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Film / Women of the Prehistoric Planet

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A 1966 science fiction film directed by Arthur C. Pierce, starring Wendell Corey and John Agar.

A convoy of human spaceships are returning to their homeworld after a long mission; the mostly Caucasian crew is supplemented with "Centaurans", Human Aliens played by Asian actors and with a fittingly tense backstory of racial-slash-imperialistic tension. The tension comes to a head when one ship in the convoy is hijacked by some of the Centaurans aboard and crash-lands on the third planet of a distant solar system, killing most of the crew. Nevertheless, the admiral commanding the convoy disobeys orders and turns back to rescue any survivors of the lost ship.

Because of Time Dilation, the rescue ship arrives some 20 years after the original ship crashed (local time). The crew begins searching the site for any clues to what might have happened, with many falling prey to the dangers of the jungle planet in the process. Meanwhile, one of the Centaurian crew, a girl named Linda, meets Tang, a young man of Centaurian descent and falls in love with him, while discovering another part of the story of the lost ship.

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In the end, the admiral has to decide how far he'll go to protect his own, and Linda has to decide where she'll call home.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode see here.


This film contains examples of:

  • Adam and Eve Plot: Implied to be the fate of Linda and Tang, both being mixed race humans and Centaurians.
  • Covers Always Lie: The poster is...not an accurate representation of the film. Short of some verbal antagonism between a Centaurian and an injured human woman among the wreck survivors of Cosmos III, there's no actual Girl Fight in the movie and the plot primarily explores themes of colonialism and racism rather than the battle of the sexes.
  • Earth All Along: The infamous Twist Ending. However it's also foreshadowed: The cast mentions they are in the "Solaris" system several times, with Sol being the Latin name for our sun. Furthermore, the crash occurs on the system's third planet. Additionally, the fact that one of the two races is Centaurians, with Proxima Centauri being the closest star from Earth, just near enough that it could be reached within a human lifetime assuming the craft could reach a sufficiently high fraction of the speed of light.
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  • Fantastic Racism: Against the Centaurians.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: This big reveal is hinted at very early on.
  • Never Trust a Title: We never see any women from the Prehistoric Planet; and of the handful of women on the spaceship crews, only one is a main character.
  • Parental Abandonment: For Tang, mostly because they're stuck inside a block of ice. (Or behind a pane of glass, but Willing Suspension of Disbelief and everything...)
  • Slurpasaur: The rescue team encounters a "monster" that's just a close-up of an iguana.
  • Time Dilation: In the few weeks it takes Cosmos I to reach the planet at extremely high-sublight speeds, twenty years have already passed on said planet. The description one character gives when trying to explain it to another is simplistic, but reasonably accurate.
  • Too Dumb to Live: And why, pray tell, do they need to use that tiny branch to traverse the acid pit, when there's a clear path around the pit all of five feet away???
  • Twist Ending: It's an Adam and Eve Plot, and this was Earth All Along.

The third planet from the sun will be known as... Earth.
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