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  • Big Bad Mama

    Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on December 23rd, 2005

    (out of 5)


    Angie Dickinson is a single mother of two teenage girls (whom the film very explicitly characterizes as “ripe” – boy howdy, they don’t make movies like this anymore). Money is tight during the Depression, and after a fiasco of an interrupted wedding, mother and brood hit the road to seek their fortune, and before you know it, they’re robbing banks.

    A low budget, tongue-in-cheek variation on Bonnie and Clyde (minus Clyde), this is a nicely produced bit of period sleaze. The d…ooling attitude towards the daughters’ sexuality is a little on the disturbing side, but the sense of era is strong, and so is the sense of fun. Joining Dickinson are the likes of Tom Skerritt and William Shatner.


    The sound is mono, which isn’t necessarily a problem, but this is a pretty atrocious mono. The dialogue is frequently and horrifically distorted, the buzz rising to well-nigh unlistenable levels, and there’s plenty of background hiss. The music sounds all right, relatively speaking, but the problem with the dialogue renders this one of the worst-sounding DVDs I’ve heard this year.


    The picture is better than the sound, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some serious issues. First among them is the format: fullscreen. In heaven’s name, why? There is no excuse for this. The colours are generally good, but aren’t always consistent, and there are a few instances where they start to shimmer. The contrasts are generally good, as are the flesh tones. There is some grain, and the picture more than once is quite soft. A mediocre transfer all round.

    Special Features

    The retrospective featurette is pretty interesting, containing interviews with many of the important figures involved in the making of the film. Better yet is the commentary by Roger Corman and Angie Dickinson. Producer Corman is his usual softly spoken, articulate self, and Dickinson is very interesting on such topics as her discomfort with the nude scenes. Also here is the original trailer. The menu’s main screen is animated and scored.

    Closing Thoughts

    A decent B-picture, but the picture is iffy, and the sound is much worse. Hardly a special edition.

    Special Features List

    • Audio Commentary
    • “Mama Knows Best: A Retrospective” Featurette
    • Trailers
    Posted In: 1.33:1 Fullscreen, Action, Buena Vista, Disc Reviews, Dolby Digital Mono (English), DVD, Special Edition

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