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Image Entertainment presents
Swamp Girl/Swamp Country (1971)

"Anything that's got to do with the swamp involves me."
- Jimmy Waters (Ferlin Husky)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: June 06, 2002

Stars: Simone Griffeth, Ferlin Husky, Claude King, Rex Allen, Baker Knight
Other Stars: Steve Drexel, Harrison Paige, David DaLie, Sue Casey, Carole Gilbert, Lyle Waggoner
Director: Robert Patrick, Don Davis

Manufacturer: Ritek
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild violence)
Run Time: 02h:51m:39s
Release Date: May 21, 2002
UPC: 014381119626
Genre: cult


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- C+C+B C+

DVD Review

I don't know what it says about my personality, but I get more excited about Something Weird double features from Image than I do about most of the so-called "big" blockbuster releases. I guess I just love trashy exploitation movies, and these discs generally make me happier than a pig in slop. Image always put a cleverly packaged DVD together, and this latest one uses the dark, murky swamp as its theme. The source material is yet another set of easily forgettable exploitation films, but when released in this manner, somehow manage to attain a whole new level of campy enjoyment. These flicks are more than ripe for a do-it-yourself Mystery Science Theater 3000 party.

Swamp Girl (01h:18m:13s)
Directed by Don Davis

In terms of purely idiotic camp, this is my favorite of the two features on this disc. Swamp Girl (1971) is the story of the mysterious and enigmatic title character, a lovely cornpone cross between Marcia Brady and Ellie Mae Clampett, here played with backwoods charm by Simone Griffeth. Griffeth has the Herculean task of appearing wide-eyed and innocent, all the while frolicking through the swamps in a tiny pink dress. This is what exploitation films are all about, folks. Country crooner Ferlin Husky, who also belts out the laughable title song, stars as Jimmy Waters, a so-called Swamp Ranger, who is investigating sightings of a pink-dressed woman who supposedly lives back in the swamp. I feel funny even discussing the fine points of the "plot" of this film—it's not exactly David Mamet—but rest assured, it features hatchet murders, mudwrestling, a sexy female prison escapee, baby slave trading, snake farms and plenty of hungry alligators. All in 78 minutes.

Swamp Country (01h:33m:26s)
Directed by Robert Patrick

Feature number two here is a slightly less entertaining 1966 swamper, centered on the strangulation murder of an aging blonde hooker at a seedy motel on the edge of Okefenokee. Wetzel (Swamp Country screenwriter David DaLie) is the burly guest in the room next door, and is blamed for the murder, but he hightails it into the swamp after beating up a deputy (The Carol Burnett Show's Lyle Waggoner). Along the way, Wetzel has to do battle with all sorts of swamp dangers as he tries to clear his besmirched name. In a side story, a local wannabe country singer named Baker (Baker Knight) is kidnapped by some mob thugs, and Sheriff Jim (Rex Allen) has to track him down before it's too late. While Baker's cliché-filled title song—and he sings far too much in this film—is not as quirkily weird as Swamp Girl, it has it's share of unintentionally funny moments. The fact that Baker and Sheriff Jim are both wooing the same gal only adds to the tension. Everything culminates with the revelation of the real killer, all thanks to the smarts of savvy swamp girl Nora (Carolyn Gilbert).

Of course neither of these are great films. To even call them good would be stretching the very definition of the word. They are badly acted, low-budget exploitation films, and really nothing more. There isn't even any nudity! Yet, I still like watching them. The point is that when you sit down to watch any of the themed double features from Image and Something Weird, you know going in that the content is smirk-worthy, at best. Fans of the genre will appreciate these two, while most others will wonder why it was ever made at all.

You know who you are.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicnono


Image Transfer Review: Both features on this disc are in color, and are shown in two different aspect ratios. Swamp Girl is presented in 1.33:1 full frame, and much of the color tends to look very dark. Night scenes, or a few of the dimly lit interiors, make it practically impossible to discern just what the hell is going on. Swamp Country is shown in the original 2.35:1, and the color field has a decidedly more washed out look to it, no doubt owing to its late-1960s lineage. This print is plagued by excessive vertical lines and scratches, and just seems to be a generally marred print.

As expected from these ancient relics, both prints have their fair share of flaws. Swamp Country, despite being in 2.35:1, looks the worst of the two.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: Wow, the two stellar DTS transfers on this disc really blew me away. HA! Just kidding. This is not just swamp country, it's mono country, too. Both films are presented in slightly crackly mono, and the only salvation is a minimum of hiss. Nothing to write home about, nor is there really anything to beef about. Dialogue is clean and understandable. The audio transfer works fine for the source material presented. I know there's some people who wish the Ferlin Husky rendition of Swamp Girl was mixed a bit more cleanly, but I guess you just can't have everything.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Alligator People, Attack Of The Giant Leeches, Okefenokee, Scum Of The Earth, Sting Of Death
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Swamp Buggy Race
  2. Swamp Virgin
  3. Gallery Of Amazing Trash-O-Rama Exploitation Art With Radio-Spot Rarities
Extras Review: In keeping with the whole swamp theme, the supplementals include:

Swamp Virgin (24m:37s)
Also known as Untamed Fury, this black & white 1947 feature, directed by Ewing Scott, is chopped from its original sixty-minute runtime down to a more manageable twenty-five minutes. I imagine the missing thirty-five minutes might have helped this one to make more sense, but it appears to be the story of a writer who ventures deep into the Okefenokee to get some local stories from a crusty old-time swamp dweller. He regales the writer with the story of 'Gator Bait' (Mikel Conrad), whose pappy used to use him as gator bait, hence the nickname. Watch for the steamy (for 1947, that is) Mary Conwell's risque swimsuit. E.G. Marshall has a small role, according to the credits, but I think he was in the thirty-five minutes that got chopped. It is presented in 1.33:1 full-frame, and is divided into 5 chapters.

Swamp Buggy Race (05m:22s)
Swamp buggys are like the monster trucks of swamp folks, I guess, and this early 1970s quickie documents an apparently popular form of entertainment. Thank God it was only five minutes long.

A batch of swamp-themed trailers (Swamp Girl, Alligator People, Attack of the Giant Leeches, Okefenokee, Scum of the Earth, Sting of Death) are a nice touch, as is the always fun Gallery of Amazing Trash-O-Rama Exploitation Art With Radio-Spot Rarities (04m:00s). See the poster art for such exploitation shockers as Paris Vice Squad, The Pill, Rocket Attack USA and Stump Run, all set to a series of equally garish radio spots.

All told, there is over 3-1/2 hours of swampy goodness (including the two features) on this disc.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

Another fine Something Weird thematic double bill, this time centered on swamps. Corny acting and stilted readings abound, but like a car wreck, it's hard to avert your eyes. If you're a fan of exploitative goodness of Something Weird titles, then this is a required purchase.

 


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