I Like to try to find an old movie on Saturday morning, a habit I’ve had for years. So one Saturday I turned on the television and saw that “Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry” was coming on in a few minutes.
I had seen this movie at a drive-in movie when it first came out in 1974. The movie was never great, but it is entertaining in a ‘B’ movie kind of way.
Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 50% rating based on 14 reviews. I’m not a movie reviewer, so I’ll give it a 72%.
This is a story about two ne’er-do-wells Larry and Deke. Dirty Mary is Crazy Larry’s one-night stand that goes along for the ride, after Crazy Larry and Deke rob a supermarket for $150,000.
Crazy Larry is a wannabe Nascar type race car driver and Deke is his ace mechanic. They robbed the supermarket to get enough money to get Crazy Larry into stock car racing.
Crazy Larry drives a 1966 Chevrolet Impala during the heist. Crazy Larry has a cool 1970’s shag haircut and wears fingerless driving gloves and sunglasses throughout most of the movie.
Deke usually sits in the back seat, acting as a spotter for the cops as they speed through the central valley of California during their getaway. Most of the scenery is flat deserted country roads and walnut groves.
Deke appears to be a moody character, and Crazy Larry implies that Deke may have a drinking problem.
Dirty Mary is a blonde chick with a nice body, but not too bright. She and Crazy Larry argue a lot and Deke always comes to her defense. Crazy Larry doesn’t call her Mary, instead he calls her dingleberry.
Crazy Larry has tried to ditch her a few times, but Deke wants her to stay with them because he digs her.
It isn’t long after the stick-up that a Sheriff’s Captain named Franklin picks up their trail, and begins to dispatch cars after the robbers.
Franklin is moodier than Deke and doesn’t respond to orders from his senior officer very well. Franklin likes to wear a windbreaker over his uniform and he has a beat-up cowboy hat that looks like he took it from a hobo.
The movie was filmed in the central valley of California. This is the sun baked honky-tonk part of the state that most Californians will never visit. Franklin’s deputies are portrayed as red neck Okie’s that just want to kick Crazy Larry’s ass when they catch him.
Before any reader accuses me of being politically incorrect, I will state that I was born in Arkansas, and worked in the central valley for several years.
After some deputies wreck their patrol cars trying to catch Crazy Larry, Captain Franklin ignores his commanding officer and orders a helicopter so he can get into the pursuit.
Crazy Larry has a citizen band radio in his car and a police scanner. It doesn’t take Captain Franklin long to figure out that the bandits are monitoring the police scanner, giving them an advantage over the deputies.
Captain Franklin contacts Crazy Larry over the radio by saying something like, Franklin to clown in blue car. Crazy Larry answers clown to helicopter, go ahead. Franklin has now established communications with Crazy Larry and his crew.
Before they took off to chase the robbers, the helicopter pilot warned Captain Franklin that he only has forty-five minutes of fuel, but Franklin doesn’t care. He wants these punks in jail and orders the pilot to continue to fly.
There are several crash scenes where the deputies wreck the county cars, and Captain Franklin accuses his superior officer of only being concerned about the cars. Franklin wants these punks bad and he ignores the superior officer for the rest of the movie.
Somewhere along the way, the robbers ditch the Impala at a swap meet and pick up a 1968 Dodge Charger they have stashed away at the swap meet. The robbers are identified before they leave the swap meet and Crazy Larry has to crash his way out of the swap met.
A farmer makes the mistake of pulling out, in front of the speeding get-away car as Crazy Larry tears down a farm road. The farmers pick-up truck is overturned and all Crazy Larry cares about is getting the front fender pulled out and the tire replaced.
Dirty Mary, now known to Capt. Franklin as Mary Coombs can’t believe that Crazy Larry didn’t care if the farmer was dead or alive after the crash, and Crazy Larry drifts off into the walnut trees while Deke works on the car and Dirty Mary sulks.
Deke fix’s the car and the three outlaws take off down the road, until their luck changes when they meet an oncoming freight train.
Leroy B. Vaughn is a raconteur, former skip tracer and trained observer. He has never met bad bad Leroy Brown, but he knew Jack Shit back in the 1960s.