Tuesday, August 31, 2010
This was probably as enjoyable a movie to make as it was to watch. Willie Nelson plays Doc Jenkins and Kris Kristofferson plays Blackie Buck....oh, who are we kidding....they just basically play themselves. Songwriter was directed by Alan Rudolph, who had previously directed Roadie (also a movie with music as part of the plot) and was written by Bud Shrake, who just a few years later would help Willie write his autobiography.
Willie and Kris are a couple of songwriters/performers who are on the road singing and making money. Willie always winds up investing his part of the proceeds in some type of failing business venture. One day Willie decides the real money is behind the scenes and he quits the road to be a writer/producer. Of course, even this doesn't work out good for Willie since, him being a trusting soul, he signs a contract giving away all of his writing royalties to a music executive.
Willie comes up with a scheme to circumvent his contract and get the proceeds from his songwriting. He finds a talented newcomer, Gilda (Lesley Ann Warren), who he will manage and put her name on his songs. He'll take most of the proceeds from the writing royalties and in return he'll make her a big star. There's a little inside joke when Willie is promoting Gilda. He takes her record to a radio station and asks a DJ to play it. The DJ says sure, as soon as the current record finishes. Willie asks him what he's playing and the DJ says The Geezinslaw Brothers, the joke is that the DJ is Sammy Allred, one-half of The Geezinslaw Brothers
At the same time Willie is managing Gilda, he is also managing Kris, who finds out about the scheme. Kris wants Willie to give him a song also, mainly to help Willie screw the music executive back in Nashville. Gilda becomes a big hit but she has never been comfortable on stage, and now she is also having a hard time with people thinking she wrote her own songs. She eventually turns to drugs and alcohol resulting in her OD'ing. After her brush with death, she gets clean and marries her longtime boyfriend/harmonica player (Mickey Raphael). Gilda getting clean is a plot point that really helps Willie get his revenge on the music executive at the end of the movie.
While Songwriter is classified as a drama, I really think it was more comedic than anything else. Sure the basic background plot is about musicians getting cheated by the men in charge of the music business, but the interactions between Willie and Kris are always playful, and Rip Torn as a shady concert promoter has a lot of great comic moments. Even the crooked music executive is portrayed more as a big boob, than someone that really knows what he's doing.
In my opinion, Songwriter should have used someone different in the role of Gilda. I had a hard time buying Lesley Ann as a country singer. Too bad they couldn't have cast someone else, maybe Tanya Tucker for example, to give the role more authenticity. For all you womenfolk, Kris, in most scenes, seems to either have his shirt off or mostly unbuttoned, and for all you menfolk, there's two scenes with women baring their breasts.
Besides the musicians mentioned above: Songwriter features members of Willie's band and Kris' band; Johnny Gimble has a small speaking part and Steve Fromholz can be spotted as a recording engineer. Booker T. Jones of Booker T and The MG's has a nonspeaking part as a member of Gilda's band and I even spotted Ray Benson in the background at one of the several parties featured in the movie. I'm sure I missed some but perhaps you'll catch them when watching Songwriter.
Monday, August 30, 2010
I'm not sure when I first bought the book "Candy", but I know it was before the movie came out. For some odd reason, over the years I have always associated the book only with Terry Southern and completely forgotten that it was co-written with Mason Hoffenberg. I had such a fondness for the book that even though the cover is loose and the pages are age tanned, I still have my copy (see photo below). As you can see, it was originally published under the pseudonym Maxwell Kenton.
I'm sure I was excited when they made "Candy" into a movie in 1968 and even more revved up to find that Ringo Starr was going to be in the movie. Besides Ringo, Candy was packed with stars: Richard Burton, Marlon Brando, James Coburn, John Huston, Walter Matthau, John Astin, Sugar Ray Robinson, Anita Pallenberg, and even Buck Henry, who wrote the screenplay.
Since this was Ringo's solo (without any other Beatles) big screen debut, I thought I would give Candy another look all these years later. I was astonished to find that it was out of print (although there are many used copies of the dvd and vhs for sale online). I was able to view a used vhs copy and found that my memories of the movie were better than the movie itself....proving once again, sometimes it's better to leave memories alone.
In case you don't know the plot of Candy (the book is somewhat different): Ewa Aulin plays Candy, an innocent (or dimwitted, depends on how you want to view her) young lady, who brings out the beast in men. Besides the psychedelic opening and New Age closing, the major part of Candy is a set of vignettes; each one with someone trying, usually successfully, to get into Candy's pants. Richard Burton plays a self important booze soaked poet, Walter Matthau, whose performance shines above everyone else's, plays a maniacal Air Force General, James Coburn plays a famous surgeon, Walter Huston plays a hospital administrator and Marlon Brando plays a guru.
