"Captive Women" seems to be mostly notable for being the first movie to play with the idea of a post-atomic war society. Most films from that time just assumed that atomic war would be the end of the world and humanity, but this film actually posits three competing groups of humans and mutants living in the wreckage of New York city in the distant future. For being the first movie story tellers to try such a thing, the people behind "Captive Women" have a place in cinematic history.
Too bad the movie itself is a bit of a dud.
I'm not just saying that because I am accustomed to the pacing, budgets, and more expansive conventions of later science fiction films. I saw "The Man From Planet X", also from 1952, with many of the same actors, and thought it was a great little film - its only real flaw was that it lost some focus and momentum for about 15 minutes in the 2nd half. Despite its very original idea for a plot, "Captive Women" isn't nearly as good.
Having come up with an amazing scenario for post-nuclear existence, the screenplay proceeds to fritter its capital away with stilted fake Elizabethan dialog, lots of walking scenes, flat acting, half-baked fight choreography, and a confusing jumble of events and character decisions that make little sense. In fact, watching this, I was strongly reminded of the work of noted movie "hack" Roger Corman - specifically his turgid and indigestible movie "The Undead". I'm sure Corman hadn't started his film career when this movie was made, but as my friend remarked when I brought this up, "Yeah...it's like Corman watched this movie and said to himself, "Oh boy! I CAN DO THIS!!!"
My favorite quibble with the slapdash, shoddy way this movie is put together is the way it handles "religion" and the search for meaning; one character from the "Uphill Tribe" mentions in a line of dialog that his tribe abandoned God and now "worships Satan(!!!)" instead. That's a very radical revelation, one that could potentially set up a clash of world views that could generate amazing conflict and contrasts. And yet the screenplay just lets that assertion gather dust for the rest of the movie. Instead, it becomes all about getting the breeding pairs, er, "Captive Women" back.
Also, the seemingly exploitation oriented title is a misnomer...the "Captive Women" are captured in a raid all right, but after one group captures them, the first group captures them right back. The UK title, "3000 AD" was a lot more true to the film's real intent, what little there was.
I'm not sorry I took the time to watch this, but I'm pretty sure that even back then, this dull little number probably got trounced pretty throughly as a piece of 2nd rate film making.
Review by lemon_magic from the Internet Movie Database.