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Mean Mother

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    Ian Jane
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  • Mean Mother

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    Released by: Retro-Shock-O-Rama
    Released on: 3/4/2003
    Director: Al Adamson, Leon Kilimovsky
    Cast: Clifton Brown, Dennis Safren, Luciana Paluzzi, Lang Jeffries, Tracy King, Albert Cole
    Year: 1973
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    One of a few patchwork films to come out of American Independent Studios in the seventies, director Al Adamson (Black Samurai) and producer Sam Sherman (Female Animal) created Mean Mother out of some newly shot footage mixed in with pieces from a film entitled El Hombre Que Vino Del Odido, that had been released in Europe a little while earlier. The result? A total mess of a film... but not an unlikable one.

    Semi-famous crooner Dobie Gray (who appears here as Clifton Brown) plays Beauregard Jones, a solider who has gone AWOL from the Vietnam War and ends up in Los Angeles and involved in a heroin smuggling ring based out of Saigon.

    When a deal goes wrong, Jones heads back to 'Nam and meets up with his old platoon where he hangs with Joe Scott (Dennis Safren, from the original film this was shot around). It doesn't take long for the two of them to split up and get out of the jungle during a Vietcong raid. Jones ends up in Spain, while Scott ends up in Rome.

    Of course, trouble follows each of them to Europe and the Spanish mafia and a gang of Communists ends up hunting them down. Jones eventually finds Scott and convinces him that what they need to do is head to the land of high sales tax and good beer, so they grab their hoochies and head off to Canada. But little do they know, the Euro-mobsters are hot on their trail as they make their way to The Great White North, and things are gonna get worse before they get better.

    Like I said earlier, it's a complete mess of a film. But it's a lot of fun. Dobie Gray is pretty charismatic as he overacts his way through one goofy set piece after another, and Safren is amicable enough in a slimy seventies criminal kind of way. While most of what occurs on screen is more or less just a bunch of random set pieces strung together by a threadbare storyline, if you're into camp appeal and seventies cinema in general, you won't really care that none of it makes any sense by the time that the credits role - you can just enjoy it for what it is.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    While the film is presented full screen, it looks like it was probably shot open matte as there doesn't appear to be much wrong with the compositions in this transfer. There is the expected amount of grain and print damage in effect here and some of the darker scenes just weren't lit very well during production, but overall it's not a bad transfer and it's quite watchable.

    While there are more than a few instances where some bad source flaws get in the way of clarity, for the most part the Dolby Digital Mono track is pretty clean and easy to understand. The funky score comes through nice and lively and doesn't drown out the dialogue, likewise for the sound effects.

    EI has provided some really nice and informative liner notes from Chris Poggiali and David Konow that detail the films unusual history and are very much worth reading. The liners are also filled with some great promotional pieces and photos as well. The films theatrical trailer is also included on the DVD but the real bonus is another one of those great Sam Sherman commentary tracks that have been popping up on these releases over the last few years. While, like some of his other tracks, it doesn't run the entire length of the film (it runs just over fifty minutes), it's still packed full of great anecdotes and information and like his other tracks, is very much worth a listen for fans of the International Pictures catalogue of films. There are a ton of trailers for other EI titles included on this release as well.

    The Final Word:

    A trash classic is given a pretty respectable release on DVD from the Retro-Shock-O-Rama crew, and Sherman fans will need this one just for the commentary.
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