Movie Review: Teenage Caveman (1958)

Synopsis: Frustrated by a tribal law that prevents hunting beyond the river, the Symbol Maker's teenage son is determined to explore the forbidden land even though the elders believe it will bring evil to their community and defiance of the law is punishable by death.

Who's in it? The movie stars Robert Vaughn, Darah Marshall, Leslie Bradley, Frank DeKova and June Jocelyn.

Review: I came across this movie a few weeks ago and, while I was somewhat intrigued by the premise, was also hesitant about actually watching it. I finally decided to give it a try early this morning and was pleasantly surprised.

At first, I didn't think I was going to enjoy this movie all that much. When I first started watching it, I was reminded both of the movie The Village and of that Gilligan's Island episode where Gilligan dreams about being a caveman. As the film progressed, however, I found I enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting.

I think the thing that I liked best about this film was the mystery about the forbidden land and why nobody was allowed to enter it. Yes, there were dangers from large lizards and wild dogs, but they didn't seem any more dangerous than the bears and other animals the cavemen were facing in their own land. The "gods" that were presented as the main danger also looked so fake, it seemed like more than just a low-budget costume compromise. As a result of this, I wondered if maybe the elders were trying to hide something, especially when they were quick to kill another human before he had a chance to speak to anyone.

The movie's main protagonist (Vaughn) was also an interesting character. He almost seemed to be a bit too stubborn about wanting the explore the forbidden land, not being deterred even after his first exploration resulted in someone getting killed or when his new mate (Marshall) makes it clear she would much rather have him stay with her in their new dug-out cave. Frankly, I'm kind of curious why he even bothered taking her as his mate if he wasn't planning on staying.

The twist at the end of the movie wasn't completely unexpected but I did like the way the film executed it. Basically, it might have been a bit farfetched but was also honestly a lot more believable than the twist ending in The Village, so I am willing to give it a passing grade. 

Final Opinion: Don't let the cheesy title fool you, this is actually a fairly decent movie with some good action scenes and an entertaining premise. I'd recommend spending an hour watching it.

My Grade: B+


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