Of course, we're here to talk about Ringo Starr and his part as Emmanuel, the Mexican gardener. Emmanuel is a "good boy" who is going to go into the priesthood. Due to some confusion on his part about what certain English words actually mean, he loses his virginity to Candy. Ringo did a very adequate job but I did hear his Mexican accent slip very briefly a few times; otherwise, he held his own with all of the famous actors.
I'm going to say that Candy was a movie "for and of" its time (1968) and I'm sure I enjoyed it back then. Watching it again, these many years later, I found, for the most part, the movie to be boring with only the Walter Matthau section holding up today. Matthau's performance in my opinion was one of the best I have ever seen him do.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I never realized that twist songs could give me a headache, but that's exactly what happened in Twist Around The Clock (TATC). Besides the plot being recycled from Rock Around The Clock, the main problem was having Clay Cole sing the majority of the songs in the movie. Clay Cole may have been well respected for his work as a disc jockey and TV dance show host; however, his singing style leaves a lot to be desired.
When I said above that the plot was recycled, I'm not kidding. At least 95 per cent of the plot of TATC is EXACTLY the same as Rock Around The Clock. There are only a few very minor changes. Not only is the plot recycled but almost all of the dialogue is EXACTLY the same, except with the word "twist" inserted where previously the actors would have said "rock and roll". My guess is the only reason that some of the dialogue is a little different is because a cast member forgot their lines and just ad-libbed.
I basically have already gone over this plot when I reviewed Rock Around The Clock, so just I'll briefly go over the plot of Twist Around The Clock: A "rock and roll" band manager tells the band they're washed up and they fire him. There is a cute line here when the manager tells them "There aren't enough rock and rollers left in the country to keep you in tight pants and suede shoes". He leaves for New York accompanied by one of the band members (Alvy Moore, best known as Hank Kimball on Green Acres) who decides to stick with him. Along the way, they find a town that's crazy about a singer, Clay Cole, and his new dance tunes. The manager and his pal hear two songs, both sung by Clay Cole, "Twist Around The Clock" and "Don't Twist With Anyone But Me" and watch the kids dancing along, but still have to ask "What's the name of this dance?" DUH! The Twist!!! The manager recognizes it as the next big thing and wants to take it nationwide.There's some trouble getting the band and dancers bookings because the booking agent's daughter wants to marry the manager, but he's in love with one of the dancers. No worries, everything works out in the end.
When the manager first gets to New York he has a meeting with the booking agent at a club where we get our first good piece of music, Dion singing "The Wanderer", although Dion has a really hard time with his lip synch. The booking agent blackballs Clay and the dancers as a favor for his daughter. The manager then meets with the owner of Club 7 who owes him a favor and we see Chubby Checker on stage singing "Twistin U.S.A" - why Chubby is singing a twist song and doing the twist before anyone should know about it is unexplained....let's just call it a big plot hole. Chubby says that Clay and his group just need a break and he'll pretend to have laryngitis and Clay can take his place at next show. Chubby then wants them to hear his new song"Your Lips". At the club performance, Dion opens the show with "Runaround Sue", followed by Vicki Spencer singing a really cute "Too Many Boyfriends" and then Clay Cole gets to sing and everyone dances and The Twist is a big hit.
They decide to put on a Jazz Jamboree (???)....I swear that 's what they call it... in Los Angeles because they're crazy out there for jazzy (???) concerts....once again, I swear that's what they say. At the Jazz Jamboree, Clay Cole gets to sing again (I haven't mention ALL of the songs Clay sang in the movie, since I'm trying to wipe them from my memory), followed by Dion doing a dance song of his own "The Majestic". The Marcels are up next....strangely singing "Merry Twist-mas"....I said strangely since TATC was released December 30 of 1961, and that makes it look like "Merry Twist-mas" was being promoted a little too late. Vicki Spencer then performs "He's So Sweet", followed by Chubby closing out the show and movie with "Twist Along With Me".
Chubby was a pretty cool performer and of course it goes without saying that seeing Dion was great. Vicki Spencer reminded me of a combination of Connie Francis and Lesley Gore and both of her songs were really good. Seeing The Marcels, if only briefly, with their one song was a treat. Unfortunately those were the only bright moments in TATC and those few bright moments were heavily outweighed by having to hear Clay Cole "sing" so many songs and sit through a plot I had already seen.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
A group of people in West Virginia, who were flooded out of their homes, were each given a mobile home by the government. This group all reside in a trailer park called Paradise Park, the original name of this movie, which has been re-titled Heroes Of The Heart (HOTH). One morning an elderly woman awakes and tells the other residents that she had a vision and if they will all meet that evening, God will arrive and grant them each a wish. Whether her vision is a result of dementia or just a desire to have all the residents gather together is up to the viewer. The movie takes place for the most part in one day as we see the residents living their everyday lives and later gathering for a picnic to await God. Along the way, several of the residents have a fantasy sequence about what they wish their life was really like. The movie concludes with a short coda on how things exist the next day at the trailer park.
The acting in HOTH varied from professional to amateurish with one of the most amateurish being the lead actor, Larry Groce (best known for his song, "Junk Food Junkie" and as host of NPR's Mountain Stage). Larry Groce is a good musician and a great host, but acting is definitely not for him. I'm assuming he must have decided the same, since as far as I can tell, this is the only movie that he attempted.
I was torn about Webb Wilder's performance, since it is almost over the top. His character, Cowboy, has brain damage as the result of a car wreck. His brain damage has resulted in him not only thinking that he receives alien transmissions, but also that he is a REAL cowboy. His fantasy sequence shows him in a shootout with another cowboy played by Razzy Bailey. I could never decide if Webb was playing his character too broad OR if that was just the way his part was written.
Johnny Paycheck doesn't have a large part, he's just one of the people that happens to live at the trailer park. He does have a few lines and his performance was good enough that I really think that if I didn't know who he was, I would have just thought he was another actor in the cast. Which brings us to the best actor/musician in HOTH, Porter Wagoner, who plays the Governor of West Virginia. Maybe it's because Porter sang so many story songs and songs with recitations that allows him to deliver such a a great performance. Whatever the case, he gives a speech to the residents of the trailer park that is one-hundred per cent believable.
The only other musician that I spotted in the cast was T. Graham Brown. As Larry Groce is sitting in a bar tending to his broken heart, we see T. Graham, in a non-speaking part, hanging out by the pool table (his role is listed as Pool Player) while his song "This Wanting You" plays in the background.
Even though the fantasy sequences got old after a while and a few times the movie attempted to deliver some heavy-handed messages, by the end of the movie I had really been drawn into these lives of the characters at Paradise Park and cared about what happened to them. HOTH is classified as drama, but it's actually very humorous throughout. My personal opinion is that they made a mistake changing the aptly titled Paradise Park to Heroes Of The Heart.
I couldn't find a trailer for the movie, but below is Larry Groce singing "Junk Food Junkie" on Mountain Stage.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Back in the 80s, Miami Vice made a habit of using a lot of rock and pop artists on the soundtrack to the show. Some musicians even managed to get a guest spot on the show, which brings us to Season 2 of Miami Vice, Episode 19, Payback, originally broadcast on March 14, 1986 and written by Robert Crais, best known today for his detective series featuring Elvis Cole. In this episode, Frank Zappa appears as reclusive drug lord Mario Fuente. This is one of the very few times that Frank Zappa ventured into the world of acting. Seeing him on Miami Vice in 1986 was as much a mind bender as when Bob Dylan did the Victoria's Secret commercial in 2004.
The plot of Payback is about Fuente finding out that Sonny Burnett is actually the undercover name of Miami Vice Detective Sonny Crockett. Fuente erroneously believes Sonny has stolen three million dollars from him....need I say that Fuente wants his money back. As far as the episode goes, it's filled with lots of over dramatic lines and over dramatic acting. Zappa as Fuente comes off as well, if not better, than most of the other characters in the episode, including Crockett and Tubbs. As a matter of fact, he's the only reason I would recommend watching this episode. The end of the episode actually left it open that Zappa/Funte would appear again, but Miami Vice never followed up with the character in any future episodes.
Below is a youtube video of just the Frank Zappa part of the episode.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
This movie opens with everyone in a club, The Vanguard, twisting to a jazz band....YES, you read that correct...a jazz band. After the credits for The Young Swingers, we get to the main plot point about a business woman (Jo Helton) wanting to close down the club in order to build a high rise building. The club is run as a co-op and is just barely making money, one of the members even states "I don't dig profits". Which brings up another point, there is a lot of "hipster jive" talk near the first of The Young Swingers, but it quickly falls away as the movie progresses. During this sequence of the movie we get our first song when The Sherwoods (Karen Gunderson of The New Christy Minstrels and John Merritt) sing "Elijah"
Molly Bee is the niece of the business woman and her 21st birthday is coming up soon. Rod Lauren comes to the house to reason with the aunt, but she has gone away on a business trip, instead he finds himself talking to Molly. Rod and Molly have a small argument and he gets in a huff and leaves. Back at the club we get our next performance when Gene McDaniels sings "Mad Mad Mad" backed by a small jazz combo.
Molly brings a date, Jerry Summers, with her to the club, but when he finds out it's basically a coffeehouse, Jerry says "What is this, one of those hootenanny joints?" He wants Molly to leave and she doesn't want to go. This results in a fight between him and Rod and Jerry winds up leaving Molly behind. We get our next performance, which is a stand up comedy act by Jack Larson (not the same one from the Superman TV series). He not only does some comedy, but also sings a surfing song, "Watusi Surfer" that includes impressions.
Molly's aunt has the power turned off to the club and when the lights go out everyone in the club leaves, except Molly. While Rod is closing things up, Molly turns on a portable radio and sings along with "Come A-Runnin". Rod hears Molly and tells her she has a great voice and Molly replies "It's Not Mine". This will make sense a little later in the movie. In the meantime Molly's aunt is still trying, with the help of her lawyer, to get the club closed. Nothing seems to work and during this sequence we flash back to the club where Rod sings "I Can't Get You Out of My Heart".
Rod comes to see Molly at her house and finds out that her mother, who was a singer, was on a USO tour when she was killed in a plane crash along with Molly's father. This is why Molly said earlier that Rod wasn't hearing her voice, but her mothers'. Her aunt hears this and it softens her heart a little bit, but not enough to cancel Molly's birthday party when she finds that Molly has invited everyone from the club.
Molly is fed up with her aunt and, since Molly has turned 21 and can do as she pleases, she leaves home and joins the rest of the gang at the club. The aunt decides to go to the club to check things out for herself. First up are The Sherwoods singing "Greenback Dollar", but they sing "don't give a hmmmm for a greenback dollar" instead of "don't give a damn for a greenback dollar". Molly then sings a Rod McKuen song "You Pass Me By". When her aunt hears how much Molly sounds like her mother, her heart of stone finally breaks.
Unfortunately the club burns down due to some faulty wiring and Molly blames her aunt, but it is quickly revealed that it was faulty wiring and her aunt is also getting the co-op a new club. Everyone's happy and the birthday party is back on where Gene McDaniels sings "Voice on the Mountain" and The Sherwoods once again sing the hmmmm version of "Greenback Dollar" (guess they only knew two songs!!). The movie closes out with everyone twisting to the same song ("Come To The Party") we heard at the first of the movie.
It looks like the makers of The Young Swingers tried to appeal to a lot of different musical tastes. The poster makes it appear that The Young Swingers is a hootenanny movie (like Hootenanny Hoot, which was released the same year), but there's only two folk songs in the movie, both sung by The Sherwoods. Molly Bee who had recently been appearing on The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show and The Jimmy Dean Show does NOT sing country songs in the film, instead she sings a couple of pop tunes. Rod Lauren, probably best known for his appearance in the cult film The Crawling Hand, had a minor hit in 1960 with "If I Had a Girl" and sings one teen lounge type number (that's the only way I know to describe it). Gene McDaniels best known for his hit "100 Pounds of Clay" instead of doing his hit song, does a couple of light jazz tunes. Then we also have the inclusion of stand-up comedy with Jack Larson, plus having the twist open and close the movie.
Having so many different elements in the movie didn't give it any clear focus and with its weak plot I can't imagine anyone liking this movie very much. Besides the Molly Bee performances, the best thing I could say about The Young Swingers is that it was short (71 minutes). I will give The Young Swingers props for showing that a woman could be as tough a business person as any man, and for including Gene McDaniels as just one of the gang without any references to the fact that he was the only black actor/performer amongst the rest of the white cast.
You can find Molly Bee singing her two songs from the film on youtube - "Come A-Runnin" (whoever posted the song mis-identified it as Snap My Fingers) and "Till You Pass Me By".
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Since Rock Around The Clock had been such a success, this sequel, Don't Knock The Rock (DKTR) was quickly rushed into production and released in December of the same year (1956). DKTR however failed to garner as much success as the original movie. This caused a third movie in the series that would also have featured Bill Haley to be canceled. The failure of DKTR could also have had something to do with Haley's "rock and roll" career faltering around the same time.
