Friday, January 16, 2009

Movie Notes: The Candy Snatchers (1973)

Three maladroit voyous kidnap an innocent nymph to extort money from her father, the well-off manager of a jewlery shop, only to find out that he's not willing to pay for her return. The Candy Snatchers has all the grimy, sleazy, criminality typical of 70's grindhouse cinema; underlined with a certain caustic black humor that elevates it slightly above other drive-in epics. It reminded me of a Coen brothers film in that it centers on a crime and nearly every character is cluelessly corrupt. I suspect its cult status comes from the weird humor and downbeat tone.

I should note that the film itself is nowhere in the same league as the Coen brothers' movies. Gordon Trueblood directed for television; this was his only film, and for the most part, the direction is flavorless. The filmmakers did make good use of limited locations to give the film a claustrophobic feel. Mostly though The Candy Snatchers is notable for its persistent sleazy undertone and its [somewhat heavy-handed] message that money can make people do horrible things.

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