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  Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women Sirens Of VenusBuy this film here.
Year: 1968
Director: Peter Bogdanovich, Pavel Klushtansev
Stars: Mamie Van Doren, Yuri Sarantsev, Georgi Tejkh, Gennadi Vernov, Mary Marr, Paige Lee, Aldo Romani, Margot Hartman, Irene Orton
Genre: Trash, Science Fiction
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Spaceman Andre (Gennadi Vernov) pines for the womanly presence he felt while on the planet Venus during the future year of 1998. A previous mission to explore the planet had hit disaster, and Andre's crew were sent to save them and bring the survivors back to Earth. But Venus is a hostile place and, unbeknownst to the spacemen, its sea is inhabited by telepathic and aquatic women whose paths cross with the men from Earth...

In 1962 the Soviet Union produced a science fiction epic called Planeta Bur (Planet of Storms); ever the bargain hunter, producer Roger Corman bought the footage and hired Curtis Harrington to incorporate it into a film, Queen of Blood. The story doesn't end there: the footage was then used for Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet and finally, Peter Bogdanovich made his directorial debut (and provided the narration for) Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women.

This effort largely consists of the Russian film cut together with shots of Mamie Van Doren and assorted young ladies dressed in shell bikinis wandering about a rocky shore as the waves crash around them. They speak in voiceover while the Russian actors are dubbed, and although Andre is supposed to be besotted with the alien women, they never see each other - just the eerie singing of the mermaids is heard. The difference between the original footage and the new stuff is painfully obvious.

Planeta Bur looks to be a slick space fantasy for its time. After the American introduction which shows toy spaceships, the Russian models are a noticeable improvement, carefully designed, and the costumes and props are all very appealling. The cosmonauts have to contend with dinosaur men who fling themselves at the invaders, an attacking pterodactyl, and an erupting volcano which spews lava in their general direction. Fortunately they have their technology to depend on, and in particular a large robot who assists the lost spacemen, even though he malfunctions at a crucial moment.

In the hands of Bogdanovich, the film is an almost surreal experience. With odd details like the robot now mundanely named John (presumably because of the large "J" on his chest) and strange jokes (one spaceman wishes for a bus to take him home), the interspersed new footage comes across as a pretentious experimental film. The ladies are shown eating raw fish, carrying the rubbery body of the pterodactyl, and worshipping false idols, none of which is convincingly edited into the main plot - they all look irrelevant. Cheap, but bizarre.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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