Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/10/07
Cast: Peter Fonda, Susan George, Adam Roarke, Vic Morrow, Roddy McDowall

Cited as "the longest high-speed car chase in history," which may be true, but that doesn't mean it's any good. Larry and Deke (Peter Fonda and Adam Roarke) are two crooks who are trying to steal enough cash to get into the pro racing circuit. Huh? After a well planned heist it looks like they just might get away with it, if not for a young woman named Mary (Susan George) who gets involved and blows their plans to hell. Nearly the entire film takes place on the road as Larry and Mary exchange insults and are pursued by incompetent cops under the command of Captain Franklin (super cranky Vic Morrow). Franklin has a personal vendetta against Larry for some reason, although it's not clear he even knows who he is.

Typical for the times, there's a certain undercurrent of existentialism in the film, and none of the characters are remotely likable (except for maybe Deke, who keeps his demons under wraps). While the majority of the film is a slow and boring character study, the shocking climax brings everything in focus. While you may be able to outrun the law, you can't outrun yourself. There's also a recurring theme of chaos and randomness that constantly undermines the protagonists' plans and shatters their reality. Mary herself is the embodiment of chaos, and one could conclude that the message of the film is that women will always be the downfall of men. It's a dark and unpleasant film, devoid of joy or hope. But at least there are car chases. Unfortunately, they're not particularly interesting, but they do create a nice sensation of speed.

There's also a lot of great 70's lingo that's completely impenetrable, with my favorite line being "I'm gonna braid your tits!" What the hell does that mean? Another good line is one of the cops yelling "I'm going to eat your lunch you long-haired faggot!" Eat your lunch? Should that scare or intimidate me? Really, I just find it perplexing...