Women of the Prehistoric Planet is a 1966 American science fiction/action film directed by Arthur C. Pierce and starring John Agar.
A spacefaring crew from an advanced civilization is preparing to return home after an extended voyage. The crew includes “humans” (represented in the film by Caucasian actors and actresses) and “Centaurians” (represented in the film by Asian actors and actresses). The Centaurians have been rescued from their home planet after a catastrophic event, not explained in the movie, has devastated their planet. They are being brought back with the spacefaring explorers with an expectation that they will be assimilated into their new parent culture. One of the ships in the fleet is hijacked by a few of its Centaurian passengers and crash-lands on a prehistoric planet in the “Solaris” system. Countermanding orders, the rest of the fleet returns to search for survivors after the crash. In the film’s “twist,” by the time that the rescuers (traveling at fast sublight speeds) are able to return to the planet, they are encountering the descendants of the original crash survivors – explained in a simplified version of time dilation. Linda, a Centaurian from the rescue ship, falls in love with Tang after he saves her from drowning. After fighting with the planet’s indigenous species (including giant iguanas meant to represent dinosaurs), Tang and Linda are marooned on the prehistoric planet – and the latter is revealed to be the captain’s own daughter. In the film’s coda, this savage and primitive planet is revealed to be Earth.
Race relations are the film’s overarching theme, although its approach to the subject has been typically criticized in retrospect.
“… a blatant social commentary on race relations (from a mid-60s point of view). Even though the screenplay tries to preach fairness, some of the subtle signals send contradictory messages. The crew members of the Cosmos are portrayed as superior. The Centaurians as inferior. The crew are clearly all-white. They dress in tidy white uniforms with snappy cravats. They are in control, follow orders, and are concerned for others. The Centaurians are “rustic,” (and all played by asians) Their outfits are sleeveless. Their men are hotheads and trouble makers. (their women are nice, though). Even the “progressive” notion of Tang being the mixed-race son of a “white” and a Centaurian, is undermined by his apparent comfort at being a cave man. Subtle signal: “They” are savages at heart.
“The real subject matter of the film is race relations, with the “Centaurians” all being played by Asian actors and the “Humans” all played by whites and the message is that different races can and should get along. This is a noble sentiment of course, but the movie around it is both incredibly clunky, unintentionally condescending and has an incredibly lazy twist at the end.”
color, mono, fullscreen, DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic.