Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Swamp Women

Cinema Monolith: 4/10 The Monolith
IMDb: 3.1/10
Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide: *½ out of 4
The Motion Pictures: 2.5/5

Released on April 1, 1956
Not rated
69 minutes / 84 minutes (unrated)

Directed by Roger Corman

Written by David Stern

Cast: Marie Windsor, Beverly Garland, Carole Matthews, Jil Jarmyn, Mike ‘Touch’ Connors, Susan Cummings, Lou Place, Edward Nelson, Jonathan Haze

Yes indeed, it’s time for another Mini Cheese-athon, where my blogging friend Lindsey over at The Motion Pictures and I review a particular cheesy film from the 1950s or 1960s. This time, we ventured outside the usual sci-fi/horror confines and chose an equally-cheesy crime drama from 1956, a female take on the usual prison escapee story that featured enough laugh-out-loud remarks, rough-and-tumble girl fights, and swamp-water bathing scenes to satisfy any Liederkranz connoisseur.

Somewhere in the wilds of New Orleans, four bodacious broads behind bars—a tough brunette, a sensible blonde, a hot-tempered redhead, and a platinum-haired sexpot—escape out their open prison-cell window, hop into a conveniently-available car, and head to the swamps in search of the buried diamonds they’d left there earlier. Along the way they hijack a motorboat, taking a man and his date hostage, but what these femmes criminelle don’t know is that one of them is an undercover policewoman, planted within the group in hopes the other three will lead her to the stolen jewels.

This early Roger Corman production was low-budget all the way, but benefited from a cast featuring Beverly Garland, noir stalwart Marie Windsor, and Mike ‘Touch’ Connors (looking like a Bond-era Sean Connery), along with location shooting in the Louisiana swampland and worthy camerawork from rookie director Corman, who had the sense to keep the pace—and his camera—moving. The story was pure drive-in exploitation, and succeeded in holding my interest, but it tended to bog down at times, especially during its unnecessary Mardi Gras beginning, where repeated stock-footage clips of a chintzy parade had the power to put insomniacs to sleep.

But what kept me awake, and for me was the most engaging aspect of the film, was watching these four ladies bitch, gripe, and catfight their way from one end of the bayou to the other, while their prisoner happily watched it all play out before him. I especially loved how the threat of being put to death by these leggy crooks instilled absolutely no fear in Connors, and how at times he appeared to be both bemused and entertained by the whole thing. Frankly, all he had to do was sit back, remain tied to a tree, and wait for these ill-tempered harpies to just kill each other off.

Connors or no Connors, this was called Swamp Women for a reason: it was all about the ladies. Their wants, their needs, their desires, and of course, the dangers they’d dealt with along the way, from alligators and snakes to broken fingernails and the agony of wearing men’s pants. And speaking of those pants, do you think they wanted to be stuck wearing MAN pants the entire film? Not a chance! So being the enterprising darlings that they were, they took their knives and cut those things into more comfortable—and more eye-pleasing for Connors and I—jungle short shorts.

Though I wish I’d had a proper print to see them in! Every version I could find was choppy, washed out, and presented in full-screen; apparently, there’s an ‘unrated’ widescreen variation out there somewhere that’s fifteen minutes longer, that I’d love to get my hands on. Still, it didn’t detract too much from my warped enjoyment of the film, and the cheese factor remained gleefully high, especially where the dialogue and verbal barbs were concerned (“This stinking swamp water stinks!”). All in all, not a bad film to check out if you’re into bad films; plus, contrary to my photo below, you get the rare opportunity to see a blonde Miss Windsor in color.  (4/10)

8 comments on “Swamp Women

  1. Lindsey

    I forgot to tack a score on my review but we’re in pretty close agreement on this one! I really enjoyed the dynamics between the women. Their fights were vicious and I’m kind of surprised they made it as far as they did in their river excursion without feeding each other to the alligators, haha. Connors’ general laid-back amusement at their antics was great, too. Thanks for choosing the film — I loved it! Looking forward to our next!


    • Todd B

      Yes, that was a fun one! My rating is 4/10, but usually with these films the highest rating is a 3-4, so it did well in that regard. And yeah, those fights were pretty wild…I noticed in the opening credits there was a ‘fight advisor’ listed.

      Glad you liked my pick, and yes, can’t wait for our next foray…I like your ‘giant insect’ film choice. Can’t wait!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dracula

    Mannix in New Orleans? I thought he was an LA guy like Cannon and Columbo? I think the CM rating is a 4 because of the 4 ladies in their jungle shorts.


    • Todd B

      Mannix would occasionally venture outside of LA for some of his television adventures…New Orleans, Chattanooga, Tacoma…but those episodes were never aired, and are only available on the DVD sets.

      And now that you mention it, it should be a 5-star rating, because their was a 5th lady, and she was actually the hottest. Sadly, she was eaten by an alligator before she could cut her pants into short shorts.


  3. Wow two amazingly awesome bad-ass ladies in one movie, kaapow, Marie Windsor and Beverly Garland. Boom. That has to be worth the admission alone! Ashamed to say I don’t Carole Mathews or Susan Cummings.

    Hopefully Joe Mannix managed to stay away from any “metoo” stuff before he passed away. With a name like Touch Conners and four lovely ladies saucing around I bet it was hard, I mean difficult to keep his hands of them!

    I had to look up Liederkranz and like that cheese I’d like to one day give Swamp Women a go. Hehe it sounds pretty good.


    • Todd B

      Marie and Beverly were both great in this, and both were a treat to watch…and don’t worry, I’d never heard of the other two, either. And actually, it was impossible for Touch to put his hands ON them, since they were tied up behind his back all the time! But there was that fifth woman, at the start of the movie, and his hands were definitely NOT tied then!

      There are a handful of copies of Swamp Women available to watch on-line, so you shouldn’t have a hard, I mean difficult time finding one to watch. If you don’t do a review, let me know what you thought!


  4. Steven Hill

    I love this movie. If you ever do find a widescreen version, please get in touch!


    • Todd B

      Hi Steven! I’ll keep my eyes peeled for that widescreen version, and let you know if I find anything. I just checked on-line again…no such luck.


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Review Totals

Movies Reviewed: 227

From the Monolith: 125

Movies by Decade

1920s – 0
1930s – 6
1940s – 19
1950s – 37
1960s – 34
1970s – 36
1980s – 35
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Movies by CM Rating

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8 star – 36
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3 star – 18
2 star – 20
1 star – 12
0 star – 3

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