Synopsis

Director

Jonathan Demme

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by southpatcher 9 /10

A hidden gem disguised as a 70's drive-in flick!

Cloris Leachman was spinning off from a supporting role on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" to headlining her own series "Phyllis" in 1975, the same year this goofy road movie was released. Leachman stars as Melba Stokes, who runs a beauty parlor in Long Beach, California with her mother Sheba (Ann Sothern) and her daughter Cheryl (Linda Purl). When the shop is repossessed by banker Jim Backus aka Thurston Howell III (a great little cameo) Leachman and ladies head back to Arkansas and the family farm which was stolen away from them when Melba was a girl. Along for the ride is Cheryl's boyfriend, surfer boy Donny Most aka Ralph Malph who finds out he's going to be a daddy thanks to Cheryl. The ladies knock over a filling station, which sets about their plan to rob their way back to Arkansas earning the money to buy back the farm.

Stopping over in Las Vegas, Melba hooks up with Jim Bob Trotter (Stuart Whitman). Cheryl falls for greasy biker Snake (Bryan Englund, Leachman's real life son), and Sheba makes a friend in elderly Bertha (Merie Earle) who believes that the secret to casino winning is to spout cliches before she pulls the handle on the slot machine. Jim Bob and Melba decide to have a phony wedding so the makeshift gang can rob the chapel, and then it's back on the road!

The ladies continue their crime spree, knocking over a grocery store and a bank. Meanwhile, back in Texas, Jim Bob's depressing wife (Sally Kirkland) is startled to hear that he's been kidnapped. Another plan by Melba and company to raise money, this one turns out in a bad way for the group. When Melba and her gang finally return to Jerusalem, Arkansas they are disappointed to see that the farmland of their youth has been turned into a country club. Needless to say, there is a hijacked wedding and more car chases.

This is a funny movie (with a GREAT final scene) that is given spirited performances by Leachman, Sothern, and especially Merie Earle as the nursing home escapee who finds a few thrills in her last days. There is some surprising violence, an eclectic 50's soundtrack, and control over the whole crazy-quilt through the direction of Jonathan Demme. The most touching scene in the film is when the weary travellers stand under a tree and remember their fallen friends by "shouting them into Heaven".

Hopefully, this one will be released on DVD in my lifetime.

Reviewed by chad478 N/A

A joy from start to finish!

This lively celebration of 1950's America is one of director Jonathan Demme's earliest and best films. After losing their beauty salon to some repossession men in California, grandmother Ann Sothern, mother Cloris Leachman, and daughter Linda Purl hit the road and embark on a crime spree, robbing and shooting their way back to their mid-western roots in Arkansas. CRAZY MAMA recreates a convincing '50's atmosphere, offers some of that decade's greatest music and, above all, features excellent performances by a wonderful cast. The film's brightest moments are supplied by Cloris Leachman and Ann Sothern, two of the finest actresses to ever grace the screen. Sothern's daughter, the equally gifted Tisha Sterling, plays her mother's character as a young woman in the opening scene of the film.

Reviewed by chad478 N/A

A joy from start to finish!

This lively celebration of America in the 1950's is one of director Jonathan Demme's earliest and best films. After losing their beauty parlor to repossession men in Long Beach, California, grandmother Ann Sothern, mother Cloris Leachman, and daughter Linda Purl hit the road and turn to a life of crime, hoping to eventually make their way to family homestead in Arkansas. CRAZY MAMA recreates a convincing '50's atmosphere, offers some of that decade's greatest music, and features an excellent cast. The film's brightest moments are supplied by Ann Sothern, one of the finest actresses to ever grace the screen. Sothern's daughter is actress Tisha Sterling who plays her mother's character as a young woman in the opening scenes of the film.

Read more IMDb reviews