5.6/10
492
14 user 25 critic

Crazy Mama (1975)

Several women begin an outlaws' lives in a desperate trip to their family farm, which was taken off them by corrupt authorities.

Director:

Jonathan Demme

Writers:

Robert Thom (screenplay), Frances Doel (story)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cloris Leachman ... Melba
Stuart Whitman ... Jim Bob
Ann Sothern ... Sheba
Jim Backus ... Mr. Albertson
Don Most ... Shawn (as Donn Most)
Linda Purl ... Cheryl
Bryan Englund Bryan Englund ... Snake
Merie Earle Merie Earle ... Bertha
Sally Kirkland ... Ella Mae
Clint Kimbrough Clint Kimbrough ... Daniel
Dick Miller ... Wilbur Janeway
Carmen Argenziano ... Supermarket Manager
Harry Northup ... FBI Man
Ralph James Ralph James ... Sheriff - 1932
Dinah Englund Dinah Englund ... Melba - 1932
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Storyline

Jonathan Demme directs this joyous relentlessly kitschy celebration of 1950s America: opportunity, rock'n'roll, and the road. He follows three generations of women and the men they pick up, for a crime spree from California to the old family homestead in Arkansas. Written by Concorde - New Horizons (with permission).

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

These Ladies are Wanted for Bigamy, Robbery, Kidnapping, Assaulting an Officer and 69 Violations of the Traffic Code See more »

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Drama | Crime

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 November 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Crazy Ladies See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

New World Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie contains not one, but TWO 1960 Edsels. Only 2846 were produced. This movie takes place in 1958, but the producers were not too concerned about use of period-correct vehicles. The first 1960 Edsel was a green four-door sedan used to make a get-away from the motocross competition. The second 1960 Edsel was a police car that was damaged. See more »

Quotes

Bertha: I think I'm gonna start smokin' a cigar, you know, change my image. What's so good about being an outlaw when you look like an in-law?
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Connections

Featured in That Guy Dick Miller (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

All I Have To Do Is Dream
Written by Felice Bryant and Boudleaux Bryant
Performed by The Everly Brothers
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A hidden gem disguised as a 70's drive-in flick!
20 June 2001 | by southpatcherSee all my reviews

Cloris Leachman was spinning off from a supporting role on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" to headlining her own series "Phyllis" in 1975, the same year this goofy road movie was released. Leachman stars as Melba Stokes, who runs a beauty parlor in Long Beach, California with her mother Sheba (Ann Sothern) and her daughter Cheryl (Linda Purl). When the shop is repossessed by banker Jim Backus aka Thurston Howell III (a great little cameo) Leachman and ladies head back to Arkansas and the family farm which was stolen away from them when Melba was a girl. Along for the ride is Cheryl's boyfriend, surfer boy Donny Most aka Ralph Malph who finds out he's going to be a daddy thanks to Cheryl. The ladies knock over a filling station, which sets about their plan to rob their way back to Arkansas earning the money to buy back the farm.

Stopping over in Las Vegas, Melba hooks up with Jim Bob Trotter (Stuart Whitman). Cheryl falls for greasy biker Snake (Bryan Englund, Leachman's real life son), and Sheba makes a friend in elderly Bertha (Merie Earle) who believes that the secret to casino winning is to spout cliches before she pulls the handle on the slot machine. Jim Bob and Melba decide to have a phony wedding so the makeshift gang can rob the chapel, and then it's back on the road!

The ladies continue their crime spree, knocking over a grocery store and a bank. Meanwhile, back in Texas, Jim Bob's depressing wife (Sally Kirkland) is startled to hear that he's been kidnapped. Another plan by Melba and company to raise money, this one turns out in a bad way for the group. When Melba and her gang finally return to Jerusalem, Arkansas they are disappointed to see that the farmland of their youth has been turned into a country club. Needless to say, there is a hijacked wedding and more car chases.

This is a funny movie (with a GREAT final scene) that is given spirited performances by Leachman, Sothern, and especially Merie Earle as the nursing home escapee who finds a few thrills in her last days. There is some surprising violence, an eclectic 50's soundtrack, and control over the whole crazy-quilt through the direction of Jonathan Demme. The most touching scene in the film is when the weary travellers stand under a tree and remember their fallen friends by "shouting them into Heaven".

Hopefully, this one will be released on DVD in my lifetime.


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