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flick pick | Switchblade Sisters 1975
Directed by:
Jack Hill
Written by: Jack Hill, F.X. Maier, John Prizer
Starring: Robbie Lee, Joanne Nail, Monica Gayle, Asher Brauner
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: cult, action
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something:  action-packed, camp-o-riffic
The verdict: ½ / 5 *on the exploit-o-rating meter

Plot synopsis Switchblade Sisters is the exploit-o-riffic story of a white girl gang, the Dagger Debs, in 1970s Los Angeles. Maggie (Nail) is head Deb Lace’s (Lee) new friend. But when Maggie unintentionally threatens Lace’s power over the gang, as well as her relationship with Dom (Brauner), the leader of the Silver Daggers (the Debs’ winged-haired male affiliates), the friendship quickly turns to rivalry. The Daggers and Debs terrorize the LAPD—a kinder, gentler squad, apparently, than the real modern-day one—and fight with an (also all-white) strangely political rival gang that deals drugs. The ass-kicking begins when the Silver Daggers lose Dom, and Lace winds up in the hospital, after an amusing shoot-out at a roller rink. Maggie assumes control from the blubbering wreck that is Lace, kicks the Silver Daggers out of their hangout, and re-names her newly-independent gang the Jezebels. With the help of a cool-as-shit black female gang, Maggie leads the Jezebels to retaliate against the gang that took down their fearless leader and Lace’s main squeeze.

Review It’s difficult to pick the funniest moment from Jack Hill’s film, which has been re-released on Quentin Tarantino’s B-movie collection, Rolling Thunder. The first scene, perhaps, when Lace, in a leather biker cap and goopy Kissing Potion lips, smiles lovingly at her switchblade while she sharpens it? Or how about when Johnny Law comes to Jobo’s Burgers to arrest the Debs and tries to frisk the Deb known as Patch (Gale), who barks, "Keep your hands off the fruit, faggot!"

Although it’s true that the first half of the movie wouldn’t win any notable mentions from women’s organizations, if you wait out the over-the-top acting and campy dialogue, the Sisters start making us proud. After Dom is offed, the rest of the Daggers want to give up fighting, but not Maggie, who kicks the cowardly Silver Daggers’ asses out of the hangout, and announces: "We’re not going to be anybody’s Debs anymore. I looked up the word ‘jezebel’ in the dictionary the other day, and it said ‘ an immoral, shameless, impudent woman!’ And that’s what we are! We’re the Jezebels, now!"

One video copy available has an entertaining interview with director Jack Hill, Joanne Nail and Robbie Lee, 20 years later. It’s worth renting just to see the 40-something switchblade sisters in flowered mommy-dresses laugh at Hill as he tells them how the movie’s script was based on Shakespeare’s Othello.
reviewed by Virginia Pelley
Virginia Pelley lives in San Francisco and writes for ChickClick.com 

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