In my opinion, it wasn't Haley who couldn't make this movie into a hit, instead the problem was the casting of Alan Dale (a friend of Alan Freed's) as Arnie Haines. In DKTR, Arnie Haines is supposed to be the biggest and greatest "rock and roll" star of the time. Alan Dale was a great big band singer and possessed a great set of pipes, but trying to pass him off as a great "rock and roll" singer was a fatal flaw in DKTR and I doubt audiences at the time bought the premise any more than I did. For a look at Alan Dale/Arnie Haines check out the trailer at the end of this review.
The plot of DKTR has Arnie and his band tired of the limelight and deciding to take a break and go back home to see their families and rest up. They ask Bill Haley to take over their bookings and he's glad to accommodate. Unfortunately, when Arnie and the boys arrive home they find that they're not welcome in their own hometown due to playing that "evil rock and roll" music. Adding to their woes is a nationally syndicated columnist, Arlene MacLaine (Fay Baker), who has come to town to check out Arnie and writes a column deriding their music. The publication of her column causes towns all across the U.S. to start canceling "rock and roll" shows.
Arlene's daughter Francine (Patricia Hardy) is on Arnies side and wants to prove her mother wrong. In order to combat the bad connotation that "rock and roll" has received Arnie, Francine, and Arnie's manager, Alan Freed, decide to stage a charity "rock and roll" show in the next town over. Francine will get her mother to attend and see there's nothing wrong with the music. Everything almost works out, but Arnie refuses the advances of a piece of "jailbait" (Jana Lund) and to get even she brings a bottle of liquor to the dance. All the hubbub about the liquor causes a fight to break out at the dance. The liquor and the fighting make "rock and roll" once again look bad when all of this is reported in the newspapers. Arnie comes up with a solution to show the old fogies that "rock and roll" isn't any worse than the music/dancing they grew up with and everyone comes to their senses for a happy ending.
Even though Bill Haley was listed as the star of DKTR, he's actually only a supporting player in the movie. Haley and The Comets get to perform several songs before and during the charity concert and Bill has a few speaking parts in the movie. The concert also includes The Treniers (fronted by twin brothers Claude and Cliff Trenier) who sing "Rockin' on Saturday Night" and "Out Of The Bushes" and prove what a great show band they were. Dave Appell and The Applejacks do "Applejack" and "Country Dance". Best of all we get some real "rock and roll" when Little Richard sings "Tutti Fruitti" and "Long Tall Sally". The only bad part of Little Richard's performance is he's not very animated, it appears someone told him "look into this camera" because no matter which way the shot is set up, he's always looking straight ahead.
A couple of things I neglected to mention in my review of Rock Around The Clock which also hold true for DKTR: There are some great dancers in both movies, as a matter of fact, the group dancers are much better than the featured duet dancers in both movies. I also found it odd that Haley's group included a steel guitar player. I imagine this was a holdover from Haley's country and western days. I'm not saying a steel guitar player can't rock (see Junior Brown or Robert Randolph), just that it's a strange instrument to see in a "rock and roll" band.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
After seeing Ferlin Husky in Hillbillys In A Haunted House, I decided to check out another one of his movies - Swamp Girl. I also got a bonus, since when I got the movie, I found that Claude King (Wolverton Mountain) co-stars with Ferlin in the movie. While neither Ferlin or Claude need ever worry about winning an Oscar, both are as good or better than some of the other actors in Swamp Girl.
The movie begins as Swamp Girl (Simone Griffeth) brings a man into civilization who has been bitten by snakes. When she tosses him onto land, three of the locals who are out for some illegal night fishing hear something and when they go to investigate they discover the man, who unfortunately has already died. A side note about these three locals - they're the worst actors in the movie, one of them must realize this fact because he barely speaks. They're so bad, that anytime they appear in a scene, they make the other actors look better than they probably are. Back to the movie...it's a mystery to everyone how the man got out of the swamp and there's some discussion about how it could have been the legend known as Swamp Girl. This sets up the next scene with Ferlin sitting on the porch of his cabin singing the title song "Swamp Girl".
We find out that Ferlin is the Swamp Ranger and that Claude is the local Sheriff when we find them the next day discussing if there really could be a Swamp Girl. Ferlin sets out in his airboat to see if he can track her down and, of course, he does. While on shore chasing her, Ferlin steps into an animal trap and Swamp Girl has to rescue him. Ferlin gets Swamp Girl to to talk to him and interestingly the conversation is about the traps being illegal and how the Okefenokee Swamp Park is a refuge....a sort of early 70s message of conservation. We get an oddity (actually just badly written dialogue) during the conversation, when Swamp Girl has no trouble with the word "refuge", but doesn't understand the word "deputy".
