Swamp Women (1956)

Note: Today’s post is in collaboration with Todd from Cinema Monolith, bringing back our two-person Cheeseathon! Head over to Todd’s blog to find out his thoughts on this alligator-infused crime thriller.

Swamp Women 1956
(Image via IMDb)

Lee Hampton (Carole Matthews) is in prison, but not for any crime. She’s an undercover policewoman attempting to find stolen diamonds. Three prisoners — Josie (Marie Windsor), Vera (Beverly Garland), and Billie (Jil Jarmyn) — were involved in the crime and are said to have hidden the jewels somewhere.

Lee enters prison with a plan to break out and bring the three convicts with her. She hopes they’ll agree to show her where the jewels are and split the profits in exchange for a spot in her getaway car.

Will Lee succeed? Will she even survive?

Swamp Women was directed by Roger Corman and written by David Stern.

There’s a lot to poke fun at in Swamp Women: the in-and-out Southern accents, the over-the-top sass, and shocked screams of “WHAT IS THAT?!” when a relatively normal alligator appears in its natural habitat. But I have to say, I kind of fell in love with this film.

It’s one of those films that has a little bit of everything. Characters attend Mardi Gras festivities (including some neat old stock footage), break out of prison, engage in undercover sleuthing, go on a tumultuous river excursion, romance a snooty geologist, and dig up stolen jewels. They’re a busy bunch, and I enjoyed nearly every minute of their shenanigans.

I knew practically nothing about this film going in — hadn’t even read a proper synopsis. But I was very into it by the 15-minute mark, and it continued to hold my interest with ease thanks to its greed, betrayal, crime, and conflict.

Swamp Women 1956-2
(Image via YouTube)

Central to the story is a gang of angry, brash lady-prisoners and an undercover woman cop, all of whom just made me love the film more. Even when the pace slows a bit, their tense dynamics, many (and surprisingly intense, though clearly added to appeal to a certain viewer) wrestling matches, and fast-talking jabs kept me hooked. I especially loved Marie Windsor’s performance.

The acting and writing can be a little ridiculous, of course, but this is such a good late-night cheeser. It isn’t the laugh-out-loud type of so-bad-it’s-good, but it kept my attention and kept me chuckling. It’s quite simple in story and not nearly as high on corn as it could have been, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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12 thoughts on “Swamp Women (1956)

  1. Hey, sounds like we pretty much agree on this one! It held our interest, we thought it was fun, and we both liked the performance of Marie Windsor…and of course, that dialogue was just classic. I think it’s funny, though, that we disagreed on the Mardi Gras stock footage!

    And I wanted to ask you: did you get the idea that Mike Connors was a cop or police detective? This was the second time I’d watched this, and I caught a few things at the end of the film that made me think he wasn’t just a guy in a canoe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did kind of get a cop vibe from him at the end! He and the undercover cop seemed like they were in cahoots. Wasn’t sure if I was just misreading it though. I’ll have to look out for that when I rewatch!

      My love for the Mardi Gras stock footage can be explained by my love of stock footage in general, haha. I’m always fascinated by it, especially when it relates to parades or holidays. It seemed out of place but I was so interested by the old krewes that I didn’t care!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, they did seem to possibly be ‘in cahoots’! And there were two things I heard (that maybe I incorrectly heard) that made me think he was a cop: it sounded like at one point that police chief who was always on the phone made reference to having to get ‘our guy’ out of the swamp, and at the end Connors made it sound like he’d help get the policewoman off the hook, still thinking she was a real prisoner. Subtle perhaps, but I wondered.

        Okay, I agree, the parade footage was interesting from a historic standpoint, but for the movie, maybe thirty seconds would’ve been easier to digest then five minutes (or what seemed like five minutes). Now, if it was five minutes of old baseball footage taken at Ebbets Field instead…

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        1. Wait, one more thing: what rating would you give your review on your 0-5 scale? I want to add it to my review page!

          Thanks for a fun cheeser…see you for Txx Dxxxxx Mxxxxx!

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        2. Yeah, I couldn’t tell if he was a cop and still thought she was a prisoner, or if they knew each other from the station and were bantering haha. I heard the same from the chief so either we’re both right or this is a very strange case of the Mandela Effect!

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          1. Ha, the Mandela Effect…I had to look that one up! We need to start doing some on-line digging and find out if anyone else has this ‘Connors as cop’ theory/hallucination!

            Actually…wouldn’t it be great if this film had several layers of subtext and ingenious plot devices that we both missed entirely? I think it needs a Criterion Blu-ray release!

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  2. Over-the-top sass! Can you ever have enough sass? LOL
    Wow two of those amazingly awesome bad-ass ladies, Marie Windsor and Beverly Garland are queens of the sass. I’ve had the pleasure of finding that out over the course of my film blogging time. So with their names on the poster I see it has to be worth the admission alone! A super sweet run-time and from your ace review it really does sound like a great late night after the boozer kinda film. You have both sold this cheese machine to me. I’d never heard of it before but really fancy seeing it. Thank you.

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    1. Haha, you truly can’t have enough! But Marie Windsor and her crew certainly deliver a very large dose of it. I’m glad we were able to bring this film to your attention! I hadn’t heard of it myself until Todd suggested it. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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