Monday, February 1, 2010
Switchblade Sisters (1974, Jack Hill)
Getting sick of my Jack Hill reviews? Tough shit. Actually you are in luck because there are only a couple left (My Sorceress review will be last because I haven't actually watched my VHS copy yet due to the sheer inconvenience of the VHS format). Switchblade Sisters was released on DVD on Miramax films via Quentin Tarantino's Rolling Thunder label, pretty odd considering it is a low budget, mid 70's exploitation film about a female gang. The fact Tarantino single handedly brought this film to a wide audience is amazing and really what I love about him (besides his movies). He is in the position to get people to watch these hidden gems, which is great.
Switchblade Sisters follows the Dagger Debs, a gang of under aged girls whose boyfriends are in a gang called the Silver Daggers. They do what they want, cause trouble wherever they go and, along with the Silver Daggers, run their school. Lace (Robbie Lee), the leader of the Debs befriends Maggie (Joanne Nail), a new recruit who starts messing around with Lace's boyfriend Dominic (Asher Brauner). Lace plots against Maggie while the Silver Daggers begin a war with a new local gang, led by Crabs (Chase Newhart).
Switchblade Sisters may well be Hill's best movie. If not, I'd say it's the most representative of his career. It has pretty much everything in it that makes Hill's films so fun: violence, profanity, great characters, humor and outrageousness. The characters are definitely the highlight though. Each one is well thought out and play an integral part of the film, making it the classic that it is. The cast pull off the parts perfectly. Robbie Lee is so annoying as the ever snarling Lace, that you can't help but be amazed by her. She's like a little kid who throws a fit every time she doesn't get what she wants. Joanne Nail as Maggie is also excellent. A perfect combination of sugar and spice.
P.S. - The DVD of this film has an intro and outro by Tarantino, trailers to all of Hill's films and it even has Hill's first student film The Host (starring Sid Haig), which has been said to have inspired the last act of (Hill's classmate) Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now.