HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
   
 
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Crazy Mama Family Felonies
Year: 1975
Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Cloris Leachman, Stuart Whitman, Ann Sothern, Linda Purl, Don Most, Merie Earle, Bryan Englund, Sally Kirkland, Clint Kimbrough, Dick Miller, Jim Backus, Harry Northup, Tisha Sterling, Beach Dickerson, Bill Paxton, Dennis Quaid, Will Sampson
Genre: Comedy, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: In 1932, the authorities stole an Arkansas farm from its rightful owners, killing the father of Melba (Cloris Leachman) in the process and leaving Sheba (Ann Sothern) a widow. By 1958, Melba and Sheba are running a failing beauty parlour in California but today the bank's representative Mr Albertson (Jim Backus) shows up with a group of bailiffs and a large truck and proceeds to load the ladies' possessions into the back of it. They've run out of money and goodwill and as if that wasn't enough Melba's teenage daughter Cheryl (Linda Purl) has just discovered that she's pregnant by her feckless boyfriend Shawn (Don Most). So they make a decision to move back to Arkansas and reclaim their farm...

One word that sums up Crazy Mama would be "chaotic": it never pauses for breath and most of the characters have a habit of overreacting and talking over each other. Judging by the opening you may be expecting a retread of the nineteen-thirties set Bonnie and Clyde, erm, homages that producer Roger Corman was turning out in the seventies and by the title a story reminiscent of Bloody Mama and Big Bad Mama might well be in order. Written by Robert Thom from a story by Frances Doel, who had co-scripted Big Bad Mama, this film is in fact more of a straight comedy which can't quite shake off its association to those previous films.

On the way to Arkansas, and after stealing Mr Albertson's car, the three women stop off at Las Vegas for a spot of gambling, all the while followed by Shawn who feels he must live up to his responsibilities as a father. But the men in this film are not the brains of this outfit, or any outfit it seems, with the women taking charge most of the time and leading the plot. While in Vegas Sheba picks up a new friend at the one armed bandits, Bertha (Merie Earle), and Cheryl picks up a second boyfriend, Snake (Bryan Englund), but most importantly Melba wins the heart of holidaying sheriff Jim Bob (Stuart Whitman) at the gambling tables.

Although Jim Bob is already married to the rich Ella Mae (Sally Kirkland), he is so taken with Melba that he marries her too, which conveniently provides cover for Shaun and Snake to steal the chapel's money from their back office. And so their crime spree begins in earnest, with Sheba feigning heart attacks in supermarkets to get access to the cash, and the unusual robbery of a motorcycle race, for variety. Although making the Beverly Hillbillies look sophisticated, and despite being nakedly, criminally mercenary, the actors display a real liking for their characters and their camaraderie seems real.

Their big idea is a staged kidnapping where Jim Bob's wife will part with a large amount of her fortune for his safe return, something he or the rest of the gang have no intention of going through with. But the cops are not so keen on the idea and an unexpected mood swing into tragedy is right around the corner. When things turn serious, it doesn't suit the goofy tone of the rest of the film with its jolly run of nostalgic fifties hit records playing on the soundtrack, from the Everly Brothers to Nervous Norvus. While the cast can handle the change of pace, the fact that the movie wasn't, in truth, all that funny for a comedy means the ending, with characters dying, leaves a sour feeling. As a masterclass in hamming it up, however, Crazy Mama is enjoyable enough.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 5537 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Jonathan Demme  (1944 - 2017)

American director with a exploitation beginnings who carved out a successful Hollywood career as a caring exponent of a variety of characters. Worked in the early 70s as a writer on films like Black Mama, White Mama before directing his first picture for producer Roger Corman, the women-in-prison gem Caged Heat. Demme's mainstream debut was the 1977 CB drama Handle With Care (aka Citizens Band), which were followed by such great films as the thriller Last Embrace, tenderhearted biopic Melvin and Howard, wartime drama Swing Shift, classic Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense, and black comedies Something Wild and Married to the Mob.

Demme's Thomas Harris adaptation The Silence of the Lambs was one of 1991's most successful films, making Hannibal Lecter a household name, while the worthy AIDS drama Philadelphia was equally popular. Since then, Demme has floundered somewhat - Beloved and The Truth About Charlie were critical and commercial failures, although 2004's remake of The Manchurian Candidate was a box office hit. Rachel Getting Married also has its fans, though Meryl Streep vehicle Ricki and the Flash was not a great one to go out on. He was also an advocate of the documentary form, especially music: his final release was a Justin Timberlake concert.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Jason Cook
Darren Jones
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: