Peter Fonda as Larry Rayder, wannabe NASCAR driver and small-time robber
San Joaquin County, California, Fall 1973
Film: Dirty Mary Crazy Larry
Release Date: May 17, 1974
Director: John Hough
Wardrobe Mistress: Phyllis Garr
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
While few would place Dirty Mary Crazy Larry‘s script in the same echelon with Casablanca or The Godfather, there’s no doubting that it has its place among the classic European-influenced but all-American car chase flicks that kicked off with Bullitt and tapered off somewhere in the mid-’70s as more over-the-top fare like Smokey and the Bandit took over as the gearheads’ cinematic servings. It was that brief semi-decade where the sub-genre blossomed with ennui and nihilism driving the motoring protagonists of Vanishing Point, Two-Lane Blacktop, and those of its ilk.
Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry was a transition between the earlier nihilist cult films and the more marketable, humor-laced movies. Larry, Mary, and Deke aren’t necessarily driving without a defined purpose, but one could argue they were just as doomed as Kowalski when they slipped into that lime green ’69 Charger. And it is with that ’69 Charger – which BAMF Style loyalists know by now is my favorite car of all time – that I’m concluding this run of Car Week. Continue reading