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The Great Texas Dynamite chase, is a classic, 70s drive-in B movie. The
beautiful, late Claudia Jennings, stars as prison escapee, Candy
Morgan. She blasts her way out of the slammer, using sticks of
dynamite. Candy learned her explosives skills through a training
program for inmates, while she was incarcerated. Guess the clueless
prison administration, never figured that inmates would use their
training to break out.
Right after escaping, Candy decides to rob a bank. It's the same bank that Ellie Jo, a young attractive woman, works at as a Teller. Ellie Jo's fascist boss, decides to fire her, for repeated tardiness. On the same day that Ellie Jo is fired, Candy bursts into the bank, holding lit sticks of dynamite. Candy threatens to blow-up the bank with the dynamite, unless they hand-over the dough. Ellie Jo, outraged at just being fired, enthusiastically helps Candy fill her bags with the bank's cash.
Candy quickly flees in an old 50s Buick, to her father's farm. She meets-up with her family, and gives them the stolen money. Candy's family is deeply impoverished. But now, thanks to Candy's larcenous ways, her father is now able to keep his farm. Reluctantly, Candy quickly leaves her family behind. She knows that she has to, realizing that the law will be hot on her trail.
Meanwhile, Ellie Jo feels cast adrift, after losing her Teller job. She feels stifled by living in her small, dull town. Ellie Jo wants out, and so she takes off, hitch-hiking to parts unknown, even to her. As luck would have it, Ellie Jo is given a ride, by none other than Candy.
Ellie Jo is overjoyed that it's Candy at the wheel. Candy's brazen robbery at the bank, has Ellie Jo brimming-over with admiration for Candy. Craving adventure, and with nothing better to do with her life, Ellie Jo begs Candy to let her join her, as Candy's bank-robbing partner. Candy quickly agrees.
Soon, the two foxy ladies are robbing banks with dynamite, rather than the typical firearms. Ellie Jo talks Candy into the dynamite method, after witnessing how easily Candy did it during the initial bank robbery. Candy and Ellie Jo, make their way across Texas, robbing banks and evading capture. They both become known by the public, as the legendary 'dynamite women', because of their use of dynamite, as their weapons of choice.
While robbing a convenience store, Candy and Ellie Jo take a young cowboy hostage. Ellie Jo soon falls for the hunky young stud. He suggests posing as a professional hostage. The women think it's a great idea, to help expedite their bank-robberies.
The three get richer and richer, from their thievery. They buy a Rolls Royce, stay in posh hotels, and enjoy a decadent, extravagant lifestyle. But as the law closes-in on the criminal trio, they realize that they need to get serious about hatching a permanent, fool-proof get-a-way plan.
In the 70s, Claudia Jennings was the undisputed queen of drive-in B movies. She'd acquired fame, as a former Playboy Playmate of the Year. Claudia wasn't just another gorgeous babe though. She had brains, genuine acting talent, and a graceful athletic ability. Most of all, she had a blazing-hot, on-screen charisma.
Claudia's spell-binding charismatic quality, was the engine that kept this film running fast-and-furious. As Candy Morgan, Claudia was a real scene-stealer. Jocelyn Jones as Ellie Jo, did a good job as Candy's partner-in-crime. But Jocelyn's performance was over-shadowed, by Claudia Jennings's commanding presence as Candy.
When this film was made, women were just beginning to appear in films as strong, competent characters. With it's two strong female leading characters, this movie was the template for future films in the same vein, such as Thelma and Louise.
I was a only a budding teen feminist, when The Great Dynamite Chase was made. This, and other films like it, were what my contemporaries and I looked forward to then . These films, were the essential drive-in B movie experience, in the 70s. Films starring Claudia Jennings, always fed our hunger to see female characters, who take control of their lives.
I highly recommend The Great Texas Dynamite Chase, for fans of the late Claudia Jennings. It's a tribute to her talent, and honors her as the queen of 70s B movies.
This is an interesting example of a subgenre of seventies sexploitation movies, something one might call feminist jiggle. Claudia Jennings, queen of the B-Movies plays a woman fed up with the system who in a female bonding moment goes on a crime spree with an equally disatisfied bank teller. The movie has plenty of Claudia taking her clothes off and some action too. This is hardly a message movie and has all the flaws of the quickies churned out at the time, but it's entertaining nevertheless in a charming way that the virtual remake, Thelma and Louise, didn't have. The latter was far too self conscious in its gender pieties.
