When Men Carried Clubs and Women Played Ding-Dong (1971)
aka Quando gli uomini amarono la clava e… con le donne fecero din-don
Article 5472 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Bruno Corbucci
Featuring Antonio Sabato, Aldo Giuffre, Vittorio Caprioli
What it is: Caveman bawdiness
When a caveman couple can’t consummate their marriage because the man keeps being called off to fight a war with the lake people, the cavewoman tries a plan of ending the war by organizing a sex strike among the women of both tribes.
What prompted me to cover this movie was a coincidence. I have recently finished reading an edition of the complete extant plays of Aristophanes, and those familiar with the work of that author will no doubt see a strong similarity between the plot above and that of Aristophanes’ play “Lysistrata”. This is not a coincidence; one of the characters in this comedy has the name of Listra, and the movie itself credits Aristophanes’ play (as well as his “Thesmophoriazusae”, from which the movie borrows the plot element of a man disguising himself as a woman to infiltrate a group of them). I might be tempted to complain how this movie makes hash of the work of a great Greek writer if it weren’t for two facts. First of all, ancient Greek comedy is dissimilar enough to cinematic comedy that I wouldn’t expect a faithful adaptation in the first place, and secondly, Aristophanes’ work was pretty bawdy in its own right, which makes it quite similar in tone with this movie. After all, this movie is a semi-sequel to WHEN WOMEN HAD TAILS and WHEN WOMEN LOST THEIR TAILS.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean this movie is really what I’d call “good”; it is, like its predecessors, primarily a nonstop compendium of caveman sex jokes with a lot of nudity. Like the second movie, it does have a bit of satiric intent as well; if I have any favorite aspect of this movie, it’s the way it plays with the concept of an arms race, as each side tries to develop a war-winning technology to defeat the others. Still, the movie’s a little too unfocused to make any real headway with its satiric sallies, and though I’d have to say it’s better than the first movie in the series, it’s a step down from the second. The fantastic content is that it takes place in prehistoric times, but it’s too focused on sex to have anything like dinosaurs showing up. My guess is that it would most likely be appreciated by those who think it sounds promising rather than those to whom it sounds stupid.