sand. The old lady says, “Prow, trow.” She continues to gesture and repeat this softly as the narrator tells us, “The wise one tells them to be calm.”
We “see” (in the sense that a camera has been pointed and we can discern a face in the murk) another young lady. “This is Lohti,” the narrator tells us. We then pan to another woman. “This is Arva.” We pan to Tigri, and the narrator blabs, “This is Tigri, you’ve met her before.” We pan to more and more of the Prehistoric Women. “This is Tulay. This is Eros. This is Meeka. This is the Wise One. Old as the moon and wise as the sun.” We see her gesturing comforting gestures at the exhausted women. “She knows why the young ones dance so restlessly in the light of the full moon.” As she makes doing-the-laundry type gestures, we’re told, “She’s telling them the story of the founding of their tribe. She explains that many moons ago, the tribe was founded by Tanna, the mother of Tigri. In those days, the women were the slaves,” the narrator tells us with clear disapproval. “And in Tanna’s tribe, as in all other tribes, no woman dared question the men. The men needed only to order, and the trembling women hastened to obey.”
We track in on this group of listeners. “She tells them that when they were small children, they lived deep in the jungle, the young ones of a band of jungle dwellers.”
And suddenly, the movie becomes bright and you can see things! Argh, my eyes, why didn’t they use the fear-flasher or the horror-horn to warn us of this turn!
Well, now that we’ve put some eye-drops in, we see a group of children playing with something vague and dark. Maybe the panther? Or, if we slow it down…um, some vague creature. Okay. We pan back and see some bemused adult women looking upon these frolics with kind indulgence. We stop on one of these women.
”This is Tigri’s mother, Tanna,” Mr. Narrator pops up to tell us. “She and the others have stopped for a momentary rest.” Okay, it’s a bear. Still seems kind of dangerous. Tanna looks off at some noises in the distance. “Tired from carrying the carcass of a dead animal.” We see some Prehistoric Men show up, and they indicate their impatience and also that the women should return (it goes something like “Tanna! Roh!” with a sort of “Geez, Edith” gesture thrown in). Wow, that was an easy revolution to crush.
”The angry leader of the tribe comes back to find out why the women are falling behind. To him, weariness is no excuse.” The women herd the children back, by saying “Ghoura.” Yes, that usually works. “Tanna and the other women wearily pick up the carcass and continue.” In the background, the pet bear balks at leaving.
Fade as the Prehistoric Men are tramping through the Prehistoric junglish-type landscape. They are unencumbered save by (no doubt ceremonial) spears, while behind them come the women bearing dead animals. Tanna, however, says “Bra!” and holds up her hand. The other ladies drop their load as she does. “By now the women are completely exhausted, and must pause again for rest.” Which they do, though the music suggests this may not be a really good idea. You know, what with those short-tempered men and their (no doubt ceremonial) spears.
Sure enough, “Angrily the leader storms back and yells for them to get going.” Actually, he just smacks Tanna. “The rebellious Tanna tells him that the men should carry the dead animal.” Well, this is too much for Leader, who smacks Tanna down. She grabs some close object and smacks the Leader guy, who falls unconscious. “Knocked to the ground, the infuriated, desperate Tanna throws a rock at the Leader, felling him.” Wow, thanks, if you hadn’t said that, I wouldn’t have noticed that at all!
As they all flee under Tanna’s direction, the narrator tells us, “Tanna immediately realizes that they must flee with the children, or the men of the tribe will take revenge on them.” As we see the women quickly gathering the children and rushing off into the jungle, the narrator tells us that “The women quickly gather the children and rush off into the jungle.” Oh wow, I totally missed that too, I think! I mean, I must have, right?
As the women survey their surroundings to effect their escape, the men show up and bring the Leader to his feet. The women dash off, and the men say things (in high pitched voices) like “Geena!” Then a low-voiced guy says “Roh!” Just so there’s no confusion about the gender depicted in the murky film. “The stunned leader orders the men to go after the women, but the women have eluded them.” After a whole three seconds of searching, too. Man, that is being elusive all right.
And we’re back in the darkness, as the Wise One gestures some more and tells the assembled ladies stuff. The narrator, on the other hand, says, “The wise old woman tells them how as time passed, the tribe prospered under Tanna’s able leadership. And the little girls learned how to fend for themselves.” We fade back to some brightly lit locale. Some women are standing in the water. “They all learned the skills of hunting and fishing for their food.” Tanna spears a fish, and tosses her triumphant catch to the shore, to some kid. And she goes back to fishing. The kid wanders off.
”The child on shore, like all children are wont to do, decides to wander off and do a little exploring herself.” Yeah. That’s what she’s doing, I reckon. Yup. I mean, the narrator said so!
Sudden shock cut to some bearded guy against a bright sunny sky. “The entire tribe is unaware that they have been sighted by the terrible Guavy.” Well, the little girl is running in alarm. She’s part of the tribe, isn’t she? So it’s not the entire tribe. So there. “This nine foot tall monster has roamed the jungle for years, bringing death and destruction to whatever he touches.” In the river bank, Tanna senses a disturbance in the Force and calls the other two to the shore. “Tanna sees the little girl is missing and calls to the other women to follow her in search of the child.”
We see a close-up of the terrible Guavy, and he sure looks maniacal. The narrator spells is out for us. “Savage. Merciless. Possessed of Herculean strength. Guavy is the most feared thing in the prehistoric world.” Actually, he looks like he could be defeated by asking for the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow.
But never mind that. We see the little girl running along through the foliage, and arriving at the Wise One. “The little girl explains to the Wise One as best she can, that she has seen the terrible giant.” The youngish Wise One makes some gestures and grunts a bit. And she calls out what I guess are names. I guess they are kid names, because various kids congregate around the Wise One.
