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Hagerty Employee

1974's Dirty Mary Crazy Larry paid fitting farewell to the muscle-car era

You could say that Dirty Mary Crazy Larry bade a fond farewell to The Great American Muscle Car, its 1974 release coinciding with federal regulations that brought an end to a decade of power-wars among the Big Three manufacturers. As a legacy to that magical era, this full-throttled, bombastic heist movie ticks all the right boxes.

Great write-up.  I have never been a fan of many of Peter Fonda's counterculture films from the late 60s and early 70s but have always enjoyed Dirty Mary Crazy Larry. One reason is that the chase seems so genuine and I think that is because, as pointed out in the article above, that it was filmed in real time and at real speed.  As a kid, I noticed that when a moving car is filmed at a lower speed and the film sped up that it tends to bounce unnaturally on its suspension. It pulls me right out of the film.

About the only thing that pulls me out of this film is Roddy McDowell playing the store manager.  I guess he still had to work to live when he wasn't wearing ape makeup.  Oh, and Vic Morrow demanding a million dollars of life insurance coverage to fly in the helicopter seems ironic given he and two child actors he was working with were killed by a helicopter crash on a film set just a few years later.  The details of that are pretty gruesome. 


   I think most of the parts were well cast (for the time), but Susan George never did much for me.  Not sure who I would have replaced her with (because Sally Field has ruined it for everyone else with her Smokey and The Bandit portrayals) - maybe just some unknown starlet who needed to get out of waitressing for a few months.

   Muscle cars were certainly on their way out by '74, but their popularity was still strong (kinda still is!), so movies like this were going to do well at the time.  I'm glad that films like this were made and will still be viewed by generations who will come after cars like those are long gone.  The action may not be a "real view" of how we acted and drove in those days, but it'll display the classic iron and what they were capable of doing.


Masterful stunt-driving aside; a truly trashy movie.
Taking a girl to see it on our first date, it's incredible that we lasted another six years.

Saw this with "Vanishing Point" and Ron Howard in "Eat My Dust" at an Indianapolis drive-in while a highschool kid. "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry" is the one I still enjoy at 62. Had a crush on Susan George then, still kinda do, the archetypical '70s chick, I guess. "VP" ok, didn't make much sense then, and foggy dark. "EMD", even with young Ronnie just a poorly made "Dukes" ripoff.

1. I'm not quite that crazy of a 'Larry' but I'll pay a fitting tribute to musclecars as well.
2. Wow, Susan George was a bit of a mouth breather.

3. This movie did not age well.