Thursday, July 24, 2008

In Her Satin Tights

Can you believe it, Lynda Carter is 57 years old today? I keep hearing rumors of Hollywood trying to put together a new Wonder Woman movie, but I can't imagine any actress being cast that could compete with Lynda Carter. Say what you want about the 1970s WONDER WOMAN TV series, but she was just about the most perfectly cast superhero in TV history. Obviously, she was beautiful, athletic and stacked, which are probably the three main attributes any Wonder Woman actress must have, but she also struck the perfect note of earnestness and sweetness. The show may have been camp, but Lynda Carter never was.
Those interested in the tall, voluptuous ingenue may appreciate her first feature film, BOBBIE JO AND THE OUTLAW, which was filmed before, but released after, THE NEW ORIGINAL WONDER WOMAN (sic) debuted on ABC. Chances are if you’ve sought out this American International drive-in flick, it’s because you heard that Lynda goes topless in it. Well, she does, and it makes watching this violent BONNIE & CLYDE ripoff worthwhile.

Carter, who filmed this just after making the WONDER WOMAN pilot, plays Bobbie Jo, a small-town waitress looking for thrills who hooks up with Lyle Wheeler (Marjoe Gortner, seen above with Carter), a fast-draw artist and small-time thief who graduates to bank robbery and murder with Bobbie Jo as part of his small gang of amateurs.

This was actually junk actor Gortner’s first leading role in a feature as well, after some television parts and an earlier career as an evangelist. He was only slightly more experienced before a camera than Carter, who demonstrates the breezy personality and stunning physicality that earned her television stardom. It’s good for her that she nailed that elusive Big Break—the lead on a successful TV series—that eluded so many other young women who slogged through breast- and bullet-oriented exploitation movies of the 1970s. Director Mark Lester, whose oeuvre also includes CLASS OF 1984 (which I like) and TRUCK STOP WOMEN (which I don't), makes the film slightly entertaining with some good stunts, but is really only worth watching for Lynda.

1 comment:

Adam Ross said...

Marjoe Gortner? Wow, if there was ever a case for a Hollywood name change, that was it!