Then we cut to Guavy walking through the jungle, and a shrill scream. “Guavy has successfully captured two of the women and is carrying them off.” Okay, I guess if you rewind and watch carefully you can see that this is what is happening. Fine.
Up in some other footage, a jungle babe—or Prehistoric Woman—is clambering down some foliage. It is apparently Tanna. “Tanna was the only one to get away, but has been mortally hurt and dies with Guavy’s name on her lips.” She turns toward the jungle footage as she perishes in fear. And she says “Guavy” twice, just so we don’t miss the bit how she died with his name on her lips and all.
The Wise Old Woman gathers the kids together and rushes off, while the narrator tells us, “The Wise Old Woman flees with the children,” and we blur out, no doubt so we can go back to that underexposed footage that we started with. “Even now, fifteen years later, the mention of the dreaded name of Guavy still strikes terror in the hearts of these same girls. They know that the hideous giant still ranges the jungle.”
But the Wise Old One is able to conquer these fears by saying, “Aneeda, Aneeda” and stuff like that, words which have magically calmed children for centuries. “The Wise One tells them that they must forget their hatred of Anear, their word for ‘men.’ The moon is full; by the time of the advent of the next full moon, they must find and capture themselves husbands if the tribe is to survive.” Tigri looks ominous at this, but nevermind, it’s morning now.
Tigri walks through the jungle foliage, followed by the rest of the ladies and the pet panther. “And the next morning, the six determined women set forth on their mission, accompanied by one of their panthers.” Um, there’s an echo in here….
The Wise Old One watches them go off into the jungle, while sad oboe music plays.
Cross-fade to some guy thrusting through the shrubbery. “This is the man of our story,” the narrator pipes in. “He is Engor.” Shot of another guy. “This is Engor’s friend Ruig.” Two more guys. “This is Kama, and the bearded Ugg.” A tiger walks by. “Engor and his friends are on a foraging expedition. They’re hunting food for their cave-dwelling tribe. They’ve cornered a savage tiger, and are pitting their skill with stone war clubs against this vicious monster of the jungle.” The tiger goes back and forth restlessly. If only Clyde Beatty were here!
The guys watch from the trees. One of them taunts the tiger, then runs off and the tiger gives chase. What kind of strategy is this? I thought they already had the tiger cornered. Anyway, the rest of them decide this looks like good fun so they all take turns taunting the beast, then running away. The music takes a comical turn.
They’re very careful to avoid showing the tiger and the actors in the same shot (the one exception showed the tiger looking like a fat tabby). Finally, one of them runs and jumps over a pile of straw, and the tiger follows but doesn’t jump, and he falls into a disguised pit. The guys are all pretty pleased by the way the whole thing turned out; in the bottom of the pit, we briefly see the tiger impaled on several spikes.
And we cut to a distant shot of the Prehistoric Women walking through the jungle. Wow, they missed all the excitement. Yup, they’re walking all right. Uh huh.
Suddenly the panther bolts into the jungle, and the narrator bolts into some exposition. “The panther, smelling the blood of a dead tiger, excitedly breaks away from the girls. They chase after their pet.” Yeah, that’s what they’re doing all right.
The panther screams and cries as it runs, but apparently only one of the men hears this. He alerts the others to the deafening noise, and they scatter, except one guy who isn’t so lucky. He has to pretend to wrassle with a pretty clearly drugged panther. The women all come running. They stay hidden behind some bushes. Boy, nobody’s putting any effort into helping this guy.
Oh, I guess it’s some manliness thing. The women smile admiringly as their “pet” gets a thrashing, and one of the guys makes as if to help, but he’s held back by a third. Finally, the wrasslin’ guy grabs his club and beats the panther to death (hidden by camera blocking). Damn, sure hope if anyone watches this they’re not animal lovers.
Well, the guy was pretty badly cut up in his fight, so the other three help him to his feet and carry him off. The expressions on the hidden women are pretty hard to read—I can’t tell if they’re pleased, confused, scared, or bummed out. I’m sure the narrator will tell us. “Algon and nearer,” one of them says, seeming pretty angry. They come out of hiding. I think they pick up one of the war axes.
Meanwhile, “Ugg uses the sap from a tree to soothe Engor’s wounds.”
The women pick up rocks in their slings and sling them around their heads, unleashing a storm or rocks about the size of golf balls. One of them smacks Ugg. “Suddenly, Ugg falls unconscious. Engor and his tribesmen are amazed to see that they’ve been attacked by members of the weaker sex.” Who are readying another volley, by the way.
The two non-wounded tribesmen advance, war clubs held high, as the women sling stone after stone at them. None of this fearsome barrage seems to do more than slow the men's progress toward the women. The "battle" goes on for a long, long time. Finally, one of the guys gets about ten feet away, then collapses. The women rush in and club him.
Engor tries to rise, to enter the fray, but those damn rocks just keep coming. Guy Number Two is advancing, when (I think) Tigri rushes at him with her club; he pretty easily drops her, but a blonde comes up behind and whacks him. Engor runs off.
The men are all tied up. As the wounded Engor rushes to escape, Tigri goes to follow, pausing to look down at the dead panther. Another chick, um, I mean Prehistoric Woman runs up to the dead panther and actually touches it. She then runs up to Ugg and smacks the unconscious man, and begins tying him up.
The other women are similarly involved in making sure the guys are thoroughly trussed up. Meanwhile, Engor peaks through some foliage. Tigri runs up, but she doesn’t see him, and he ducks inside some more, and she walks around, then she holsters her club and gets out her sling. Normally, I would think this means she has spotted him and is planning on using a bit of misdirection, but her expression is one of deep confusion. So when she walks off, maybe she’s walking off and not laying a trap.
