BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Crazy Mama/The Lady in Red D♀uble Feature (1975, 1979) - Blu-ray Review

Crazy Mama/The Lady in Red D♀uble Feature

Guns! Sin! And bathtub gin!

In this women-centered d♀uble feature from Shout! Factory, Crazy Mama takes a commanding lead for Producer Roger Corman as Academy Award winner Cloris Leachman pulls off yet another crazy character with that of Melba Stokes as she and her crazy family  embark on a road trip like few others . . . especially when it turns into a CRIME SPREE!

"commercial exploitation done absolutely RIGHT"


Directed by Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia) and co-starring Ann Sothern as Sheba, Melba’s mother, and The Office’s Linda Purl as Melba’s teenage daughter, Cheryl, Crazy Mama is commercial exploitation done absolutely RIGHT.  While this low budget flick is a bit weak in the logic department, the on-screen hilarity that the cast is having - because none of this is taken seriously - rubs off onto its audience, making this film an absolute hit when it comes to comedy and side-splitting fun.

Evicted from her beauty salon by Jim Backus, Melba and her crew hit the road along with a surfer (who gets Cheryl pregnant) in order to lay claim to the family homestead in Arkansas.  But, somewhere along the way, they begin to take the law into their own hands robbing grocery stores and banks and, while not getting a lot of attention from the authorities, they also meet a bored sheriff, Jim Bob (Stuart Whitman), and pretend to kidnap him while demanding a big payout from his wife (Sally Kirkland).

Furthering Corman’s look into Depression era crime and the dirt poor antics of its casualties - especially for the ladies is The Lady in Red, a surprisingly GREAT film that actually provides a reason for all its exploitative elements.  Directed by Alligator’s Lewis Teague and written by John Sayles (Passion Fish), The Lady in Red is an ambitious journey as we follow the tragedy of Polly Franklin (Pamela Sue Martin) as she leaves her family’s farm and heads to Chicago daring to dream of a better life as a dancer for her somewhere out there.Crazy Mama/The Lady in Red D♀uble Feature

But this world - especially in the years before labor laws - is going to kick her ass.  

The Lady in Red is the story of how Polly goes from sweat shop worker giving hand jobs in the back rooms for extra money to prostitution working off a furlough and beyond, ultimately meeting John Dillinger (Robert Conrad) with his rudimentary plastic surgery, becoming his girlfriend, and then robbing the mob before the bloodbath begins to silence everything and everyone.  Talk about mean streets! 

Co-starring Dick Miller, Louise Fletcher, Christopher Lloyd, Nancy Parsons, Robert Forster, and Laurie Heineman as Rose her best friend, The Lady in Red might not have been the box office breadwinner it deserves to be, but it remains a solid and thrilling watch throughout as bullets become blessings for the working poor.  

Both films are now on blu-ray in a limited edition release from Shout! Factory.

5/5 beers

Crazy Mama/The Lady in Red D♀uble Feature

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Shout! Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- May 16, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.85:1, 1.78:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

In Crazy Mama, Academy Award winner Cloris Leachman stars as Melba Stokes, a middle-aged woman who runs a California beauty parlor with her mother Sheba (Ann Sothern) and teenage daughter Cheryl (Linda Purl). When the shop is repossessed, the three ladies take a road trip which turns into a crime spree from California to the family home in Arkansas. Also starring Donny Most (Happy Days), Jim Backus (Rebel Without A Cause), and Stuart Whitman (The Longest Day), Crazy Mama was directed by Academy Award winner Jonathan Demme (The Silence Of The Lambs).  In Lady in Red, Pamela Sue Martin stars as the infamous Polly Franklin, whose red dress served as an identifying beacon for the FBI's murder of public enemy #1, John Dillinger (Robert Conrad) in Lewis Teague's The Lady In Red. From sweatshop to dime-a-dance hall, from prison to house of prostitution, Polly's journey brings her even closer to the gang-run crime world of the '30s ... until that fateful day when she met and fell in love with John Dillinger. Academy Award winner Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest) and Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future) also star.

Video:

Shout Factory presents both of these exploitation flicks on 1080p with groovy results. The image is crisper than previously seen and far grittier. You can even taste the dirt. Framed in various aspect ratios (1.85:1 and1.78:1), the transfers presented here are accurate when it comes to clothing and skin tones. Some scenes are a bit problematic considering the age of the film, but nothing that detracts from the sheer joy of the HD presentation. 

Audio:

The sound is presented in a clear English 1.0 DTS-HD MA track that makes robbing the banks feel oh so very lively.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See Special Features for the breakdown.

Special Features:

Here is what is listed, but due to a production error, the initial run of this release was missing an advertised bonus feature for Crazy Mama. Customers who have already ordered this Blu-ray will be sent the revised disc as soon as it is available. New orders for this product will resume shipping to arrive on July 20, 2021 with a corrected Blu-ray disc. 

CRAZY MAMA

  • Audio Commentary With Director Jonathan Demme And Producer Roger Corman
  • Interview With Jonathan Demme And Roger Corman
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots

THE LADY IN RED

  • Audio Commentary With Director Lewis Teague And Actor Robert Forster
  • Audio Commentary With Producer Julie Corman And Screenwriter John Sayles
  • Theatrical Trailers

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars

 

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Crazy Mama/The Lady in Red D♀uble Feature

 

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