“Make a Date to Detonate” – Rediscovering ‘The Great Texas Dynamite Chase’ (US 1976 – 89 mins).

Posted in Rediscover by - January 29, 2014
“Make a Date to Detonate” – Rediscovering ‘The Great Texas Dynamite Chase’ (US 1976 – 89 mins).

Former Playboy playmate Claudia Jennings, stars alongside energetic Jocelyn Jones in this excellent, fast-paced exploitation flick, from the era’s busy period of Drive-in delights.

Robbing a bank to help her hard-up family, Candy Morgan (Jennings), finds herself teaming up with Elli-Jo Turner (Jones), a bored, fun-seeking teller from the same bank. Together they embark on a spree of state robberies, using sticks of dynamite and their feminine ways, to elude the increasingly inept cops who are forever on their trail.

‘The Great Texas Dynamite Chase’ features two lively performances from Jennings and Jones, and the pairs onscreen chemistry is a joy to watch. Their cheery demeanour and ‘don’t care’ attitude go a long way to make this standard 70’s actioner, a much more pleasurable watch. Although there is a fare amount of nudity from the two leads, their characters are not portrayed as dumb or gullible. In fact, it is often the male characters in the film that are depicted as either dumb or stupid, with bumbling cops and gullible hotel clerks crossing the sassy girls paths.

The section where the girls pick up Johnny Crawford’s cowpoke, Slim, and take him hostage, does slow the movie down a tad. There is also a sudden burst of violence later on, which seems a little out of place, compared with the easy-going and sometimes comic tone of the rest of the movie.

‘Dynamite Chase’ was one of Claudia Jennings last films, and it gave the beauty one of her strongest roles. The stunning 27 year old had begun her movie career in 1971, with a minor bit in the dull Dyan Cannon drama ‘The Love Machine’. She went on star in some pretty good drive-in fare, including the entertaining ‘Unholy Rollers’ (’72), the notorious ‘Gator Bait’ (’74), and the criminally neglected ‘Truck Stop Women’ (‘74)’. Jennings career did include a few minor parts in bigger titles, such as ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ (’76) and the Liv Ullman sleeper ‘40 Carats’ (’73). Sadly, 30 year old Claudia was tragically killed on October 3rd 1979, when she fell asleep at the wheel of her Volkswagen convertible. A needless and sudden loss to one of the era’s greatest starlets.

Plucky, twenty six year old Jocelyn Jones made a great co-star for Jennings. She had a relatively short-lived acting career, though did go on to co-star in the 1979 cult favourite; ‘Tourist Trap’. Jones has been a successful acting coach for many years, and now runs her own studio in Los Angeles.

Director Michael Pressman made his feature debut here, and went on to have a very fruitful television career, directing episodes of popular shows such as ‘Picket Fences’ (’95), ‘Law and Order’ (2005), and the acclaimed ‘Blue Bloods’ in 2006.

‘The Great Texas Dynamite Chase’ is a terrific buddy movie, with two likeable leads in strong female roles, and a very straightforward plot. There’s plenty of action, explosions, shooting and chases, and with the irreplaceable Jennings on top form, this makes for a breezy entertainment. Light the fuse and check it out!

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