The wounded Engor staggers to his feet and goes off in the opposite direction. Tigri returns to the other gals. “Ela! Ela, gori,” someone says. Sure sounds important. I think they’re all clustered around the dead panther again.
Now, I understand you’re all sad about losing your pet, and I hated to see it get clubbed myself, but what did you really expect when it attacked someone? Even if that someone was a hated male?
Well, anyway, they get a pair of the trussed up men to carry the dead panther on a stick (which sounds like a snack and might, in fact, be one now). They get some comically loud smacks with clubs as they make to obey. Tigri (who’s giving the orders) looks pretty severely over the proceedings.
”The women order the men to pick up the dead panther and carry him back to their camp.” We see all this happen, too. In case you thought this was all happening on the radio.
Cut to Engor, moving slowly through the grass. “In the meantime, Engor stumbles along through the jungle back to his people.” When we first see him, he’s moving almost parallel to the ground, with one leg stuck out to the side. Then he straightens, and walks a bit more normally. It’s as if the director said, “Okay, you’re wounded! You can hardly use your leg! Um, even though the panther didn’t get near your leg! You stagger…uh. This isn’t working. Okay, you’re wounded, but you’re not that wounded…you limp through the jungle…” and other such things as a director might be wont to call out to help with motivation and such stuff.
We cut back to see Tigri leading the troupe back to the Prehistoric Women area of the jungle. “Era! Era!” Tigri shouts, being a hard task-master and all. And they walk through the scenery.
Which is quite nice scenery, I must mention. There are a lot of jungly-looking plants and trees and rocks and things, and it does look all exotic and stuff. So kudos to whoever was the location manager for this, he really earned his paycheck.
Where were we? Well, we cut to another panther who snarls. “Tannis, go!” Tigri says, and the panther goes somewhere. He doesn’t look happy, though. The men are ordered to put the panther down, and then shoved really hard to show how unhappy these women are. The men look pretty bewildered by it all, and I must admit I share their feeling.
Specifically, whenever Tigri barks an order, the men look like, “Huh? Wha?” as if they don’t understand the language. This seems spectacularly stupid. When the Wise Old One took the kids and decided to educate them, did she make up a whole new language? I could understand if the revolt of the women took place generations ago, but we’re not even one generation removed from the rebellion. So, I’m guessing it means even in the stone age, “intellectuals” were a pretty dim lot.
Of course, maybe it’s just that these men aren’t used to women giving them orders. Which would make more sense, except for the fact that they’re tied up and the women have weapons. So unless they’re spectacularly stupid (could be), they ought to know when to kowtow.
Well, whatever, the Wise Old One shows up and is shown the men. She goes to one and checks his cheeks by pressing her fists into them. Then she slaps his thighs. She checks the next one’s teeth and thighs. Finally, she checks Ugg. Apparently satisfied with these representatives of manliness, she pronounces her verdict: “Kala!” It seems to mean “Good choice!”
So, three of the Prehistoric Women choose a guy each (there’s a bit of rivalry, but easily quashed). Other women carry off the dead panther on a stick. One gal (maybe Tigri, though I doubt it, as she is obviously meant for Engor) threatens her choice guy to climb a ladder double-quick, and he eventually does. She then puts her club in her teeth and follows.
”What type of women are these ruig [sic] wonders, who attack men and live in trees?” asks the narrator. “Meeka gazes at her captive, entranced by her first close look at a male.” She grabs his hair and thrusts his face back, then releases him.
Elsewhere in another treehouse, another couple’s poking session soon descends into tickling. However, that sort of nonsense is stopped with a quick slap. In a third treehouse, our third couple clearly has trust issues, as she’s tying him to tree branches. His expression is basically “Yawn, not again, yawn.”
On the ground, two blondes on patrol (there’s a good name for a band) gaze upward at the imagined hi-jinks. One guy tries to go to second base and a couple of flung stones soon put paid to those plans! Gal gives him a couple of smacks as he falters, and she gives a “thanks!” type smile to the patrolling blondes.
Cut to a cave full of guys, who are doing things like making spears, carving flints and, if I’m seeing this rightly, trying to devise a Jacob’s ladder. “This cave is the home of Engor’s tribe. And these are his people.” Gee, I kind of gathered that from the first statement. “They’re mountain people, cave dwellers.” One old guy suddenly seems alarmed. He says “Mayla!” and gestures for the folks to assemble. They do.
”Their leader looks skyward at a soaring vulture,” says the narrator, and yup, that’s a…well, it’s a big bird in the sky. “Knowing that where the vulture settles, they will find a wounded or dead animal. He motions for his hunters to follow him.” And he does, and they do. They all leave the cave and go out into the brightly lit jungle. Maybe they’ll find a wounded or dead plot.
They actually find a wounded and exhausted Engor, and order him carried back to the cave. “The men find the wounded and exhausted Engor, and carry him back to the cave.” Um, yeah. Good then, we’re in agreement. We watch this happen, by the way. Pretty much in real time, too.
As he’s set down in the cave mouth, a woman rushes up and starts calling his name. “Engor’s mother and the rest of the cave dwellers crowd around the wounded Engor. His mother motions them to carry Engor into the cave where she can tend to him, and while some folks do this, others walk off in unconcern. We then fade to black.
Fade in as the old guy is painting some devil people on the walls. “Weeks have gone by, and the leader of the cave dwellers is marking on the rocks the story of the women as Engor has told it to him.” Engor strides up and looks a bit scared at the drawing. “Time has healed Engor’s wounds, and despite the leader’s protest, Engor is determined upon revenge.” The old guy puts his hand on Engor’s shoulder and shakes his head no, but Engor puts his own hand on the old guy’s shoulder. Wow, this is complex and stuff. Good thing there’s a narrator and everything.
