• Poor Pretty Eddie

    Released by: Cultra
    Released on: 4/26/2011
    Director: Richard Robinson
    Cast: Leslie Uggams, Shelley Winters, Michael Christian, Ted Cassidy, Slim Pickens
    Year: 1975
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    The Movie:

    Liz Wetherly is a famous singer who decides it's time for a vacation. She sets out all alone in her fancy car and ends up breaking down in a remote area in the south. She walks to the nearest place she can find, a place called “Bertha’s Oasis” in search for some assistance. She enters a barn to be greeted by Keno (Ted Cassidy) who’s in the middle of slaughtering chickens (for real). Keno directs her to the office where she meets Eddie (Michael Christian), an Elvis copycat who instantly starts making the moves on Liz. She obviously wants nothing to do with him. The car will take some time to fix so he leads her to a cabin that she can stay the night in, again making ridiculous advances toward her. All this is under the watchful eye of his lady friend Bertha (Shelly Winters), a former burlesque dancer who changed her career to that of a sloppy drunk. She of course is jealous and wants Liz out immediately. She gives Eddie the third degree on the subject, but he schmoozes her just enough to get her mind off of it.

    Sheriff Orville (Slim Pickens) shows up at the Oasis with his less-than-brilliant son, and before she knows it Ms. Wetherly is sitting down to a bizarre dinner with an overweight drunk woman, her lecherous Elvis impersonating boyfriend, an obnoxious sheriff (who happens to be just a little frisky) and a giant man with a scar on his face. Once dinner is over, Liz returns to her cabin and that’s when things really go sour.

    In a nutshell, without revealing to much (in case you haven’t seen it), Liz Wetherly seems to have stumbled into some sort of Twilight Zone unreality filled with whacked out people, most of whom have one thing on their minds: HER. This poor lady has to endure intense brutality and humiliating situations and it just doesn’t seem to let up. Aside from Liz, Eddie gives someone else trouble too. Keno suffers verbal and physical abuse courtesy of Eddie and seems to be the one person on Liz’s side. Eddie is also at odds with Bertha, who as mentioned before, is jealous. She realizes her age and her looks are working against her so she lets Eddie have his way. She doesn’t want to lose her beau hunk and believes that if she does she’ll never get a man again. So there are a number of high-pressure combinations that build to an inevitable explosion that results in an incredibly amazing ending.

    This movie is loaded with “what the--?!” moments, wonky camera moves, disturbing images, funky edits, and general chaos. The characters in this movie help bring the mania to even greater heights, thanks to some great performers. Slim Pickens is just a walking cartoon with some great lines (“Did he rip yer clothes off?” “Did he bite ya on the titties?”) and just his typically insane demeanor. Ted Cassidy takes every scene he’s in with his intimidating scarred face and cold glares. Dub Taylor makes an appearance as a Justice of the Peace and is totally out there. And Shelly Winters is, well, Shelly Winters. She’s great in this role and is totally convincing in her insanity. And the end of the movie…wow…fantastic.

    This flick is simply a mind-blower. It comes out of left field and gives you a welcomed kick in the gonads.


    Note: This release comes with a Blu-ray disc and a DVD version of the film. For the purpose of this review, only the Blu-ray disc was watched. What follows for audio and video does not apply to the DVD.

    Cultra gives the world Poor Pretty Eddie in a 1080p high definition, AVC encoded image, and with a 1.78.1 widescreen aspect ratio. If you’ve come to the party looking for a pristine, knock-your-socks-off display, then go away. The transfer uses digital noise reduction, so it’s lower on the film grain than one might expect, and it certainly makes some things look a little soft by way of lines and textures. One of the extras is a quick demonstration on the before and after images concerning the restoration of a 35mm print. The before stuff has horrid green lines all over the place, whereas during the movie you hardly notice anything. Pretty incredible when you look at it. The darker sections of the movie tend to be on the murky side too. But it still looks good despite all that and considering the age of the film, the beatings the prints all took during its 10-year drive-in run, the transfer is impressive.

    According to the packaging, this release boasts a 5.1 Surround Sound track. The Blu-ray viewed has only a 2.0 Dolby Digital track, so be aware of that. The track seems devoid of any heavy popping and hissing, and has a good balance between the music and the dialogue. There seems to be nothing out of the ordinary here. Sounds fine, just nothing noteworthy other than the misinforming box copy.

    The main extra on this release is an audio commentary with cinematographer David Worth, moderated by cult film historian Joe Rubin. Not only was Mr. Worth the cinematographer on Any Which Way You Can and Bloodsport, and director of Kickboxer and the amazingly-awful-but-truly-hilarious Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, but Poor Pretty Eddie was his first gig. The commentary is start-to-finish fascinating and never gets dull. Worth recalls everything he can and Rubin keeps the conversation moving along. Lots of great info that delivers all the way through. The disc has an excellent essay on the film and its history written by another cult film expert, Chris Poggialli. Also included here are production stills (Just two?), the film trailer, and a minute-long film restoration demo, mentioned earlier. There’s a movie postcard inside and the release is a BD/DVD combo pack.

    The Final Word:

    An excellent example of a sleazy and trippy movie that delivers blow after blow of rabbit punches. It would have been a plus to have the watered-down version Heartbreak Hotel as an extra, but the commentary more than makes up for the lack of supplemental material. If you enjoy drive-in/grindhouse fare and have not seen this one, you owe it to yourself to pick it up. Poor Pretty Eddie goes under the radar of a lot of fans of the genre and deserves to be up there as required viewing. And if you‘re already one of the enlightened, you still need to spend your money on this release. You won’t regret it.

    Click on the images below for full size Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 6 Comments
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      So much PBR product placement in this movie, haha.

      What a rad film.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      I saw that! Miller too. Think PBR paid for it? Prolly not.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      what part was the 11th picture down from? I do not recognize that at all.
    1. Ian Miller's Avatar
      Ian Miller -
      Nice review, Todd! Glad you dug it as much as I, I bit the bullet and this was my first blu purchase (no player yet), I look forward to checking out the DVD version when it arrives.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      Thanks, man! I really dug it. Watched it twice already. It's a masterpiece of fucked-uppery.
    1. Ian Miller's Avatar
      Ian Miller -
      That it is, Mr. J! Welcome to the club of PPE warpees.