Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women is a 1968 American science fiction film, one of two which were adapted from the 1962 Soviet SF film Planeta Bur for Roger Corman. The original film was scripted by Alexander Kazantsev from his novel and directed by Pavel Klushantsev; the adaptation was made by Peter Bogdanovich, who chose not to have his name credited on the film prints, and included American-made principal scenes starring Mamie Van Doren. The film apparently had at least a limited American release through American-International Pictures Inc. but is best known from subsequent cable-TV showings and home-video sales.
Astronauts landing on Venus kill a creature that resembles a pterodactyl and is worshiped by the local women. The women try and fail to kill the astronauts by means of their superhuman powers. Eventually, the astronauts escape the planet, and their robot, damaged by a volcanic fire, becomes the women's new god.Mamie Van Doren as Moana
Mary Marr as Verba
Paige Lee as Twyla
Gennadi Vernov as Astronaut Andre Freneau
Margot Hartman as Mayaway
Irene Orton as Meriama
Pam Helton as Wearie
Frankie Smith as Woman of Venus
The movie was known as Gill Men at one stage.
It was the last film made by the Filmgroup company.
Of the production, Bogdanovich himself has stated:
[Planeta Bur] was a Russian science-fiction film that Roger [Corman] had called Storm Clouds of Venus that he had dubbed into English. And he came to me and said, "Would you shoot some footage with some women? AIP won't buy it unless we stick some women in it." So I figured out a way to work some women in it and shot for five days, and we cut it in. I narrated it, because nobody could make heads or tails of it. Roger wouldn't let me add any sound. It was just a little cheap thing we did, and people think I directed it when I really only directed 10 minutes of it.
Bogdanovich said he had to paint out the red star on the spaceship, "in every frame. We painted in some obscure symbol that might pass for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration."
Bogdanovich hired Mamie Van Doren and several other blondes to play Venusians "because I thought everyone should be blonde on Venus. I dressed them up in rubber suits, bottoms only and put shells over their breasts. I had them traipsing around Leo Carillo Beach for a while shooting inserts that might relate to Venus". Bogdanovich says he gave the girl characters "South Sea movie names" because "it seemed right".
One of the girls was afraid of sharks and when she was in the water they threw her a rubber fish; she got hysterical, grabbed the fish and bit its head off. He said that people did not understand the film and its new sequences when first cut together so he added narration. He decided one of the astronauts, "the best looking one", should narrate the film. Bogdanovich wrote the narration and did the voice himself; it was the one credit he took on the film.
Bogdanovich also stated he did not claim credit as director because "such a small piece of it is mine," although in fact his adaptation of the Planeta Bur material had much more original material than the other, made by Curtis Harrington. His then-wife Polly Platt worked on the film as a production designer.
In a retrospective on Soviet science fiction film, British director Alex Cox compared the movie to Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet and called Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women "equally classic."