Category Archives: vic morrow

Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry

Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry ~ There was a time when I was a kid that I thought Peter Fonda was the coolest guy on Earth. He was in stuff like Race With the Devil and Futureworld and of course Easy Rider, so he could do no wrong. He was also in this charmer.

Until I saw Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry again recently I could remember very little about it. I remembered it starred Fonda, and Susan George, in the bizarre title roles, it was a car chase flick, and it was frequently one of channel 6’s late night Friday movies – you know, the ones I wasn’t supposed to be staying up watching – both because of the content, and because it was past my bedtime. Little else was retained by my memory.

Upon watching it again for the first time in almost maybe forty years, I am struck by how really bad it is. It may have been okay or mediocre for the time (1974), but let’s just say the years have not been kind. Rather than an interesting time capsule like other seventies films I’ve watched recently, this is a creaky relic.

Loosely based on the novel “The Chase” (later known as “Pursuit”) by Richard Unekis, one can easily see the influence of earlier films of the genre like Vanishing Point, Two-Lane Blacktop, The French Connection, and even Bonnie and Clyde. The problem is that you can also see this film’s own influence on the destruction and mocking of the genre later in the decade by stuff like Smokey and the Bandit, Eat My Dust, and The Blues Brothers. This is the beginning of the car chase movie becoming a joke, amusing or not.

This movie is so seventies, down to the theme song by Marjorie McCoy being used throughout as if choreographed by Quentin Tarantino, to the crazy fashions and ugly cars, to the endless shots of the scenic southwest. And the late Vic Morrow wonderfully eats up the screen as the obsessed pursuing cop. It’s worth a look for the curious, but it’s no masterpiece, but Peter Fonda is still cool.

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Message from Space

STAR WARS IN DRAG

A Video Review of Message from Space or Uchu Kara No Messeji

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

After Star Wars came out every hack producer in Hollywood decided that any old crap about space or robots and stuff like that would sell and the barrage of garbage began in theatres. This was also the thinking over in Japan giving us Message from Space in 1978.

Now the Japanese cinema had been making sci-fi for decades and they had their own style and genre. With Message from Space they injected the American cowboy serial sensibilities of Star Wars into their standard formula. It did not mix well.

The casting is disturbing. Hard to believe the great Sonny Chiba of the legendary Street Fighter films had fallen so far as to appear in this dreck. The late Vic Morrow also falls into this category as he walks through the flick doing his best “Captain Harlock” imitation. Jerry Ito of Mothra and comedian Eisei Amamoto, the latter who plays the film’s villainess in drag.

For a movie that purported to be the new Star Wars it demonstrated a deplorable level in special effects even by 1960s Japanese standards these were embarrassing. “Thunderbirds” or Gamera would be a few steps above this crap.

Not worth seeing for Sonny or Vic or Jerry or even for a laugh. I think “Mystery Science Theater 3000” might even give this one a pass.