Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cavegirl: Nadia Cassini

Nadia Cassini in Quando gli uomini armarono la clava... e con le donne fecero din-don (1971)

We first became aware of Nadia Cassini when we saw her in the offbeat thriller Pulp (1972), starring Michael Caine, where she floated around Malta (standing in for Italy) in an amazing variety of early seventies outfits, including a great collection of boots.

Cassini in Pulp (1972)

A few years later we were in Rome and the newsstands were covered in posters featuring Cassini's appearance in the November edition of Italian Playboy.  We were unable to buy one immediately but we certainly imagined what the contents would be like quite a lot.

We managed to get a copy early one morning, on the last day of our holiday, before the family woke up.  We were not disappointed in the excellent pictures by Angelo Frontoni of Nadia on a motorbike displaying an awesomely fluffy pussy.

Nadia in Playboy Italia, November 1977.  Not her first nor, thankfully, her last appearance

Anyway, without doubt she deserves a post of her own on Venus Observations but for now lets look at her cavegirl pictures from the catchily named  Quando gli uomini armarono la clava e con le donne fecero din-don.

Firstly, of course, we need to examine her fur bikini.  It's a wild and ragged concoction and whilst it doesn't have anything like the stroke of design genius, in the diagonal cross strap from top to bottom, that Raquel's had it is still a superb effort. We particularly like the twin cord waist straps and dangly "tails".  It remains one of the best fur bikinis in the cinema.

Here we can see it in all its colour magnificence.  The random bits of extra fur add an intriguing tactile quality and, no doubt, added play value.

Here it is again displayed whilst on horseback.  To paraphrase Shakespeare, "Oh happy horse to bear the weight of Nadia!"


The wild, long shaggy hair adds considerably to Cassini's cavegirl appeal whether in or out of her fur bikini top.

Cavegirls need a good thick head of hair, of course, so that cavemen have something solid to grab onto when dragging them around.

Earlier in the film, when she is still a member of the more sophisticated lake dwelling tribe, she has an outfit that appears to be made from grass.  You can just see the top in the still below.

As for the rest of the outfit it can be seen below.  Again, note the double waist strap.  Obviously a de rigeur fashion effect in the late stone age.

Unlike Raquel Welch, Nadia spends some time in the film not wearing anything at all.  In the context of cavegirl films this is known as evolution.

Nadia's fantastic posterior completely dominates this picture of the group of striking cavegirls from her village.

Fortunately, a stills photographer was on hand on the set to record it for posterity.

Although she doen't have the bust of Raquel there is certainly nothing to be ashamed of and we are quite happy to give her the full 10/10 as a cavegirl.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cavegirl: Beth Rogan from Mysterious Island

Mysterious Island (1961) was directed by Cy Endfield of Zulu fame. Loosely based on the novel by Jules Verne it tells the story of some American Civil War soldiers who escape from prison in a balloon. Blown off course, inevitably, they land on a mysterious island (er..). Where they encounter a number of Ray Harryhausen monsters, some shipwrecked English ladies, some pirates and Captain Nemo, splendidly played by one of our favourite character actors, Herbert Lom.

The opening scenes of the war are all stock footage and feature artillery from the First World War rather than the ACW (Agent Triple P worries about these things, sadly).

The exteriors of the scenes where they escape from the prisoner of war camp were shot in Shepperton Square which is about two miles from where Triple P's  mother lives (and Triple P used to live). Shepperton Studios, where the film was shot, is nearby. If you look at this model of the square used in the film and these modern pictures of the buildings and church you can see it looks rather more English than Southern States American!

In the live action shots of the balloon taking off you can clearly see the TV aeriels on the buildings in the background.  Shepperton Church tower, incidentally, was demolished by a Martian war machine in HG Wells' book the War of the Worlds!

The beach in the film with some rather ropey matte work in the background

Sa Conca beach today. The rocks on the left are the ones in the foreground of the top picture.

The scenes on the island were filmed on Sa Conca Beach, near Girona in Catalonia. Like most of that coast the Spaniards have let it get hideously over-developed in the last 45 years and it certainly couldn't pass for a deserted island any more, sadly, as the beach has been surrounded by villas.

More views of Sa Conca today

The Harryhausen creatures in the film consist of a giant crab, giant bees and a giant prehistoric bird. It turns out that all of these are the results of experiments by Captain Nemo to feed the starving of the world. Although a diet of crab, honey and giant chicken is an odd selection of staple foods to choose to save humanity with. In fact, they were intending to have dinosaurs on the island, hence the presence of the prehistoric bird, but they were dropped from the film. This is why you have the odd assortment of creatures that you do. Surely a giant sheep would have been more use as a food source but it wouldn't have been very threatening, we suppose; although we have always found sheep rather sinister with their nasty looking teeth.

" Maybe it's not such a good place to build a villa!"

The best of these monsters is the giant bird. the encounter with it is up with the roping of the dinosaur in Valley of Gwangi and the fight with the Allosaurus in One Million Years BC.

The crab model was built inside the shell of a real crab whilst two live crabs were used for close-ups, until Harryhausen had them for dinner.

"Anyone got some brown bread and mayonnaisse?" thinks the crab.

