Friday, March 21, 2008

momma told me not to come.

Big Bad Momma (1974)
Dir: Steve Carver
Cast: Angie Dickinson, William Shatner, Tom Skerritt, Susan Sennett, Robbie Lee, Noble Willingham, Dick Miller, Royal Dano.


"Hot Lead, Hot Cars, Hot Dames, Hot Damn!"

In the hot and dusty depression era of the good ol' US of A (California to be precise) very merry widow and working mum Wilma McClatchie (Dickinson) is having a hard time with the thought of her youngest daughter Polly (Lee) getting hitched to such a boring guy so decides, aided by her other daughter Billie Jean (Sennett) and close family friend 'Uncle' Barney ( Willingham) , to drag Polly out of the church just before the "I do's", jilting the groom at the altar.

Bizarrely they manage to run foul of the FBI and in the ensuing gun battle, Barney gets himself shot (to death) leaving Wilma to take over his successful bootlegging empire.

You would, your dad would,
the Shat already has done. Twice.

But this is just the beginning of the families decent into crime, next on the list of misdemeanors is a wee bit of thieving (as they say round here) after Wilma stumbles in on her daughters performing a sexy striptease for a gaggle of buck toothed, sweaty palmed, greasy war veterans.

To ease her conscience (and to calm herself down after seeing her sweet innocent daughters leered at by so many freaks) Wilma decides to run of with the veterans cash and before too long has teamed up with mustachioed heart throb and housewives choice Fred (Skerritt - whom they meet when they’re attempting to rob the very same bank as he is) and the sexy, white suited Southern gentleman Baxter (The great god of love himself, Lord William of Shatner) to start her own crime syndicate.

Her mission?

To rob, cheat, steal, shag and raise enough cash to keep her daughters in skimpy outfits for life.

Which seems fair enough to me.

Shatner mooth.

Baxter very quickly becomes Wilma’s 'lover' (well it is the Shat so what do you expect?) giving the director an excuse to show the great man naked, sweaty and thrusting at Teevee's 'Police Woman' Dickinson (also naked but frankly who cares?) on a squeaking bed, his muscular torso bathed in electric blue moonlight.

Why is Angie looking angry?
Cos William Shatner!

But I digress....anyway petty jealousies cause Baxter and Fred to argue a bit (it seems Fred has a soft spot for dear old Wilma...ah sweet) sending Fred into the arms (and magnificently oiled thighs) of both her daughters.

At once.

Jammy sod.

"Rock on Tommy (gun)".

But not to worry, their are still loads of wallets that need lifting, corrupt coppers to run rings round and arrogant upper classes to better and because Wilma and her clan are so loyal to each other (plus not to mention sexy and resourceful) they become heroes to the down trodden common folk (who don't have any cash - or teeth- to steal).

Unfortunately tho' everything goes pear shaped when the boys botch a kidnapping attempt leaving poor Wilma to take the rap.....

Will she live to fight (or steal?) another day?

Self censorship rules.

Produced by exploitation king Roger Corman, Big Bad Mama is probably one of his best loved projects and although Steve (director of the Pam Grier gladiator epic The Arena) Carver's direction may be workman-like at best and the film has very little in the way of plot or character development but it more than makes up for its faults by utilising a top notch cast (how big Rog managed to secure so many 'real' actors is still a mystery to me) and then getting them to unashamedly strip butt naked at the drop of a hat.

Dickinson (who caused a wee bit of a scandal at the time by daring to do nude scenes at the age of 43) is fantastic in the title role, playing the part of the honest to goodness mother hen to her daughters with balls of steel to perfection and is ably assisted by Skerritt and Shatner with both actors giving their all to what is effectively a schlocky crime flick with breasts and arses (some of them even belonging to ladies) plenty.

Shatner especially seems to think he's appearing in King Lear, oblivious to the trashy campness that surrounds him which makes his arch performance as bankrupt perv William J. Baxter such a joy to behold.

She can see you naked.

Full of his typical charm and intensity; Bill hits a career best with a performance to rival his role as evil racist Adam Cramer in The Intruder (another Corman quickie) and proves once again why we love him so much.

At the other end of the scale Tom Skerritt is his usual serious self, underplaying the nice but dim Fred to perfection.

Dickinson: Cheap as chips.

Big Bad Momma is a must for any Corman devotee, Shatner worshipper and anyone with a thing for the slightly more mature lady. The film delivers on its promise of lashings of sex and violence plus the chance to experience Captain Kirk stark bollok naked.

What's not to like?

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