What’s The Rockbrat Viewing Today ? THE GREAT TEXAS DYNAMITE CHASE (1976)

Posted: September 26, 2011 by Cowboy Col in What's The Rockbrat Viewing Today ?
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After watching Caged Heat last week, with my appetite for exploitation films truly whetted, I figured it was time to re watch The Great Texas Dynamite Chase (TGTDC). This one is reviewed in volume 2 of Danny Peary’s movie bible, ‘Cult Films’. So, today’s film that the Rockbrat is viewing is this cult classic from 1976 also known as ‘Dynamite Women’. To sum it up in one sentence – it’s a criminal comedy film directed by Michael Pressman. This was Pressman’s first film, and he would go on to make such films as The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training (1977) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991). Don’t let those duds fool you though – this film is saved by the two blonde heroines who star in it, and not by any great directing skill. On the surface of it – the premise of the film is pretty simple. A blonde (Candy Morgan) escapes from prison and holds up a bank with a lit stick of dynamite. (Whilst in prison she was working on a demolition road gang – clearing land for roads, which is how she learnt to use the dynamite). One of the tellers in the bank, (Ellie-Jo Turner) who had moments before been fired be the Bank Manager, takes a liking to Candy’s frivolous and care free crime and helps her in the robbery. They team up and cruise from town to town, bank job to bank job, and in the process live a high life with the best that money can buy. Elli-Jo takes a boy friend about half way through the film (Johnny Crawford – who played the son in The Rifleman, yet here he is all grown up) and they then become a threesome. There is really no reason for his inclusion in the film. He is written into the scrip as a hostage but it’s a weak deal. Sure, he’s likeable, and he’s a love interest – buy why? The Texas cops ultimately gun him down in a brutal bloody scene which is totally incongruous with the light crime comedy theme that makes up the majority of the film. The girls team up again and ride off on horses into the sunset – again escaping the clutches of the Texas constabulary – who in this film are the bumbling country red neck cousins of Enis and Cletis. Candy Morgan is played by Claudia Jennings, Elli-Jo by Jocelyn Jones. Jennings was known as ‘Queen Of The 70s B films) and you can see why. She was a Playboy Playmate of the year in 1970 who was a fine actress – as well as looking smoking hot. She was turned down for a role in Charlies Angels immediately prior to her death in a car crash in 1979, and she could have and should have, gone on to better and bigger films. In some scenes she almost passes as a trashier, dirtier version of Farrah Fawcett. She cuts a fine figure indeed in her skimpy cut of jeans. She also starred in “Gator Bait” and “Roller Derby”, with all these three films her most well known roles. Jocelyn Jones is also hot, and both girls parade around in skimpy crop tops and shorts. Jones has an instantly likeable charm and brings a sassy girly appeal to the screen. She would later go on to star in ‘Tourist Trap’ and also with Eastwood in The Enforcer. Forget the self conscious rip off remake of latter years, Thelma and Louise. This is the one to go for. It’s brash, funny and spirited, and was a standard B flick in the drive-ins in the late 70s. They also cruise around in muscle cars and a spiff looking Mustang coupe as well. A tick from the Cowboy. There’s ample views of the open Texas plains, bank robberies and explosions galore, and plenty of nudity too. Another tick from the Cowboy. I read a quote that referred to Claudia Jennings in this film as ‘sex on wheels’. It’s an apt description. The irony however is not lost on me that a short time later she was sadly killed in a high speed auto accident. 7 out of 10.

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