DVD Review: Big Bad Mama PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Projectionist   
Tuesday, 21 June 2011 22:39


bbm1_poster bbm1_posterI'll be honest right up front, Angie Dickinson help me pull myself through puberty. I never missed an episode of "Policewoman", I was afraid I'd miss an episode that called for her to infiltrate a strip club, or a brothel. Usually she just ended up talking into the mic hidden in her bra, but when you're 14 years old in the pre-internet 70s, you take what you can get.

"Big Bad Mama" was a cinematic landmark to me when I saw it at our local drive-in, so I couldn't wait to see how it would hold up to my now 50 year old movie tastes.

The movie is a Roger Corman production, so you know it's low budget all the way. It stars the delectable Ms. Dickinson, Tom Skerritt, & William Shatner. Skerritt must have either written, produced or directed the movie, or maybe Roger Corman just really likes him, as he winds up bedding every hot female character in the movie. Mama, the two borderline jail bait daughters (Susan Sennett and Robbie Lee), even the female hostage they kidnap late in the film all succumb to Skerritt's charms.

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The Plot

The setting is the depression, WIlma McClatchie (Mama) and the girls are headed to her youngest daughters wedding. The bride looks to be about 14, and acts like shes 8. Just my opinion, but if you still carry a baby doll around with you maybe you're not quite ready for matrimony.

At the wedding when the preacher asks if anyone objects, all hell breaks loose when Mama speaks up. Mama and the girls make a getaway from the confusion in "Uncle" Barney's moonshine runnin' car. Barney is shot by a Fed, (One of the feds is played by the always lovely and entertaining Dick Miller, a staple of quite a few Corman productions.) who's been on his tail, and Mama and the girls take over Barney's Moonshine business. Things don't work out for them though, as various short scenes show, culminating in a delivery to the Sheriff's son. He puts the move on Polly (Robbie Lee), the youngest daughter, but they're interrupted by the Sheriff. He arrests Polly for selling bootleg whiskey, Mama pays a bribe to spring her, using the money made from the moonshining. She decides there are better ways to make a buck.

While Wilma tries to make a few buck waitressing, the girls audition to be strippers and are hired. During their striptease performance, Wilma springs thru the doors, grabs them off the stage and grabs all of the money in the collection box. Pulling a gun on the men there, she and the girls make off with the money. (Note to self, Robbie Lee was a bouncy little thing, I need to review more of her movies...)

While in a bank trying to cash a bad check, Wilma and the girls meet bank robber Fred Diller (Skerritt), who is in the process of robbing the bank. In the excitement Wilma grabs the money and makes a run for it. Diller grabs onto their car when they fly by, and the group makes a getaway via gunshots and car crashes. The group become uneasy partners in crime.

skerrit_and_mama skerrit_and_mamaAfter the required double entendres and flirting Skerritt begins his carnal journey through the flesh of the females in the cast. If your thumb has slipped off the pause button on your remote, fear not, there will be quite a few more opportunities to admire Ms. Dickinson's amazingly well preserved body later on.

The very next day Wilma goes to bet on the ponies and literally runs into her next bed and crime partner con man William J. Baxter. (The long awaited William Shatner). He catches a ride with them from the track, and on the way home the gang stops off to committ s robbery, as they are want to do. Baxter waits in the car with an uneasy constipated look on his face.

mama and shatner mama and shatnerOf course as soon as they're back at the hideout, Mama jumps in bed with the new guy. Shatner attackes her from the rear, his caresses looking more like probing done on an alien lifeform. Angie Dickinson looks to be on the edge of screaming "Let me do it myself!" but she manages to stay in character until the scene ends.

Diller makes the best of the situation by bedding the oldest girl, who feels bad about the youngest being left out, so she goes and invites her to join them. I guess it was true that during the depression everyone had to share to make sure there was enough to go around.

The gang pulls a few more jobs, culminating in the kidnapping of an heiress (Joan Prather). Of course Diller makes an attempt to throw her the high hard one, and she almost escapes. The gang sets up a ransom drop, and Baxter finks on them to save his own ass after being captured by the cops. All hell breaks loose, with Diller getting shot to ribbons, and Mama and the girls making a clean getaway... Or do they?

Skerritt and Shatner both played the parts required by the script, and moved onto other projects. Angie Dickinson would go on to entertain and stimulate audiences for many years afterward, and the two girls in the movie faded away into cartoon voice-overs and marriage to rock stars. (See "Big Bad Behind" for more...)

mama full frontal mama full frontalAll in all, the movie stood up over time. It doesn't try to be anything it isn't, merely giving us cheap and quick entertainment. And reminding us that Angie Dickinson was not a natural blonde, but she did have enough wool to knit a sweater.

Big Bad Mama was always a great addition on any double or triple bill at your local passion pit. It's definitely worth a rental or a purchase. At the time of this writing, it is available for streaming from Netflix.


Last Updated on Saturday, 13 August 2011 12:38

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