”Engor, ginay!” Engor says, and smacks the picture of the devil person—who I guess is a woman—with his club.
”Engor vows to rescue his tribesmen, and to bring back to this cave as slaves the women who captured them.” Engor’s mom also looks like she doesn’t like this plan. She goes off to try and talk some sense into him, but he’s having none of this “sense” business. It’s all new-fangled and he wants no part of it!
”Engor’s mother, who knows of the women tribe, points out the right direction to Engor.” Wow, and here I thought she was going to do the opposite! Her body language and facial expressions are a master of deception, and, oh all right, I guessed wrong. “She tells him he must cross two mountain ranges—“ He looks pretty pleased to hear this. “—that it will take him two days journey to reach the country of the women tribe.” She does all this communication by waving her arm over her head in a circle.
And Engor goes off, after giving mom a goodbye kiss. The scenery in this shot is very pretty. These people have really white teeth. I’m glad to see they have discovered brushing and flossing.
Sometime later, Engor is walking through some grassy area near a bunch of big shrubs. “Every sense alive for the sound or sight of danger—“ That’s only two senses you know. “—Engor makes his way through the jungle toward the camp of the women.”
Suddenly he’s brought up short as a huge elephant charges at him. There ensues a bit of a chase, and suddenly Engor stumbles and loses his weapon. “Engor stumbles and loses his weapon, but cannot stop for it. He finally eludes the elephant by jumping behind a large boulder, and the lumbering animal passes him by.” So, presumably he can go back and get his weapon now?
No, he’d rather dash around the rock formation in a kind of panic. Fade to him playing with a stick. “Having lost his only weapon—“ You’re forgetting his considerable charm, aren’t you? “—Engor must make a new one, his only protection against the many dangers lurking in the jungle.” He experimentally moves his smallish stick, but even he seems unsatisfied with it. I don’t think it’s going to be good against much of anything, myself, except maybe some small birds.
He goes poking in the jungle for more crap, and finds a rock. He already has some twine, so I guess he’s going to make another axe. Yeah, that’s what it looks like. “Engor gathers some stones, to use for the head of his club. He starts hacking two of them together to make a sharp edge.” Of course, he’s doing this over a small pile of dried twigs and such, so I guess he’s going to build a fire as well. (He may be discovering it; I confess I haven’t taken notice of whether or not there have been man (or woman) made fires in the film.)
”A spark ignites the dry leaves on the ground, and Engor is taken aback by the strange, unknown phenomenon—fire.” Yeah, that’s a good description. “He stretches his arm out to touch it.” That he does. “And draws his hand back in pain.” Yup. “He doesn’t understand it, but he knows that this new discovery of his has the power to inflict injury.” So he stamps it out like a responsible person. He then gathers up his sticks and his twine and some leaves. Maybe he’s discovered tobacco and is going to make a pipe.
Actually, he seems to have made a torch. He hacks his rocks together again, and gets another small fire going.
There’s a snake in the tree above him. Okay, I bet we all see where this is going.
Engor lights his torch. “He is fascinated by the wonder of the first torch.” Yeah, he sure seems like a kid with a new toy. “He calls it ‘pier,’ his word for ‘fire.’” Oh...so they do know what fire is, then.
The snake hisses. “The hiss of a python in the tree startles him to his feet.” He waves his torch at it and it thinks better of attacking him. It drops from the tree and slinks into the nearby river. “He jabs the torch into the water after the snake.” It goes out of course (the torch). “To his surprise he finds, the fire has disappeared. He jabs the torch back again, trying to regain the fire. But, it’s gone.” He looks pretty sad about it, too. Then he gets an idea and grabs his two rocks again. He gets a big grin as another fire begins. He leaves as we fade out, LEAVING the FIRE still burning on the shore. Sure hope that doesn’t spread and destroy someone’s village, you know.
Fade in on one of the women diving off a rock face into a pool. I think she’s supposed to be naked, but it’s sure dark. “Strangely enough, the swan dive was invented before the swan,” the narrator informs us. I didn’t know swans were invented, myself…unless the narrator meant to put a “did” at the end of his sentence. Even then it’s kind of stupid.
”Tigri’s jungle women have developed great skill in swimming.” We see Tigri in extreme close-up smiling before diving. “And it’s one of their favorite recreations.” Well, good. “On this night, Tigri, Ellis and Tulay are enjoying an evening swim in this jungle pool.” They are shot just so’s you can think they’re naked, but you never see anything of course. This movie was made before nudity was invented, you know.
Anyway, the three women jump off the rocks into the pool. Who wants to bet Engor espies this edenic scene and watches from behind some shrubbery? Oh come on, it’s an easy bet.
Ha ha, you would have lost, as our next shot shows the ladies walking through the jungle while drying their hair. Just as well. It probably would have cut twenty minutes out of the running time, and we couldn’t have that. Good grief, what am I saying?
Suddenly, the giant, whose name I have forgotten, attacks. He was apparently standing there the whole time. He grabs the two women who aren’t Tigri while they all scream and Tigri runs off. Just then, a tiger runs up and attacks the giant, and the film goes all blurry and dark as he fights with an obvious stuffed toy. He has to drop the two women to defend himself, but they just seem to collapse. No, wait, they all run away.
Giant-Man soon breaks the tiger’s neck from the sound of it, and flings the lifeless beanbag creature to the ground as his distaff prizes run off. I bet if anyone interviewed him and asked if he liked this development, he probably would have said something like “No.” Stymied by the women’s tactic of “running away quickly,” he looks rather lost before he walks away.
