HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Death Valley
Junior
Menace II Society
Azor
Night Raiders
Samourai, Le
Advent Calendar, The
Champion
Merchant of Four Seasons, The
Love of Jeanne Ney, The
Blonde. Purple
Dirty Ho
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
   
 
Newest Articles
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
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
   
 
  Dirty Mary Crazy Larry The Need for Speed
Year: 1974
Director: John Hough
Stars: Peter Fonda, Susan George, Adam Roarke, Vic Morrow, Kenneth Tobey, Eugene Daniels, Lynn Borden, Janear Hines, Elizabeth James, Adrianne Herman, T.J. Castronovo, James W. Gavin, Al Rossi, Ben Niems, George Westcott, Tom O'Neill, Roddy McDowall
Genre: Drama, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Larry (Peter Fonda) should have said goodbye. This morning he rushed out of the motel room he had spent the night with Mary (Susan George) in and jumped into the car of his best friend Deke (Adam Roarke), whereupon they both drove off to set about the task in hand. That being a supermarket robbery, which they orchestrated by taking the wife (Lynn Borden) of the manager (Roddy McDowall, uncredited) and holding her hostage until her husband handed over the cash, collected by the laidback Larry. However, on emerging into the street he finds someone in the getaway car: it's Mary, and she isn't going to get lost no matter how much Larry tries to persuade her...

Ah, the seventies car movie. There's a certain je ne sais quoi about them, isn't there? You could watch a serious one, like Vanishing Point or Two Lane Blacktop, or you could go for a light-hearted one, like The Gumball Rally or Smokey and the Bandit. This is one of the more serious ones, as although there may have been comedic elements it wasn't particularly funny and more of a drama as it played out - a drama with frequent action sequences thanks to director John Hough's implementation of an expert stunt team which saw plenty of excellent car chases as Larry takes the wheel and tries to elude the cops, whose own patrol vehicles are no match for the power of what these three have for an engine.

So what if the "naturalistic" dialogue sounds pretty phoney now? Judging by the script, the film didn't care one jot if you liked the central trio whatsoever as not one of the actors made any moves to be at all sympathetic: Fonda is arrogant, George is irritating and Roarke is cold. Except that wasn't quite true, as for all their hard to ignore faults the viewer may have found themselves oddly warming to them, purely thanks to the cops, as was typical in these efforts hailing from this era, being even less likeable. They were led by Vic Morrow, who in a spot of uneasy foreshadowing for how he would end his life spends most of the movie, too much in fact, as a passenger in a helicopter, even winding up dangerously buzzing the criminals.

But it was those chases which contained all the right elements: flash manoeuvres, loud engines, lots of dust, property being destroyed and police cars frequently run off the road, all set in those huge wide open spaces between the lives of others, where you can live as you pleased albeit with the threat of The Man hanging over you and to be negotiated with should you take that theme of freedom too far. Larry treats fleeing from the law as a race, and the taciturn Deke is there for the equivalent of pit stops when his partner in crime grows overly reckless. By turning this into a game of sorts, a sport if you will, Larry lifts the burden of his lawbreaking and encourages us in the audience to regard this similarly, as something exhilarating with the wind in your face and the chance you could be sent flying off the track at any second only rendering it more vital.

Yet there was a price to pay, and that was summed up in one of the most memorable endings in all of seventies car chase cinema. On second viewing you're anticipating it all the way through and it colours your perception of the characters' lives, something in the first watch you were expecting to be more carefree, even blithely immoral for all its championing of the outlaw glamour they inhabit. That revisit reveals more than you might have expected; listen for the lack of incidental music, not one note is played other than the occasional song we hear over the radio, which could be ominous when an exciting tune might have enhanced the edgier aspects, but without it reveals an almost eerie, watchful quality as if we are biding our time waiting for some denouement or other. For all four of the main players, this was one of their defining cult movies, and as a late night television staple it has been drawing viewers in for decades; you might not like them here exactly, although George and Roarke share a tender scene late on, but they are compelling, as is the film.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 19253 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Hough  (1941 - )

British director who began work as a director for 60s TV show The Avengers. Directed a wide variety of mostly genre movies over the last 30 years, the most notable being Hammer's Twins of Evil, The Legend of Hell House, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, Brass Target, Incubus and Biggles. Also turned in Disney pictures Escape to Witch Mountain and The Watcher in the Woods, plus straight-to-video turkey Howling IV.

 
Review Comments (1)


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

 

Last Updated: