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Swamp Women

Posted by martinteller on October 2, 2012

Josie Nardo (Marie Windsor) and her gang (Beverly Garland, Jil Jarmyn) are in prison for a diamond robbery worth half a million dollars.  They never told anyone where the loot was stashed, and Lieutenant Lee Hampton (Carole Mathews) wants to find out.  So she goes undercover, buddies up to the gang, orchestrates the world’s easiest jailbreak, and tags along through the Louisiana bayou as they fetch the jewels.  Along the way, they’ll squabble, pick up a pair of hostages (Mike “Touch” Connors and Susan Cummings), squabble, discuss what they’ll do with the money, and squabble.

Where to start?  First of all, this is labeled (among other genres) as horror on IMDb, and has appeared in a cheapo public domain DVD set of horror movies, but there’s nothing the least bit horror about it.  Maybe the part with the alligator, if you’re being generous.  You could call it adventure, or maybe even noir, but let’s be honest… it’s straight up exploitation.  One of the best parts is when the ladies decide to cut their jeans into short-shorts, because in the insect-infected swamp everyone knows Daisy Dukes are the most suitable attire, right?  All the better for leggy wrestling in the swamp water, though.

So why did I bother to watch a movie with a whopping 2.6 rating on IMDb?  Very simple: Marie Windsor.  One of my favorite noir dames, she’s got a hard edge (and intimidating height) that always makes her a compelling presence.  Even in nonsense like this.  This certainly isn’t a role of the caliber of The Killing or The Narrow Margin, but she’s one of the best things here.

Although I think 2.6 is rather unfair, it’s definitely a bad film.  The script (“Oh, this stinkin’ swamp water stinks!”) and most of the performances are shoddy.  Everyone’s way too casual, for one thing.  Mathews is awfully flippant about her undercover operation, Connors flirts with his captors, all the gals sometimes act like they’re on a camping trip.  Tonally, it’s a mess.  Also, the film inexplicably starts with Connors and Cummings at Mardi Gras, presumably to insert long stretches of unnecessary stock footage.  Then there’s an odd sidebar with a crafty pickpocket who has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the movie.  Even clocking in at a mere 68 minutes, the film drags as the ladies have repetitive arguments and catfights and work their way towards the diamonds.

It’s one of Roger Corman’s first movies, and his flair for high camp is on display.  Maybe by most conventional standards it’s a lousy piece of work, but there is some low-budget charm to it.  It’s a bunch of bad girls fighting, isn’t that what you came for?  Unfortunately, the extremely rough DVD makes it pretty hard to watch (this screenshot is one of the few images that’s not blown out and/or washed out to the point of distraction), but as a piece of entertainment you could do a lot worse.  You could do a lot better, too.  Rating: Poor (53)


4 Responses to “Swamp Women”

  1. JamDenTel said

    And to think Michael Medved listed this as one of the 50 worst films ever made. But perhaps that says more about him than anything else.

  2. JamDenTel said

    No doubt, he sucks massively.

  3. […] Martin Teller Swamp Women […]

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