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.
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.
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.