Late, great 70's drive-in movie queen Claudia Jennings is at her brassy, sassy and smoking sexy best as Candy Morgan, a kittenishly irreverent prison escapee who teams up with saucy former bank teller Ellie-Jo Turner (winningly played by the very pretty and appealing Jocelyn Jones of "Tourist Trap" fame) and goes on an eventful crime spree, robbing banks and breaking hunky guys' hearts with equally joyful abandon. Directed with considerable verve by Michael Pressman, buoyed by a zippy, banjo-happy score by Craig ("Nightmares," "Warning Sign") Safan, further sparked by a cheerfully lowbrow sensibility and featuring a sidesplitting cameo by the ever-haughty Stefan ("Blue Sunshine," "Blood Beach") Gierasch as a stuffy hotel clerk who tries to refuse Claudia and Jocelyn a room, this extremely brash, funny and spirited hoot rates as a whole lot of top-rate infectiously trashy fun. The copious gratuitous nudity by the tall, slender, breathtakingly beautiful blonde Claudia and the more diminutive, but still comely and enticing Jocelyn constitutes as another substantial plus. Overall, this baby is an absolute must-see for Claudia Jennings fans in particular and aficionados of blithely amoral cheapo 70's redneck crime epics in general, which hopefully doesn't rule out too many folks.
Women have always had it bad in low-budget exploitation films. In the
olden days they were relegated to merely looking pretty and screaming a
lot as the monster or villain pawed them and the male hero rushed to
the rescue. In more modern, "post-feminist" times they get to wield
guns and use karate to beat up musclebound guys (who strangely never
seem to know karate themselves), but the actresses in these things
don't look like they could even fight off the sleazy Hollywood
producers that cast them (and they probably didn't try too hard) and
it's a wonder they can even wield their over-sized, silicone breasts
let alone a submachine gun.
70's drive-in queen Claudia Jennings was unique among exploitation actresses. She was a Playboy Playmate who could actually act (and not just in the Pamela Anderson sense of the word). Physically she could have passed for one of Charlie's Angels, but she had a tomboy-ish, trailer-trashy quality that made her completely believable packing a gun (or, in this movie, a stick of dynamite) while still managing to look sexy as hell in her typical outfit of short-shorts and a skimpy halter top. Regrettably, she made only a few films before her tragic death in the late 70's (and many of these performances were marred by her off-screen substance abuse). Along with "Gator Bait" and "Roller Derby" this was one of Jenning's most famous roles.
The plot's pretty simple--it's a typical post-"Bonnie and Clyde", Roger Corman school "criminals-on-the-lam" knock-off with The two Great-looking girls (Jennings and Jocelyn Jones) from Texas pulling off a string of bank robberies using Dynamite while the cops Chase them. In between jobs they take time out to roll in the hay with some random guys (strip miners, hotel porters, etc.) or have a naked three-way with their amiable male accomplice (who you just know is going to come to a bad end, but you just can't feel too sorry for him). It ends on a pretty tragic and cynical note like these kind of flicks tended to do. It would pretty much be a total waste of time if not for Claudia Jennings. See it so, if nothing else, you can see what the fuss was about.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What is sexy? Who is to say? I love this film as a pure 70's
sexploitive romp. Best Claudia Jennings film by far, her attitude and
openness is both sexually empowering and strangely vulnerable. The film
is well enough made for this low-budget genre, good paced and campy
good music. Certainly a precursor to Thelma and Louise. You know the
scenario- one girl is desperate and does something wrong, she goes on
the lam, and picks up some strange folks along the war.
Some really sexy outfits fill the movie and rarely a bra anywhere to be found. Full of of humor and improbable scenarios, crime ( in many various forms) and of course 70's-style casual soft porn, this film delivers about 75% of the time. Not a bad ratio, and one worth viewing.
This 1976 female bank robbers exploitation flick is extremely upbeat, with catchy tunes and wide open Texas vistas. Claudia Jennings is sex on wheels as the leader of a trio of bank robbers. Her partner in crime is Jocelyn Jones, and Johnny Crawford plays a "professional hostage". He also gets to share the "bridal suite" with Jennings and Jones. Not bad work for a marginal singer/television actor. It's also good to be the bellhop who delivers champagne to Jennings in the soaking tub. A trip to a fancy restaurant with a nude dancer (Alice Friedland) is memorable, and the isolated cabin shootout offers plenty of REALLY RED blood. The movie delivers, with ample bank robberies, ample explosions, and ample nudity. One final thought. You rarely see a Rolls Royce used as a getaway car. - MERK
Starring the late, great Claudia Jennings and the very interesting
Jocelyn Jones. The film has a very simple, straightforward story-2
girls rob banks using sticks of dynamite to force the tellers to hand
over the cash. They then hit the road in a stolen car to do the same
thing all over again somewhere else.
