Double features have been common at movie houses and drive-ins. They lump together two films with the hope the crowd will make more trips to the concession stand. The more prestigious title comes second as the headliner. The Triple feature is rare with the exception of a Star Wars or Lord of the Rings marathon. Not many respectable theater owners want a crowd lingering that long. But the more sketchy theaters known as grindhouses craved a long-term audience. The programming is a little more complicated with the best film coming second in the rotation. The third film of the night could be a stinker thus allowing the crowd to sleep or focus on debauchery with fellow audience members. Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Triple Feature: Action Packed Collection maintains this line up with a trio of car chasing excitement.
Georgia Peaches (1980 – 88 minutes) was a pilot movie for a TV series that didn’t get picked up by the networks. But there’s no need to complain that this is a cheat since it’s a star power delight. This was Corman’s attempt to cash in on The Dukes of Hazzard by mixing up the recipe of one good ol’ boy and two ladies. Right off the bat this is fun flick since Dirk Benedict (Battlestar Galactica) drives his moonshine running car like a mad man. The cops are hot on his trail, but what they don’t count is him dumping the booze on the street and setting it on fire. It’s an intense stunt for a low budget show. Back at his garage, he’s got the support of two good women played by country star Tanya Tucker and Terri Nunn (future lead singer of Berlin). They make a cute threesome. The ugliness happens when Sally Kirkland (Oscar nominated for Anna) and Burton Gilliam (Blazing Saddles) can’t stand Dirk getting into their underworld action. Eventually Dirk and the ladies become part of the FBI to go after Kirkland. There’s plenty of singing, blowing up and Southern buttkicking. Dirk’s probably happy this didn’t get picked up since it’s would have denied him the chance to be Face on A-Team.
The Great Texas Dynamite Chase (1976 – 89 minutes) is the star of the trio. This is why they constructed drive-in theater across this great nation. The movie almost lives up to the title. This film is truly great. It is full of dynamite. The chase is a rush. The only lie in the title is they really filmed the action in California and not Texas. But don’t let that ruin your viewing experience. Claudia Jennings (Gator Bait and Playmate of the Year 1970) escapes from prison to save the family farm. She immediately gets the necessary money by walking into a bank with a smile and a lit stick of dynamite. Jocelyn Jones is a recently fired teller that gets a rush from being held up by Jennings. She wants a bit of adventure. When their paths cross later, the duo decide to team up. The two embark on a cross country crime spree as they head South to the Mexican border. Along the way they pick up a patsy in Johnny Crawford (The Rifleman). He poses as unknowing hostage during a heist. The film fills the screen with action and explosions. There’s even space for a little romancing. This is good times for good ol’ boys.
Smokey Bites the Dust (1981 – 88 minutes) does the amazing trick of confusing a moviegoer into thinking this is a sequel to either Smokey and the Bandit or Eat My Dust. Both of those films are about guys in cars being chased by cops which is the plot of Smokey Bites the Dust. Jimmy McNichol (Brother of Kristy McNichol and The Love Boat) is a high school student who loves joyriding. He can’t get enough of the cops chasing him. He kidnaps the sheriff’s daughter during the homecoming game and hits the road. Daddy and his deputies speed after him. If many of the car chases look familiar, it’s because they were lifted from Moving Violation, Thunder and Lightning, Grand Theft Auto and Eat My Dust. It’s a great way to save on your car demolition budget. Co-producer Gale Anne Hurd went from this film to The Terminator and Aliens. At least someone escaped from this movie with a major career.
The video is 1.78:1 for The Great Texas Dynamite Chase and Georgia Peaches. Smokey Bites the Dust is 1.33:1 full frame. The quality also varies with George Peaches looking best since it’s lit for TV so things are brighter. There’s a good rough feel to Dynamite. Claudia Jennings looks hot. Smokey Bites the Dust is rather rough looking. It seems that along with saving the budget by reusing old car stunts, they cut back on renting lamps. The audio for all three films is mono. There’s a rough nature to their low budget sound.
Great Texas Dynamite Chase Trailer (2:04) teases this film with sizzle, skin, explosions and speed.
Smokey Bites the Dust Trailer (1:28) almost makes you think this is an original film.
Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Triple Feature: Action Packed Collection gives you a good idea of what a grindhouse would project. Georgia Peaches works fine as the opener. The star power fuels. the fun with Dirk Benedict’s winning smile. The Great Texas Dynamite Chase is a blast. Smokey Bites the Dust is perfect to run while you’re more involved with other things.The low price makes it a double feature with a Jimmy McNichol bonus feature.
Shout! Factory presents Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Triple Feature: Action Packed Collection. Starring: Dirk Benedict, Tanya Tucker, Claudia Jennings, Jocelyn Jones, Jimmy McNichol and Dick Miller. Boxset Contents: 3 films on 2 DVDs. Released on DVD: April 5, 2011.
Tags: A-Team, Battlestar Galactica, Grindhouse, Roger Corman, Roger Corman's Cult Classics, The Love Boat