So, this is all well and good, you say. An enjoyable way to while away a wet sunday afternoon (not as enjoyable, perhaps as watching Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman wrestling in mud, but not bad). But where is the cavegirl?

  Look! She's coming out of a cave!

The young female lead of Mysterious Island was an English actress called Beth Rogan who played an aristocratic young lady called Elena Fairchild who was washed ashore on the island after a shipwreck.

Exactly what you want to find washed up on a beach if you are stranded on a desert island
Arriving on the island with her aunt the two women prove extremely useful for domestic duties.  Initially living in a hut on the beach they move to a cave they discover.  This definitely qualifies Beth as a cavegirl!

"So, we're trapped in this honeycomb. Would you like to feel my pole?"

Although she arrives on the island in a conventional nineteenth century dress up her aunt is eventually persuaded to run her up a very natty little doeskin mknickers and minidress number which certainly qualifies in my book as cavegirl attire .

This is a very cute outfit indeed!

Born Elizabeth Puckle, the daughter of a major in the Royal Marines, Beth became a Rank starlet in the late fifties. She made a few films but Mysterious Island was her second to last.

She appeared in Playboy, sadly completely dressed, in their pictorial on The Girls of London in the October 1962 issue.

Beth in Playboy

She then married a couple of English aristocrats (one after the other!) and retired from the screen becoming a jet setter and spending her time in the South of France.

Beth in the fifties

Beth in the South of France in the sixties

She became known as Jeni Cassel having married the fourth Baronet of Cassel.

Beth today

She had two children but is now divorced and lives in Sussex.  Recently, she modelled in a bikini again for the Daily Mail at the age of 75!

Mysterious Island publicity shot.

As a cavegirl she looks very fine indeed so earns a Cavegirl Rating 7/10

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cavewoman Diet!

Well, that's what last week's Sunday Times called the latest trendy American diet devised by one Professor Arthur de Vany.  The professor argues that our bodies should only eat food that humans from 40,000 years ago could have caught or picked.


In fact it looks like another sort of low carbohydrate Atkins diet concentrating on meat, fish, nuts (sadly, not Triple P's favourite, peanuts, as they are a sort of pea not a nut) and vegetables.  The twist being that half  the vegetables you eat should be raw.  Goody! 

The Sunday Times decided that the only way to illustrate this diet was with pictures of a naked girl.  Quite right!  Frankly, the only way that Triple P would adopt this tedious sounding diet was if it attracted cavegirls in fur bikinis. 

Tyrannosarus Azteca/Aztec Rex

We just caught a bit of this on TV early yesterday morning, however it was too late and not gripping enough to keep us awake into the small hours to get to the end.

We are just recording it here because it contained dinosaurs and a girl in a cavegirl animal hide bikini outfit.

The massive Spanish force

Briefly, the rather good premise was a Lost World/Valley of Gwangi type adventure about a group of Conquistadores in Mexico, led by Cort├ęs, discovering a Tyrannosaurus terrorising an Aztec valley (cue a King Kong-like appease the creature with a human sacrifice scene).  The Rennaissance twist is rather a good idea but the whole thing was, as ever in these sorts of productions (Sci-Fi Channel own production) let down by the paltry budget.  So there were six conquistadores, a village of two huts and a very bad CGI dinosaur.

Masses of extras inhabit a lavish set

We didn't watch enough of it to take in the plot other than to register that it was rather gory.  More importantly we didn't see the introduction of actress Dichen Lachman as our cavegirl. 

Dichen Lachner, a Tibetan Australian with a Hawaiian playing Aztecs

Actually, she isn't a cavegirl, left over from a past era like the dinosaurs (there turn out to be two of them),  she is supposed to be an Aztec princess.  Now we know quite a lot about the Aztecs.  When at school, Triple P did a project on the Conquistadores but won the school prize because he was the only one to do the conquest of Mexico from an Aztec point of view. We have been interested in them ever since and know that they didn't wear animal skin bikinis.  We also know that they were Amerindians not oriental, as Miss Lachner appeared to be.  In fact it turns out that she is half Australian and half Nepalese.  She has a look which could be politely termed "distinctive". 

An Aztec cavegirl in animal skin bikini adopts a moustache in empathy with her conquistador boyfriend gone native!

The other Aztecs didn't look right either.  In fact, it turns out that the film was made in Hawaii (so the "Aztecs" were in fact Hawaiian) not Mexico at all.  The scenery is about the only good thing in the movie so it is ironic that at the end, during the original US showing, they actually encouraged people to visit beautiful Mexico in what must be one of the most totally misleading adverts ever.

About the only time they tried to put objects in front of it to integrate it into the environment

The CGI dinosaur is tragic.  It totally fails to interact with its surroundings (particularly the ground) and seems to change size depending on the background.  The film was made in 2007 and the CGI is really not much better than that from the TV series Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World which was made in 1999.  Recently we re-watched the BBC's version of The Lost World which was made in 2001 by the Walking with Dinosaurs team which has far superior CGI dinosaurs and that was nearly ten years ago.

It was available on DVD in 2008 but now seems extinct.  No loss at all, from what we could tell.