The Switchblade Sisters (1975)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller, Juvenile Delinquency Film  |   Release Date - May 1, 1975 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Switchblade Sisters is considered to be one of Jack Hill's crowning achievements by his fans and it is easy to see why; rarely has a B-movie been so funny, smart, or slyly subversive. The key to these unexpected attributes lies in the film's style, which uses a campy pop art approach that makes the viewer vulnerable to the ambitious themes that underpin the material. Jack Hill's clever script (co-written with F.X. Maier) delivers the exploitative goods while also working in subtle elements of leftist and feminist commentary into their story's stylized landscape. Note that all the male characters are portrayed as either weak or short-sighted and the all bastions of civilized society (schools, the police, the welfare system) are painted as hopelessly corrupt. Hill also turns in some fine work from the director's chair, infusing the film with a comic book-inspired visual style and deftly weaving unexpected dramatic moments into the film's otherwise campy tone to shake the audience up. Switchblade Sisters further benefits from performances that match the film's highly stylized tone. Joanne Nail and Robbie Lee deliver colorful performances in the leads, but it's Monica Gayle who steals the show with her wild-eyed, larger-than-life turn as Patch. The end result isn't Shakespeare and is definitely too over-the-top for anyone not experienced with drive-in movies, but its delirious style and politically charged undertones make it an ideal choice for anyone interested in the high points of drive-in cinema's last golden age.