And we cut to some well lit grasslands as Engor walks along the river. He drinks from it briefly and then crosses. And he walks off some more. “Over rocky bed-streams [sic], Engor continues on his way. He is now approaching the outskirts of the jungle territory.” He looks pretty unsure how to proceed, then picks a direction and prances off. He beats on a couple of tiny trees just to keep in practice.
You know, for someone entering hostile territory, he’s certainly being casual in his sauntering. No attempt to look for traps or lookouts or anything. Then he gets a look of startlement.
”Suddenly, he sees ahead of him, the huge giant, Guady” Yeah, there’s the giant again. “Terrified, Engor decides that the tree is his best hiding place and quickly climbs up into it.” We see this happen. However, as Engor settles into his nest, Guady looks up just where Engor is sitting. He doesn’t appear angry or excited or anything, he looks pretty annoyed, actually. Damn it, another person to beat down. When do I get a break?
Anyway, he strides up to the tree and swings his bone at Engor. It misses, and also barely misses a small round thing, which I bet is going to be a bees nest. Actually, it’s just a bit of fruit, and while Engor remains stock-still in the branches, Guady grabs the fruit and chows down. Good thing it isn’t a bees nest then.
Nodding at how good the fruit is, Guady leaves, but not before we see that Engor is (perhaps) three feet off the ground behind him, and easily reachable. The giant now departed, the music settles down and Engor climbs down and walks right into a fade-out.
Fade in with some harp music as Engor walks around a bit. He hides as the three women stride into view, but since “hiding” for Engor consists of “rattling around the brush like a ballet dancer” they easily discern his presence and decide to capture him. They conceal themselves in a tree and wait.
Engor stumbles toward their position, not really making much of an effort at stealth. In fact, he staggers around like he’s had a few. Tigri looks at him and has this expression that looks like Love but it might just be a headache. Or maybe she remembers him from before. She goes out into the open to be bait, and Engor crouches down and tries to sneak up on her. You know, it’s a wonder Engor’s people manage to feed themselves.
The women in the trees attack Engor and Tigri joins in, and they all beat on him with clubs. They quickly render him unconscious and bind him, then drag him to his feet. He awakens just in time to do his own walking.
Soon, he’s being led through the jungle. Another panther snarls at him, but Engor isn’t afraid. They’re now at the women’s camp.
Ugg is grooming his mate. But she turns to look at the new arrival, as do all the ladies in town. “It seems that women were women in those days too.” They’re all quite lasciviously giving him the once-over. “A handsome male captive makes his appearance, and suddenly there’s trouble.” Tigri and some leopard-skin wearing woman nearly come to blows over the new meat.
But then one of Engor’s old pals calls to him. Engor calls back. The other two pals make their presence known as well. Ugg is comically smacked to continue his grooming chores. (He’s called “Kama” by Engor but I don’t care.)
Tigri is given a pat on the shoulder as if to say, “Good job,” while Leopard Skin and Engor make faces at each other, hers of desire, his of anger. Tigri shoves Leopard Skin. “Tigri is not sure yet why she objects, but she wants no interference, until she decides whether or not she herself wants him as her husband.” Shoved, Leopard Skin walks dejectedly away. Then, as Tigri shoves Engor toward somewhere, Leopard Skin turns and looks angrily.
Tigri unties Engor and indicates some kind of chores to be done. “Engor is tempted to strike back at his captor, but the ever-watchful, snarling panther is a warning for him to be careful. He decides that caution is better than tangling now with this strange band of women.” I’m sure the fact that he sucks as a strategist contributes to this decision. So, after a couple of threats from Tigri and her club, he climbs into the treehouse. Tigri climbs up after him. We get several insert shots of Leopard Skin looking pretty mad, then stalking off.
I’m pretty mad too. I was hoping there might be some excitement. There’s been very little. Please, sir, I’d like some more.
In the treehouse, Tigri grabs Engor by the hair and then threatens him with a club. He looks all shucks and she says “Ha,” in contempt. She took the very words, etc. Fade to black.
Fade in as they’re sleeping together. No, no, not like that. He’s still slumped against the tree trunk, while she’s laid out flat on the flooring. Snoring on the flooring, while no one is scoring; can it get more boring? Let’s keep scoring!
Uh, anyway. They stir a bit. “That night, with the rest of the camp asleep, Engor decides that this is his chance for escape.” He rises and starts to climb down. “Quietly, he starts to climb down the vine. Ah, this is easy, Engor thinks.” The panther growls. You’d think Engor would have remembered that detail. I guess that’s why he’s prehistoric. “But he’s not reckoned with the ever-alert panther, who evidently has just been waiting for him.” Of course, he beat up a panther once, and that was after it took him by surprise.
The growling panther wakes all the women, who pop out of their treetops. They ready their slings, and Tigri looks at the empty spot and puts her hands on her hips just like how Wilma did when Fred was out late bowling with Barney. She tosses the ladder over the side and climbs down.
Here the film becomes so dark and murky that it is literally impossible to see the action. I’m guessing that Tigri tells the panther to go off, and then she makes the somewhat sheepish Engor climb down his vine. She then makes him climb up the ladder. And she goes up after. The other women smile at this put down of men. Tigri looks at Engor the way you’d look at a puppy who was disobedient. That’s her body language, anyway, her face remains an inexpressive mask. This goes on for a while. Either that or Tigri can sleep with her eyes open. Fade again.
Fade in at breakfast time, with the women all sitting in a bunch and tearing strips of something off something else with their teeth and gulping it down. Say, do you suppose Engor’s discovery of “fire” would help make breakfast more palatable? Let’s find out together! Hey, where are you going?
