Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974) – By Duane L. Martin

Larry (Peter Fonda) is an ex NASCAR racer. His partner Deke (Adam Rourke) was a mechanic who lost his career due to his battle with alcoholism. Now Deke has beat his drinking problem and the two of them are looking to get back onto the NASCAR circuit. There’s just one problem. They need money to do it. To that end, they decide to pull a daring robbery of a grocery store manager (played by an uncredited Roddy McDowall). Everything goes as plan, except for one thing. It seems that when they got into town, Larry had a one night stand with a girl named Mary (Susan George), and she didn’t take kindly to him bailing on her in the morning. She also happened to be bored with her life, and in her effort to find some excitement, she attached herself to Larry right as he was leaving the grocery store with the money, and from that point on, they were stuck with her. Why? Because she was a huge pain in the ass, but over the course of their adventure, despite the personal issues that kept cropping up here and there, they managed to work together as a team and pull off the robbery, but will they get away with it? Not if officer Everett Franklin (Vic Morrow) has anything to say about it. He’s on a mission to bring them to justice, and he doesn’t care whose toes he has to step on to do it. What follows is a mad race between the law and the lawless with a sudden and surprise ending that will leave you stunned.

This film has been released on a double feature disc from Shout Factory, along with another Peter Fonda film called Race with the Devil (also reviewed in this issue). I have to say that I wasn’t over eager to see these two films, in large part because my utter disgust for Peter’s sister Jane Fonda had tainted my view of the Fonda name. Still, I had to remember that he’s not his sister and watch the film with an open mind. I’m glad I did, because this was actually a really good film.

There are two aspects of this film that make it really enjoyable. The first was the relationship between the three main characters. Susan George was especially fun as Mary. Why? Because she was a huge pain in the ass, but despite that, she made herself an asset rather than a liability. The relationship that developed between her, Larry and Deke was rocky at best, but there was something deeper that pulled them together, and because of that, it made you care about them, and even pull for them to succeed.

The second great thing about this movie was the action. There were some really great car chases, devastating crashes and even a chase involving a helicopter. The nice thing was that there was a balance between the chases and the dialog scenes. It wasn’t all just one or the other, and that balance made the film not only watchable, but interesting and fun.

The film was well acted by the entire cast, had a coherent story and the good pacing kept it moving along well.

So what’s the conclusion? This is one heck of a fun film that you’ll definitely want to add to your collection. End of story.

Shout Factory did a great job with this release. The visual quality is excellent and there’s a special feature for each film in which the stars talk about the making of them and how it all came together. These features are every bit as interesting as the films themselves, if not more so. For example, I found out that Susan George is actually a British actress, complete with accent. You’d have never known that from watching the film. There’s tons of great info there, so be sure you watch these special features when you check out the films. It’s totally worth your time.

This double feature release will be available on 4/12/2011. You can pre-order it here (for a very reasonable price I might add) from Shout Factory, or you can wait and get it from any of the normal outlets.