The film actually has some very unique ideas. I won't give those away here. What is the interest in this film though? Why has it become a cult film? I think the answer is the actors. Claudia Jennings photographed very well. Jocelyn Jones has a good screen presence in everything she does-a sort of innocence and Johnny Crawford looks very good on camera. Let's be honest here: what woman or gay man doesn't look at Johnny nude on film and find him very attractive. And a surprise-we actually see a quick glimpse of male genitalia from two different men here. Something that most actors don't allow especially once they've made a name for themselves. So, attractive actors, good acting and some chase scenes that really hold your attention, I can see why there is still interest in this.
Sure, nothing too deep here but it is obvious that Claudia Jenning's short shorts inspired the "Daisy Dukes" costume and I would imagine that the idea for Thelma and Louise was born out of a viewing of this film. It's not bad. I think most people will probably enjoy it.
Busting out of prison, sexy blonde Claudia Jennings (as Candy Morgan)
gets out of her jumpsuit and robs a small Texas bank, with lighted
sticks of dynamite. Ms. Jennings is assisted by sexy blonde bank teller
Jocelyn Jones (as Ellie-Jo Turner), who has just been fired for "total
lack of character." Lingering in bed with men causes Ms. Jones to be
late for work. Later, Jennings picks up Jones hitchhiking. The two
tightly outfitted women decide to team-up and become a modern day
"Bonnie and Clyde" (or "Bonnie and Bonnie"). They meet ex-"Riflemen"
cowboy Johnny Crawford (as Slim) robbing a convenience store, and take
him hostage. Knowing good gigs when he sees them, Mr. Crawford makes
the dynamite duo a threesome.
This is an excellent "exploitation" flick, thanks to the deft comic performances of the stars, and sneaky direction by Michael Pressman. Jennings and Jones are fantastic (both as a duo and a quartet). Jennings, who so sadly died in a car crash, was rumored to be considered for "Charlie's Angles" (replacing the departing Kate Jackson); and here, she looks like a combination of Farah Fawcett-Majors and Shelley Hack. All of these women had a refreshingly natural, sexy look. Lip and breast injections were not needed. Crawford provides a perfect male attachment for the women, with "Dark Shadows" star Chris Pennock (as Jake) and lucky bellhop Eric Boles (as Johnny) also appearing. And, all three men show off their nakedness, too.
The film is a success while it stays fun and sexy. You see a lot of explosions during the running time, but without the relative bloodiness, which helps keep the tone light. Generally speaking, everyone runs away before something blows up. All of this is tossed aside for a scene involving Crawford, Jennings and a couple of cops. Then, the film's tone changes too sharply. Also, the scene (you'll know it when you see it) looks fake. Too bad it wasn't better when it got bad, but when "The Great Texas Dynamite Chase" is good, it's very, very good. Having met Crawford and Pennock, and not mentioned this film, you guys should be proud. Hope it was as fun as it looks. (Hey CP, looking forward to "FB part 2" and your "Big Finish" debut.)
******* The Great Texas Dynamite Chase (7/76) Michael Pressman ~ Claudia Jennings, Jocelyn Jones, Johnny Crawford, Christopher Pennock
I suppose that I'm a sucker for films of this "sexy bank robbers on the run" category, but I found, to my great surprise, that I really enjoyed this minor entry to the genre. Viewers will no doubt be reminded of earlier films such as "Gun Crazy," Bonnie and Clyde" and "Butch Cassidy...," and of course the later "Thelma and Louise," as this movie enfolds. All those others are certainly superior films, but "Texas Dynamite Chase" still has a lot going for it. Claudia Jennings and Jocelyn Jones make for one sexy team, and the twangy/jangly honkytonk music, authentic-looking locations and credible script make for a very realistic experience. The only thing I had a hard time believing, actually, is just how far these gals get in their bank-robbing spree. The picture also concludes very surprisingly; I certainly did not see that one coming! Despite Danny Peary's comments to the contrary in his book "Cult Movies 2," I found Jennings' performance to be very good, indeed. What a shame that we lost her to a car accident shortly after this picture was made. Her sad real-life fate only makes the high-speed car chases in this film all the more affecting.
I found Claudia Jennings and Joselyn Jones to be real, human and very
sexy as outlaws in this one. Despite their difficulties with people, (
and men in general) they smile, are happy, and get good advice how to
rob banks with dynamite. This one is in the mold of Thelma and Louise,
but does not contain the male bashing, the female copy-catting, and
overall depressing theme that Thelma and Louise did.
This one did not say, that men are all evil, (except a super sensitive police chief), and women copy men's evil so we get evil all around. This one say's when people are put in bad situations they find a way to cope. It is more of a tribute to the human spirit than Thelma and Louise.
I can not say enough about, the affection I had for the Claudia Jenning character. Back when I saw this, I wished I could meet her. However, I was always into the bad girl, back then.
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