Tigri pops around and says, “Dropo! Appear!” But Dropo remains on Mars and doesn’t appear. The narrator explains why: “Tigri orders the women to feed their men.” A quick insert shot of the panther and they go off to comply. “Arva decides that this is a good time for her to make up to Engor.” We see a shot of Leopard Skin smiling. “She starts to bring him some food.” Tigri tosses some food to the panther, who reacts as if a firecracker went off.
Tigri sees Arva going up the ladder to where Engor is and gets a mad, sour face. “Arva!” she shouts. But Arva keeps going up. “Sudden rage floods Tigri as she sees this.” She rushes off to the ladder. “She angrily informs Arva that she has decided that Engor is to be her husband.” We see a bit of pantomime as the two women snarl and threaten one another.
”Arva violently disagrees,” the narrator goes on. Tigri pulls Arva down by her hair, and so, the fight is on. “And so, the fight is on.” It quickly becomes gal-wrasslin. One blonde chick declares it to be “a gong,” which I guess means “party” and Engor looks on with interest.
Sounds like one of the fighters is also shouting “a gong” but it sounds like “a gun!” Now, prehistoric women, that would be cheating for one of you to have a gun. It has to do with the field surrounding a living organism. Nothing dead will go through.
Anyway, the cat fight goes on for some time before Tigri gets a club and smacks Arva on the hand with it. “Tigri, aneer!” Arva says in (I assume) defeat. Wild eyed, Tigri turns on the rest of the tribe. “Vamoose!” she says. They all slowly vamoose, except for the Old Wise One and Arva. Tigri then strides off, holsters her club, puts a hank of raw meat in her mouth and climbs the ladder.
She holds the meat in her mouth longer than you’d think necessary (she has already reached the summit), then she throws it right at Engor’s crotch.
Hello, Dr. Freud! Didn’t expect to see you round these parts! Or these parts, either! Never mind those pants!
Anyway, he eagerly chows down on the meat and she flops onto the floor again, worn out after a hard day cat-fighting. And she gets a swoony look on her face! You know, how Wilma always forgave Fred and stuff. I guess Tigri just likes the way Engor eats—like a squirrel, really, all gnawing and turning the food over and over and stuff. Where’s the narrator to explain this stuff? Oh sure he’s right there when someone climbs down a vine, and he can say, “Bubo climbs down the vine.” Anyone can do that. In fact, I do it all the time, which is why I have all these bruises.
Finally, she seems to nod off, he notices, he reaches for her, she wakes up and smacks him just a bit with her club. He shrugs it off (no really, he shrugs his shoulders and gives a sheepish grin) and goes back to eating. She returns to her supine pose. This looks like repeated footage. Oh well, best to be frugal, eh film-makers? Fade out.
Fade in as, under Tigri’s supervision, Engor labors over a huge rock. “Engor labors over a huge rock,” the narrator redundances, “which Tigri has ordered him to move.” You can see Tigri getting direction from off camera when the scene opens. “He can’t budge it. Tigri shakes her head with the stupidity of men.” Shouldn’t that be “over”? Of course the narrator is a man, too.
Wow, it looks like Tigri has copped a cigarette from the off-camera guy. “Engor finally gives up, humiliated by her look of scorn.” He stands up, pats her on the shoulder and says “Ginay, elko.” I guess that means “Way to go, bitch” or something. “He asks her if she is so wise and superior, why doesn’t she see if she can move the rock?” Tigri bends to see if she can. She uses a branch as a lever. “Tigri picks up a huge branch,” the narrator informs us all, “and using simple leverage, shows Engor how easy it is to move the rock if you use your head.” So the whole thing was just to humiliate the guy? Damn. As she moves the rock, moaning all the while, Engor thoughtfully rubs his chin.
The rock sufficiently moved, Tigri tosses the branch away while Engor nods, impressed. He pats her on the shoulder, and this time she not only lets him, she looks as if she enjoys this patting rather a lot. She rubs her head against his hand, the way a cat might, and smiles broadly. Engor then caresses her hair and after a moment’s hesitation, she allows that as well. Finally, he goes in for full nuzzling action. She really likes this.
They then formally introduce themselves, saying their names and pointing to each other, then repeating the other’s name and pointing to them. The laugh all the while, then put arms about each other, and we fade back to a cloudy night sky.
There’s a half-moon in the sky, but the narrator tells us, “This is the night before the full moon. Time is running out for the male captives.” We see the Wise Old One beating on some prehistoric tympani. We see all the women dancing, just like at the beginning of this…thing. “By tomorrow, the marriage ceremonies will have been completed.” Engor watches the women doing the frug, or some other primitive dance.
”The Wise One drums, and the women dance as Engor and the men look on with mixed emotions.” We see all of this, including the mixed emotions bit. Actually, the dancing reminds me of that Charlie Brown Christmas show where they were all dancing like they had nerve problems. It’s really quite similar.
”Engor knows too well what the coming of the full moon means, either escape, or servitude, and as he watches the dance, the women pick up their clubs and demonstrate that in their homes, they will be the master.” Well, if you say so, Mr. Narrator. It just looks like the same dancing to me, only some of the women have clubs now.
The men watch all this, occasionally shooting each other a glance. Tigri gets a lot of close up time here.
Fade to the next day, with the guys all lounging together. Engor has a golf ball, or hard-boiled egg, that he can bounce. “Surrounded by the watching women and the ever-guarding panther, the men sit idly while Rueg, who seems to have a fetish for being clean-shaven, is scraping his cheek with a sharp-edged stone.” Engor’s golf egg is taken away from him, then returned as it is just a bauble and thus no danger to the government. Note: The rest of the guys seem pretty clean-shaven too.
Tigri returns to the other gals, having decided her golf-egg inspection duties have borne fruit. She smirks at the males who, after all, are at the barber shop probably gossiping. She pets the panther and sits next to the woman who was already there. Then she gazes wistfully at the guys (though probably mostly at Engor).
