|Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974)|
|Writers:||Leigh Chapman, Antonio Santean, Richard Unekis (novel “The Chase”)|
|Starring:||Peter Fonda, Susan George, Vic Morrow and Adam Roarke|
|The Plot: Larry (Peter Fonda) and Deke (Adam Roarke) are in town for a short period of time and they only have one thing on their mind, robbing the local grocery store. They’ve kept tabs on the manger, the location of the safe and have everything down to a science. The only thing they didn’t count on, was Mary (Susan George). A local girl that Larry picked up the night before the robbery, Mary follows Larry into town and watches as he robs the grocery store by having Deke hold the manager’s wife hostage at their home. With Mary knowing as much as she does, they have no choice but to bring her along for the ride, at least for the time being. As they make tracks across the county, a local sheriff (Vic Morrow), who is at odds with his chief, decides that he’ll stop at nothing to put Larry, Mary and Deke behind bars. Will he succeed or will our leads make their way south into freedom?
Based upon the novel The Chase, a quick read on the backstage ordeals that the movie ultimately went through and you can imagine just how different this film must be from its source material. John Hough, who was brought in from the UK late in the production, also spiced things up by encouraging his actors to take part in improvisational ad-libbing while on the set. So one can imagine that the end result is probably an entirely different beast than the Richard Unekis novel. I was a bit surprised to find, through the supplemental features on the Shout! Factory DVD, that some of the best lines in the movie were actually ad-libbed! Included in these lines were many of Peter Fonda’s outrageous quips such as “Every bone in her crotch, that’s what I’m going to break!” However, the dialog here is universally very impressive. The banter is back and forth in a style that seems more modern, but ultimately traces back to the days of film noir. The chemistry between actors helps give the tempo of the dialog, and the moments between Peter Fonda and Susan George are some of the best in the movie. The back and forth banter between these two can be brutal at times, due to the harsh attitude of Fonda’s character, but the way the actors dig deep and spit venom at one another is really fantastic to watch. As Mary does her best to get the attention of Larry, she finds herself being humiliated and although she may be simplistic at times, there’s an underlying layer of depth to her actions. Ultimately, you could say that the entire movie is based around her own growth as a character. She is a woman who defines herself by the men she attaches herself to, and by the time she finally discovers that she is her own woman, it may just be too late.