Written by: Carroll Jenkins on October 14th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1976
Director: Jerry Schatzberg
Writers: Marilyn Goldin, B.J. Perla, Jor Van Kline
Cast: Stockard Channing, Sam Waterston, Franklyn Ajaye, Richard Daughty, Norman Matlock
DVD released: July 23rd, 2013
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Warner Archive
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $21.99
Synopsis: A young woman is an incorrigible car thief and con artist whose sole ambition in life is to purchase a Ferrari Dino; legally but with ill-gotten gains.
The plot is rather bare bones and the primary character Vurria never leaves her hometown of Seattle Washington, yet the movie shares the ambiance of aimless wandering and pointless ambiguity that most of the era’s car / road pictures displayed: Two Lane Blacktop, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, The Vanishing Point, even Easy Rider. This is also one of the mildest exploitation pictures you will find though it seriously pushes it’s PG rating and even includes some jailhouse female nudity.
Stockard Channing gives a powerhouse performance as Vurria (also numerous aliases) and carries the entire film effortlessly. Her interactions with her wanna-be attorney and her two male friends are interspersed with numerous thefts and escapades, all of which are entertaining and surprisingly informative.
In fact, the film is so much a training procedural for aspiring car thieves that one must wonder if the film’s low profile all these years was the result of intentional suppression. Today’s automobiles have computer chips in the key stock and other technical deterrents that make most of the techniques displayed here ineffective in the modern era. But back then?
A good quality MOD from Warner Archives. The movie is intentionally dark and Vurria seldom turns on any lights even when she has electricity. The theatrical trailer features several of her many different disguises and reveals the gimmick of selling the same Porsche and then stealing it again and again.
Franklyn Ajaye’s performance lends a significant element of Blaxploitation to the mix, the final product being comparable in many ways to the earlier Trick Baby. That’s a good thang.