Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Great Texas Dynamite Chase (Michael Pressman, 1976)

Not quite sure who wears the cut-off jean shorts in this here movie, I started to panic. Why, oh, why, I thought myself, why did I announce my plans to review "The Jean Short Trilogy" without making sure the third film features Claudia Jennings in cut-off jean shorts? I know, you're thinking to yourself: Why does Claudia Jennings have to wear cut-off jean shorts? After all, it's called "The Jean Short Trilogy," not "The Claudia Jennings in Jean Shorts... Trilogy." That's true, it's not. But I would really like there to be a consistent theme. And that theme involves Claudia Jennings in cut-off jean shorts. The reason I wasn't sure Claudia Jennings was the one who wears cut-off jean shorts in The Great Texas Dynamite Chase is because her co-star looks exactly like Claudia Jennings. Yep, you heard right, Jocelyn Jones is a dead ringer for Claudia Jennings. And since they both appear in almost every scene together, this caused much unnecessary confusion on my part. Oh, sure, I could tell them apart up close. But when things got a tad distant, I had no idea who was who. The only instance where looking alike seemed to pay off is when they pretend to be sisters. But other than that... Okay, they look similar, let's move on, shall we?

Unpredictable, volatile and highly persuasive. You could use these words to describe the explosives and the women who wield them in The Great Texas Dynamite Chase (a.k.a. Dynamite Women), a Roger Corman-produced action flick with heist and road movie elements that occasionally feels like a sex comedy with feminist undertones.

Actually, everything you need to know about the film can be found in its straightforward title. Let's break it down:  The definite article gives the title a sense of purpose right out of the gate; "Great" lets the audience know going in that something special is about to transpire ("The Texas Dynamite Chase" just doesn't have the same ring to it).

"Texas" is the same as "Great," in that, who would want to watch "The Great Delaware Dynamite Chase"? I know I wouldn't, and I love Delaware (in addition, Texas is the perfect setting for crime flicks that involve fugitives from the law as Mexico is conveniently located just to the south); "Dynamite" makes sense as it's the favourite weapon of our sexy bank robbers and it also implies action; and "Chase," well, since the beginning of time, the pursuit (the "hot" variety in particular) has always been integral part of the human psyche.

Getting back to cut-off jean shorts, accentuating the acute firmness of her centerfold-quality legs, the sight of Claudia Jennings in cut-off jean shorts is so titillating, so provocative, that it should be against the law.

Forget about robbing banks with sticks of dynamite, someone arrest this woman for violating The Trouser Integrity Act of 1973, which clearly stipulates that the freakish deformities located near the crotch area of your average human male shall not be aroused from their crumpled slumbers by outside stimuli, particularly in the form of attire that emphasize the thighs and calves of the members of the opposite sex.

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I need to make a point that doesn't involve Claudia Jennings in cut-off jean shorts. No, no, no, hear me out. It's just that I noticed that the three characters Claudia Jennings plays in 'Gator Bait, Unholy Rollers and The Great Texas Dynamite Chase have more in common than just an affinity for cut-off jean shorts. I'm officially declaring Claudia Jennings a feminist icon. Think about it, the characters she plays in these three movies are headstrong, forthright and are the kind of women who rarely ever take guff from anyone.

While Desiree Thibodeau from 'Gator Bait is definitely headstrong and Karen Walker from Unholy Rollers is pretty fucking forthright, I would say Candy Morgan in The Great Texas Dynamite Chase is all three.

Breaking out prison as the film gets underway, the opening of the film plays out like the end of a women in prison film, as Candy can be seen running down a hill in a grey prison shirt paired with white knee-socks. Meeting her sister, Pam (a pre-Van Nuys Blvd., pre-Malibu Beach Tara Strohmeier), on the dirt road, Candy changes her clothes and heads straight to the nearest bank armed with a fist full of dynamite.

Meanwhile, Ellie-Joe Turner (Jocelyn Jones) is just waking up. Grabbing her pantyhose off her dresser, Ellie-Joe combs her hair and heads off to work... at the Bank of Alpine.

After arriving late, Ellie-Joe's boss decides to fire her. But just as he's doing so, guess who stomps in wielding two sticks of dynamite? That's right, it's Candy. Realizing she has nothing left to lose, Ellie-Joe helps Candy bag her cash more efficiently.

With no job and no prospects, Ellie-Joe hitches a ride out of town (don't worry, she leaves her cat with some dude). When the first guy she bums a ride from turns out to be a massive pervert, she tries her luck again. Anyone care to guess who picks her up next? Yep, it's Candy. Who has just returned from giving her family the money she acquired from the Alpine heist.

I'm surprised the first thing they didn't talk about was how much they lookalike. Sure, Candy's a redhead and Ellie-Joe's blonde, but other than that... At any rate, the conversation soon turns to robbing banks with dynamite.

Teaming up to rob banks, Candy and Ellie-Joe's first attempt to rob a bank together fails miserably (wonky dynamite). I'll give them this, though, they sure looked classy in those red (Ellie-Joe) and yellow (Candy) dresses.

When they're done reaffirming their commitment to one another, Candy and Ellie-Joe set out to procure some dynamite that actually works.

This leads them to Jake (Christopher Pennock), a.k.a. Dynamite Boy. When Dynamite Bo... I mean, when Jake asks Candy if she has a permit to buy dynamite, she should have just gestured toward her shapely stems, which were jutting out from a skimpy pair of cut-off jean shorts. Actually, she sort of does just that. Except, instead of gesturing, Candy crouches. And, as most people know, it's impossible to say no to Claudia Jennings when she's crouching in cut-off jean shorts.

Equipped with a box of brand spanking new dynamite, nothing can stop Candy and Ellie-Joe from robbing every bank from Alpine, Texas to the Mexican border.

After Candy and Ellie-Joe rob their third bank, you have to wonder though: How much money do these chicks need? I mean, do belly-chains and cut-off jean shorts really cost that much?

Nonetheless, if you like films that are shot predominantly outside and one's that feature two skinny white women who sort of lookalike robbing banks with dynamite, do yourself a favour and check out The Great Texas Dynamite Chase. But really, what are you going to do instead, read a book?


  1. Hi Yum-Yum! Another great post, luv the screenshots!!

    1. No wonder, Claudia Jennings was the epitome of photogenic.