Ferlin has asked Swamp Girl to talk to her Pa about leaving the swamp and coming back into civilization, which she agrees to do. We then get what I guess was supposed to be a shock (and maybe it was in 1971), when we find that Pa is a black man. Pa says he knew this day was coming and he will have to explain to Swamp Girl how he's not her real father, but actually a man named Nat who has raised her.
HOLD ON because here comes a lot of twisted plot: It seems Nat lived in the swamp with an alcoholic doctor who performed illegal abortions. If a woman came to him too late for an abortion, he would let them stay until they had the baby. If it was a boy, they had to take the child with them when they left, if it was a girl, they could either take it or leave it. If they left the baby girl, the doctor had a deal with some sea-faring men who bought the babies and then re-sold them to Arab Sheiks. Swamp Girl was Nat's favorite and he begged the doctor to keep her around and he did, until she was a pre-teen. Then old doc got greedy and decided to sell her. He knew Nat would resist the idea and sent Nat off to run some errands. The seamen wouldn't pay the double price the doctor wanted for Swamp Girl and they killed the doctor and kidnapped Swamp Girl and placed her in a canvas bag. Nat had gotten suspicious and came back just in time to catch all of this and winds up killing both of the men (there's some bad special effects included at this point). Swamp Girl doesn't remember any of this because when the seamen threw the bag with her in it into the woods, she was bitten through the bag by snakes and the fever from those bites wiped her mind clean.
While Nat has been telling Swamp Girl her story, we cut back to a woman, who with the help of her boyfriend, has escaped from prison. She shot a prison guard during the escape with a double barrel shotgun. The duo decide to go through the swamp to reach the Florida line. I guess I don't have tell you that their paths will intersect with Swamp Girl. First they find the cabin with Nat and the woman uses her other shell to shoot Nat (for some reason they only had the two shells....I guess times were tough! OR maybe only two shells exist for a plot twist that comes a little later). Once they happen upon Swamp Girl, they force her to lead them through the swamp at the point of their shotgun.
Back in town a couple has arrived and hired the three locals to look for their "little" girl in the swamp. This sounds like they are going to be looking for a young girl, but it's actually the escapee. How they knew she was in the swamp is a mystery to me, but that's how the plot has evolved or devolved. Meanwhile back in the swamp, the escapee's boyfriend has stepped in quicksand and drowned. Next up is a fight between the escapee and Swamp Girl, who has been fully aware that there are no more shells in the shotgun (remember above when I said plot twist)....of course why Swamp Girl had been letting herself be forced to lead them through the swamp is somewhat of a mystery to me....but what the hell, might as well go along with it...anyway... After Swamp Girl and the escapee fight for a while, the escapee is chasing Swamp Girl when she gets caught in a trap and a gator pulls her down into the swamp and eats her as Swamp Girl watches, but does nothing. The locals and the escapee's father arrive and it appears that the father shoots Swamp Girl, but she in actuality has just stumbled. Instead, the Sheriff and Swamp Ranger show up and the father gets shot and as he falls, we have a deadly snake attack.
HOLD ON for another convoluted plot twist: When everyone arrives back in civilization, we find out that Swamp Girl is actually the daughter of the escapee's mother and that that was her sister she watched drown. Swamp Girl goes back into the Swamp to get her mind straight, but promises to return to civilization soon....OR maybe they were just thinking about a sequel!
A couple of final things to mention about the movie that I found strange is the usage of a couple of words. Two different characters, who are both white, in the movie use the exclamation "Holy Mackerel", a phrase generally associated with Amos 'n' Andy, but I'm guessing it had probably entered the general lexicon of Southerners by 1971, when this movie was made. Another strange word in the movie was when Ferlin called the escapee's boyfriend "Bohunk", an ethic slur used for Ukrainian or Eastern Central European immigrants and a term I have never heard used here in The South. I am only familiar with it from some Northerners that I served in the army with who made me aware of the word. Since Ferlin had no way of knowing who the boyfriend was, I sometimes think that maybe he meant to say Boy Friend and just said Bohunk (maybe the word meant something different to Ferlin) OR for all I know it was written into the movie by one of the two writers (thankfully, this is their only credited writing production).