Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974)

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974)

This action-adventure stars Peter Fonda as Larry, who steals $150,000 from a supermarket to buy a car so he can get into stock car racing. With his mechanic friend Deke (Adam Roarke), he sets off on a journey across California, evading the police and picking up Mary (Susan George) on the way.

Mary watches with awe and wide-eyed excitement as Larry demonstrates his own brand of craziness in a series of daredevil stunts with the car. He deftly shaves it between two giant lorries; sails across a lifting drawbridge and swerves violently to avoid a head-on collision with the astonished drivers on the other side and gaily nudges pursuing police cars off the road.

The three escapees know just what the police are up to all the time because they have a two-way radio and can listen in to the instructions batting back and forth.

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When a fair number of police cars are littered about the countryside in varying states of demolition, the relentless county Sheriff Franklin (Vic Morrow) takes another tack. In his reconnaissance helicopter, he swoops down to hover above the fleeing car and with the aircraft runners tries to knock it off the road.

As luck would have it, the helicopter has to withdraw because it is running out of fuel.

In a final attempt to make the trio outdrive themselves, the Sheriff issues dummy instructions to make them believe they are boxed in. But Deke sees through the ruse and as they set off at top speed towards freedom, their combined relief erupts in jubilation . . . and leads to their final error.

Still trading on his Easy Rider (1969) image, Fonda drifts through what rapidly becomes a demolition derby with pit stops for disputes over George’s sexual favours.

As one would expect, the cars crash and career spectacularly and the Californian scenery is often eye-catching, but this road movie pales beside Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) and even Vanishing Point (1971).

Peter Fonda
Susan George
Adam Roarke
Sheriff Everett Franklin
Vic Morrow
Kenneth Tobey
Roddy McDowall

John Hough