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50,000 B.C. (Before Clothing)
As part of their worthy public service unearthing treasures of exploitation cinema, Something Weird presents a pair of nudie Caveman movies, from two distinct schools of filmmaking. When Women Played Ding Dong is an enterprising Italian effort shot with a big cast. 50,000 B.C. (Before Clothing) is an impoverished American nudie film from a decade before, that appears to use off-hours burlesque talent. The two features are given Weird's usual generous helping of extras.
When Raquel Welch donned a loincloth for Hammer's One Million Years, B.C., she re-ignited a bizarre trend. When Hammer returned for two followups, they (particularly the third) had generous helpings of nudity, but remained stubbornly serious. Then came a surprise Italian hit called When Women Had Tails, a bizarre soft-core sex romp with luscious Senta Berger (The Quiller Memorandum, Major Dundee). It was a totally brainless, Ugg-Ugg comedy with broad jokes about learning the missionary position, etc.
The Senta Berger film had its own sequel, and When Women Played Ding Dong is a clear attempt to horn in on their modest success. Basically, two tribes of cavemen battle one another until the sexy cavewomen use their charms to divert the cultural energies away from war. 'Ding Dong' is the game of sex, naturally.
As moviemaking, this is very basic stuff. Most of the film is shot on exterior sets of fairly well-dressed tribal camps. The lighting is basic and the 'scope screen allows directors Corbucci and Campanile to play the action loose. There aren't any special effects, and the actual content of the film is basically 30 hairy guys and sexy gals running around on some barren real estate.
Ding Dong wants to be funny rather than outright sexy. There's enough nudity to go around, but most of the soft sex scenes cut away from the action, just as older films did. There's a gay 'interior decorator' typed caveman on hand for some cheap digs. If one is deeply into stupid comedy, there might be a laugh here, but Savant didn't find any. The picture is just a big curiosity.
Euro cult fans might be interested in seeing a leering Antonio Sabato (Grand Prix) as the lead, and Aldo Giuffrè (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly) and Lucretia Love (The She-Beast) as a burly caveman and seductive cavewoman, respectively.
Something Weird has a habit of doubling their features by saddling a reasonable title with a related but less-attractive one. 50,000 B.C. (Before Clothing) is actually more interesting than the Italian film, and will probably better satisfy the average Joe looking for some hot cavewomen to ogle. The model for this cheapo skin flick was probably The Flintstones.
Sometimes you get a mental image of the kinds of people making an exploitation film - the Friedman-style dirty old man with his cigar, and a moonlighting, career-challenged industry professional 'doing it all' to make the film happen. Somewhow, watching B.C., you get the idea that whoever was behind the camera was wearing a tie, with a pocket protector for his pens. The film is incredibly polite, from its put-the-camera-anywhere direction to the demure smiles on the faces of the girls. With the flat lack of creativity associated with 60s industrial films, the story charts the flashback daydreams of Charlie Wishnick, a henpecked trailer-park denizen who imagines himself back in the good old stone age, when unattractive 50ish clods were surrounded by curvacious, willing females.
Charley Robinson looks as if he came right from burlesque, from his bad schtick to his old-wino mannerisms. From Russ Meyer's The Immoral Mr. Teas on, these guys are supposed to be positive identification figures for the lonely dirty old men in the audience: no matter what kind of loser one might be, this guy is worse.
Using an old taxi as a time machine (an interesting association of 'antique-ness' that Philip K. Dick might have picked up on), Eddie flies through history, past a couple of brief historical scenes that look like they were cribbed from other adult films, and into a green valley populated by lice-ridden dirty cavemen and pneumatic, smiling, well-endowed cavewomen.
Many of the soft-core nudie films of the day look as though the producers made a deal with some bar owner to round up the usual babes for a weekend shoot, and got a strange yield of willing but sometimes not-so-gorgeous talent. In Doris A. Wishman's Nude on the Moon, the girls are in general pretty awful-looking. At least some of B.C.'s women, you'll be happy to know, are exceptionally ... talented, real strippers who probably found steady work in sleazy men's magazines, while dreaming of an entree into Playboy or Hollywood. Some are B-girls on the way down, but others might be hot numbers on the way up, somehow sidetracked into the humbling world of triple-Z filmmaking. At any rate, when they smile and pose, a few actually look comfortable, as if enjoying themselves. In the depressing world of softcore adult movies, it really helps to have talent that doesn't appear to be miserable. Too many of the women in these things look as if they're trying to score some cash to bail their boyfriends out of jail, or get their kids back from the foster home. There seems to have been enough time to do some real makeup and hairdressing, which is a big plus.
50,000 B.C. (Before Clothing) is plenty stupid but very unpretentious, with silly titles featuring the girls posing alongside homemade title cards. Most of the rest of the film is padding, weary burlesque mugging by Robinson that's pretty deadly. He's dragged about by cavemen, while observed from afar by nubile beauties - in crude cutaway reaction shots. The nude content is almost exclusively provided by spliced-in cutaways. These are of course excuses to pose the women in and out of their cavegirl furs, show them walking through the woods, taking a skinny dip, etc.. That's sort of the naive point of the show - a moving nudie magazine. The girls affect that curious Vanna-White-in-slow-motion fluidity, aiming for demure grace in their movements. I imagine the raincoat audience spent most of its time waiting for something to wiggle.
Something Weird's DVD of When Women Played Ding Dong and 50,000 B.C. (Before Clothing) continues their commitment to quality fun from film history's unheralded underbelly. Both features are well-transferred. Ding Dong is intact but of variable quality, with considerable emulsion damage (digs, scratches, discoloring). It plays almost exactly like what one would expect to see at the drive-in. The color is okay and the grain under control. The raucous music includes a comic title tune; the audio is overall slightly rough, sounding as if it came from the optical track of the print on view.
B.C. is shot flat by semi-pros, the kind who set up the camera and don't move it until they absolutely have to. The image varies from scene to scene, and is mostly slightly faded, borderline washed-out. The telecine people obviously did their best, so overall it looks reasonable, with the homemade art direction still making a positive impression.
The numerous and amusing extras listed below are reached by clever animated menus that use snips of music and snatches of pin-up moments from the films. The trailers include a heap of older 50s 'lost bimboes' epics of the sort that are better read about than seen (Untamed Women, Wild Women of Wongo), and also Ding Dong's inspiration, When Women Had Tails. The trailer doesn't make it look all that inspiring.
The other extras are a truly weird mix. The expected strip numbers are grim filler, but there's a bizarre Italian cartoon, and a ridiculously overproduced promo for an oil company, masquerading as an educational film. Both have caveman themes, hence their inclusion.
When Women Played Ding Dong &
50,000 B.C. (Before Clothing)