”Engor is trying to figure a way out of this trap,” the Narrator says, as Engor loses his golf-egg. Finally, he finds two rocks, very similar to the ones he sparked fire with some time ago. He hefts them thoughtfully. Then he starts striking them together. The women pay no heed, but the men are all interested. Except Engor, who decides these rocks suck and he drops them both.
Then he finds some sticks and snaps them into likeable shapes. He gets really excited. He starts to make another torch. Some women smile at him indulgently.
I guess the rocks were “OK” after all, as he picks them back up and starts smacking them together quite vigorously. A Prehistoric Blonde comes by, apparently on routine patrol, and Engor smiles as if to say How’s it going, and this works because no one is the wiser. Including me.
Blonde goes back to Big Smile Brunette, and they smile some more at these men and their rocks. Wise Old One strolls out, and I bet she can smell the trouble way off. Engor waits until she’s almost half-way gone before he starts trying to get his rocks off again.
This rock-banging starts to attract more attention. Even Tigri looks closer, but a smile from Engor makes her smile all the wider, so it’s all okay I guess.
For a moment. Engor’s vigorous beating of his rocks has attracted her attention again, and she goes over to see what has the men so occupied. But in an instant, her face assumes an expression of terror as a shadow passes over the colony.
”Suddenly, a tremendous black shadow sweeps over the camp.” The miracle of slow-motion shows it is a pelican. “It is Kourax, the flying dragon, the scourge of the skies.” Uh, no, it’s a pelican. At any rate, Tigri raises the alarm and everyone (except the men) scatters.
Tigri collapses as the pelican nears, and Engor redoubles his beating. Soon, he has got a fire! He grabs the torch and, just as the pelican attacks, he thrusts his torch at it, setting it on fire. The pelican makes a sound like a motorcycle crossed with a pig as it flies off.
But Tigri has fainted. Engor hauls her to her feet and thrusts her at the other women (who are still cowering). He then motions for his male friends to run away, and they do. He uses his torch to convey his authority. Actually, the men disarm the women (and not with their good looks, either). Damn, and just when the bridge between the genders was being set up with a toll booth and new walkways, too. Um. Whatever. I mean, men and women were starting to get along.
Tigri orders the (leashed) panther to attack, but a faceful of torch puts paid to that plan. Tigri looks upon this torch and basically despairs. Fade to black.
Fade in as the men are being treated like kings. Wow, it’s always the way, isn’t it? They’re being fanned and fed by hand. “And so the tables are turned,” the narrator says. Hm. Before, the women did all the work and the men were kept. Now, uh, the women do all the work and the men relax. Wow, what a sweeping revolution. “The dominant male is happy and contented. Women wait on him, as though he were a king.” The guy who was shaving earlier now has a woman scraping his face with a sharp stone…wow, that’s trust! Trigi stretches and scratches her back against a tree, while Engor looks on. We watch other scenes of the men lolling and the women tending.
Then we’re back to Tigri stretching and floomphing her hair. However, instead of tracking out (to show Engor) we now track in to a close-up. Gosh, what a master this director is.
Engor says, “Tigri?” in the same way a teenager would ask a girl if she wanted to go dancing with him. She moves down to cuddle with him.
Fade to one of the other guys eating meat by the fire. I wonder if they’ve discovered cooking yet? Some women come and put down more wood for the fire. Some flirting goes on, but I think the ladies were more interested in his meat than in, um, his, uh, you know. He throws the meat on the fire and tells them, “Blow!” so they leave. We see the meat cooking in the fire.
Elsewhere, another prehistoric woman is beating on a tree with a stone axe and not making any progress. I’m not really surprised. When she stops to wipe the sweat from her brow, she is angrily told to get back to work.
Tigri and Engor are out walking. “Tigri, at Engor’s command, is out gathering fruit. She’s hungry and would like to eat some of the fruit, but no, Engor forbids it. The once proud, fiery leader of the tribe meekly obeys.” They find some pigs and Engor sends Tigri in to kill them or tame them or something. They’re just tiny things, and she picks them up and smiles as they squeal up a storm.
Outside, Engor is enjoying some fruit when he hears a roar. He turns and sees a huge tiger. He quickly calls for Tigri and they make their escape. Back at the camp, they sit by the fire where that boorish guy (who told the gals to “Blow!”) is sitting. The guy offers some meat to Engor, but…well, let’s let the narrator tell it. “He offers a piece of raw meat to Engor, who’s intrigued by the scent of the meat in the fire.” He uses a stick to poke out the now blackened slab. He rips off a bit and chows down, enjoying it tremendously. Wow, fire, cooking and carcinogens all in a day! Our ancestors worked fast.
”It tastes fine, and he offers some to Kama and Tigri.” Both of them shake their heads. “At first they refuse.” Engor then forces them to take a bit, and they bite into it. Engor in the meantime is jumping around with joy; I guess this meat was cooked with Jack Daniels or something. Soon, the other two like it as well. Engor readies another huge slab for the fire. “But when they taste it, they both agree that it is delicious. And so for the first time, cooked meat goes on the menu of this primitive tribe. And civilization progresses another step.” And we fade to black.
Fade in on the guys looking bored. “Engor’s thoughts are of his home and his people,” the narrator says, and we see Engor’s mother superimposed on the landscape. He slaps the other guys on the shoulders and says “Eco, eco!” They all rise to their feet.
”He gives orders that they will start on the long trek back to the mountain home of Engor’s tribe.”
Engor tries to convince Tigri to come with, but she doesn’t want to. So he tells her there’s no choice. It’s the same with all the women. Pretty soon they’re all up and going.
