Slave Girls (England 1967)

Rating: **
Alternate Title: Prehistoric Women (U.S. Title)
Review Date: 5/15/05
Director: Michael Carreras
Cast: Martine Beswick, Edina Ronay, Michael Latimer

The ultimate showdown of blondes versus brunettes. As far as I can tell, the caveman genre of the 1960's served the sole purpose of dressing women in as little clothing as possible. Savage, animalistic, pulp exploitation, which is what Hammer Studios excelled at. David Marchand (Michael Latimer) is a British safari guide, trying to help his crusty British client bag a leopard. When the big cat is wounded, David gets angry and delivers one of the most absurd lines I've ever heard. "These animals are a part of my life. I won't tolerate them being abused." I suppose hunting and killing is fine, but hurting them is right out. In tracking the wounded beast to finish off the job, he wanders into the forbidden lands of the White Rhinoceros and is sentenced to death by its superstitious inhabitants. A split second before his execution, he is transported back in time and learns the origins of the White Rhinoceros legend. There, he is captured by the cruel and marvelously fit Martine Beswick, who rules a tribe of prehistoric women. The brunette women are her subjects, while the blonde women are her slaves. The men have it even worse, as they are locked away in a cave and condemned to work as blacksmiths. Naturally, Kari (Beswick) takes a liking to the mysterious stranger, while David has eyes only for a slave girl named Saria (wide-eyed Edina Ronay). David eventually musters up a rebellion and overthrows Kari's harsh rule, which sends him back into the present. With the curse of the White Rhino lifted, he is freed by his captors and goes back to camp, where he discovers the daughter of his client is the reincarnation of Saria. Gack.

An odd piece of jungle exploitation that focuses primarily on skimpy clothing and primitive tribal dancing. Even stranger is that it attempts to be a cautionary morality play about animal cruelty, slavery, and the crimes of mankind. I suppose it's well acted, but the whole presentation comes off as rather silly. (especially the fact that everyone speaks perfect English) Unfortunately, the pacing is dreadfully slow and there's not much in the way of action. Just lots of dancing and exposition. Michael Carreras' direction is solid and the production is bright and colorful, but not overly interesting. Not one of Hammer's better outings.