Captive Women


Captive Women is a 1952 American black-and-white post-apocalyptic science-fiction film. It stars Robert Clarke and Margaret Field. The film has a running time of 64 minutes. It deals with the effects of a nuclear war and how life would be afterwards.

Captive Women
Captive Women.jpg
Directed byStuart Gilmore
Written byJack Pollexfen
Aubrey Wisberg
Produced byJack Pollexfen
Aubrey Wisberg
StarringRobert Clarke
Ron Randell
Margaret Field
Gloria Saunders
CinematographyPaul Ivano
Edited byFred R. Feitshans Jr.
Music byCharles Koff
Albert Zugsmith Productions
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures Inc.
Release date
  • October 10, 1952 (1952-10-10) (U.S.)[1]
Running time
64 minutes
CountryUnited States

In the United Kingdom the film is known as 3000 A.D., the film's original title.[3]


The film opens with war footage from World War III ending with a nuclear attack.

Long after the nuclear war, the last human survivors are divided into three tribes. Robert (Clarke) and Ruth (Field) are about to be married in the ruins of a post-apocalyptic New York City during a brief interlude in ongoing hostilities between their tribe (the Norms) and the rival tribe (the Mutates). The Mutates try to adhere to the tenets of the Christian Bible, but it is rejected by the Norms.

However, raiders from a third tribe, the Upriver People, attack through the Hudson River Tunnel and capture Ruth and several other women because they desperately need fertile females. The warring tribes must put aside their differences to rescue the women, a joint effort that unfolds quite quickly in the short film.

Ultimately, the Upriver People are defeated and are trapped in the tunnel as it is flooded. The women are recovered, and there are improved prospects for more peaceful relations among the tribes as the film concludes.



Jack Pollexfen and Aubrey Wisberg had a deal to make three films at RKO: Captive Women, Sword of Venus and Port Sinister. Albert Zugsmith became involved as an associate producer, taking 25% against Pollexfen and Wisberg's 75%.[2]

Pollexfen later said "our main problem in Captive Women was that we were battling Zugsmith too much to pay attention to the production". He says also that Howard Hughes, who then owned RKO, insisted the film be directed by Stewart Gilmore, who had been one of Hughes' leading editors, including on The Outlaw.[2]

Filming started 9 July 1951.[4] Robert Clarke recalled that Gilmore:

He was lost. Completely. The poor man had tremendous problems; there were too many people in the cast, too many actors with no dialogue in the scenes , and the fact that they had over-extended themselves for special effects...The whole film was ineffectual. Pollexfen and Wisberg were trying to make a better picture— sometimes, Hollywood thinks that if you spend more money, you make a better picture. Well, this is one instance where that didn’t happen. Gilmore was in over his head — he didn’t know directing, and l don’t think he ever did another picture because he got a bad taste in his mouth from this one.[5]

William Schallert recalls that the film was rewritten during the shoot and actors had to constantly learn new parts.[6]

Pollexfen says the budget was around $85,000 of which he and his partner received a fee of $15,000 and Zugsmith was paid $2,500.[2]

At one stage the film was known as 3000 AD.[7] Another original title was found 1,000 Years from Now, but RKO wanted a more sensational title.[8]

The ruins of New York are briefly shown in matte paintings by Block.[9] In 1956, it was re-released by the name 1000 Years from Now.[10]

It was one of three films Albert Zugsmith made for RKO.[11] It was Ron Randell's first science fiction film.[12]


Variety found the movie's plot to be plodding, with most of the good ideas left off screen, but the camera work was good, as was Ron Randall's acting.[13]

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction found the movie of some importance as perhaps the first science fiction film to consider what the world might become some time after a nuclear war. TV Guide found that the movie was often inane and silly but that the halfway-decent visual effects helped the shaky film.[14]


  1. ^ "Captive Women: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Weaver, Tom (2000). Return of the B Science Fiction and Horror Heroes: The Mutant Melding of Two Volumes of Classic Interviews. McFarland. p. 278. ISBN 9780786407552.
  3. ^ 3000 A.D. Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 20, Iss. 228, (Jan 1, 1953): 76.
  4. ^ FILMLAND BRIEFS Los Angeles Times 9 July 1951: B7.
  5. ^ Weaver, Tom (December 1986). "Time Travelling Sun Demon". Fangoria. p. 56.
  6. ^ Weaver, Tom (November 1992). "Character Star". Starlog. No. 184. p. 59.
  7. ^ Lowe, Barry (2016). Atomic Blonde: The Films of Mamie Van Doren. McFarland. p. 31. ISBN 9780786482733.
  8. ^ "Variety (October 1952)". 1952.
  9. ^ "Media : Captive Women : SFE : Science Fiction Encyclopedia".
  10. ^ Parla, Paul; Mitchell, Charles P. (2000). Screen sirens scream!: interviews with 20 actresses from science fiction, horror, film noir, and mystery movies, 1930s to 1960s. McFarland. p. 96. ISBN 0-7864-0701-8.
  11. ^ Flynn, Charles; McCarthy, Todd (1975). "Albert Zugmsith". In Flynn, Charles; McCarthy, Todd (eds.). Kings of the Bs : working within the Hollywood system : an anthology of film history and criticism. E. P. Dutton. p. 413.
  12. ^ Vagg, Stephen (August 10, 2019). "Unsung Aussie Actors – Ron Randell: A Top Twenty". Filmink.
  13. ^ Review of film at Variety
  14. ^ "Captive Women".

External linksEdit

  • Captive Women at IMDb
  • Captive Women at BFI
  • Captive Women at TCMDB
  • Captive Women at Letterbox DVD