”Engor leads them through the jungle, ever alert for the lurking dangers which abound there.” You mean all those dangers he practically walked right into on the way here? Oh, they’re in great hands. They do some more traipsing, then to a sudden musical downturn, Guady the giant appears on the horizon! He sees the procession (they don’t see him) and he draws his plans against the tiny humans. Actually, he pushes some trees aside and gives a nice warning noise thereby.
The prehistoric folks pause, and run away from the sound. Hey, they brought the Wise Old One with them. That was sure nice. Anyway, we see that Guady was actually in the clear so he didn’t have to break anything, he just felt like it I guess. He takes off after the regular folks.
Engor and Company have found what looks like a tiny Stonehenge in the jungle. “Engor spots a natural cave off in the clearing, and orders the group to rush toward it.” They all do.
Guady is hot on their heels and appears behind them; he growls and the women all shriek. They push themselves through the tiny opening between the boulders just in time. Guady laughs and laughs and sticks his head in the opening; he promptly gets it smacked with an axe and doesn’t like this. He tries an arm and gets this smacked as well. So he withdraws and finds a big pokey stick and pokes it in the hole; he smacks on gal on the shoulder, but then the men all take his stick away.
Guady climbs up to the top of the boulder pile. “Then Guady decides to use his tremendous strength to topple over the huge rock covering the top of the cave, so that it will crush the men and women inside.” He starts to move it, and bits of rock fall down.
Engor is clearly thinking quickly. He takes out his two fire-making rocks and assembles everyone. “Engor orders the other men to make torches.” He then starts whacking his rocks together, while Guady continues his lifting.
Finally, Engor gets a good fire going, and the men all now have blazing torches. Engor sneaks outside, and sets fire to Guady’s crotch! Even though Guady howls and clutches his knee, it’s his crotch, I tell you! “As the giant stumbles away—“ Actually, he’s crawling, but whatever. “—howling with pain, Engor orders the other men to encircle the area with fires, so they can forge a burning circle of death for Guady.”
Actually, it just looks like Engor is prodding Guady with a burning stick, but we’ll take that. While he’s doing this, all the women run away. Guady gets a lucky shot at Engor and sends him tumbling. He advances on Engor and narrowly misses crushing his head. Engor then runs away.
”Guady is completely bewildered by the leaping flames, and terrified by the fire.” So, how does he feel about the burning? “He screams in fear.” The men start running away too, and we see that the women have assembled themselves into an audience. Guady roars and jumps and sure seems ticked off. “Engor finds himself also trapped by the encircling fire, and sees that his only escape is to go over it.” He climbs to the top of the boulder pile, grabs a vine, and swings down to the ground past the wall of flames. He runs up to Tigri and they embrace.
Guady will not go quietly into that long night, it seems, as he is just kicking up a terrific fuss. Finally, we get a close up of him, then superimposed flames, and he shuts up, permanent-like.
Fade to Engor and Tigri. “Tigri looks with admiration at Engor. She asks him to change his mind, and return to the women’s camp with his men, where they can start a new tribe.” They say stuff to each other, and hug. “Engor agrees, and tells his friends he has decided to remain.” So they all trudge back to the women’s camp and sit by the fire, the men as well as the women. Everyone is now eating cooked meat. There are smiles all around. Also, some obvious pairing off is happening, through sultry looks and lusty leers.
”The wise old woman is happy as she sees the pairing off of the couples. She knows now there will be peace between the tribes, and that the tribe will increase.” She beats the drums briefly. “She motions for Engor and Tigri to come to her.” They do. “She is going to perform the only kind of marriage ceremony she knows.” She cuts them on the wrist and joins the two wounds together. “With the blending of their blood, Engor and Tigri’s marriage is completed. The first of four marriages to be celebrated that moonlit night, as the women dance the marriage ceremonial, to show their happiness.” Yeah, the drumming and dancing start up again. Isn’t this where we came in?
The women all dance around the seated men. “And so in those distant days, even as today, the eternal battle for supremacy between woman and man was solved, not through the clout and the club, but through romance.” Fade to black, and THE END.
Well, it takes an incredible talent to make Wild Women of Wongo seem interesting, but the makers of Prehistoric Women have that talent to spare. A fairly simple story, that might have made an okay thirty minutes, is stretched out way past the snapping point here. Add some murky photography, some performers who really can't act (though it's hard to judge given the circumstances) and a distinct lack of excitement, and you have something which isn't even prehistoric entertainment.
I will note here that I've transcribed every single word of narration, so you narration fans should be grateful for that.
One has to wonder what the film-makers intended for us. The story's a very simple Romeo and Juliet type thing, wrong-side-of-the-tracks, you know the drill. Perhaps the prehistoric setting is unique, or at least less well-worn, but there seems little point to that other than setting up these gender-specific tribes. You could have done that with a post atomic war film, and had some mutants for excitement then. Instead, we have dancing.
That's the rumor, anyway. The dancing scenes are so poorly filmed it's honestly hard to tell what's going on at all. We hear music and see motion more or less in rhythm with that music, but you can't watch and say, "Hey, good dancing."
In short, it seems like this film was the result of a blind evolutionary path, and it brought forth no progeny. Thank goodness for small favors, then.
Recommended? No, it's simply too boring, on an almost primordial level. Guady livens things up a bit at the end with his attack, and his end seems rather more gruesome than it ought to be, but we're talking a few minutes out of an eternity of bickering and bludgeoning.
Wongo was stupid and boring as well, but at least the cast was attractive and the scenery was shot with that nice tropical glow that made you think the cast and crew had a good time while making the film. The scenery here is more authentic, but the rest of the film is simply a dismal celebration of characteristics we shed long ago on our long evolutionary quest to sit in front of the television.