Poor Pretty Eddie
|Poor Pretty Eddie|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Richard Robinson|
|Artaxerxes Productions, Michael Thevis Enterprises|
|Running time||86 minutes|
Poor Pretty Eddie is a 1975 American film starring Leslie Uggams, Shelley Winters and Michael Christian. Made on a relatively small budget, it is known for having an atypical narrative and direction style, which combines horror, exploitation and surreal drama. It has subsequently become popular in cult and B movie circles.
Liz Wetherly is a popular black singer in need of a break from her hectic schedule. When her car breaks down, she ends up stuck in a remote southern town that‘s been left for dead “ever since they put in the interstate.”
She is forced to spend the night at “Bertha’s Oasis”, a rundown lodge that serves as the bizarre fiefdom of an overweight ex-burlesque star who lords over her much younger boyfriend, Eddie, and a cast of equally-strange townsfolk. Eddie fancies himself a singer on par with Elvis, and expects Wetherly to make him famous. But things turn ugly for Wetherly, who endures rape and abuse at the hands of her captors, before culminating in her bloody revenge on the “rednecks” that terrorized her.
- Leslie Uggams as Liz Wetherly
- Shelley Winters as Bertha
- Michael Christian as Eddie Collins
- Slim Pickens as Sheriff Orville
- Dub Taylor as Justice of the Peace Floyd
- Ted Cassidy as Keno
Any prior experience the film-makers brought to Poor Pretty Eddie was limited mostly to work on adult films. According to the DVD's extensive liner notes, they secured backing from Michael Thevis, a notorious Atlanta-based businessman commonly known as “The King of Pornography” whose other interests included a chain of sex shops, a record company, and the manufacture of peep show booths. The film's director, Richard Robinson, knew Thevis from distributing his previous, more adult-oriented productions, and this marked a collective effort by all concerned to “go legit.” Thevis was later jailed on an assortment of charges and, following a prison escape in 1978, was placed on the FBI’s most-wanted list.
The movie's script, loosely based on the Jean Genet play The Balcony, was the work of consummate television writer B. W. Sandefur, who also wrote for such shows as Barnaby Jones, Little House on The Prairie and Charlie's Angels.
Upon its release in 1975, reviews were not kind. One Georgia-based film writer concluded: “Upon leaving the theater, I quite honestly felt nauseous.”
Over the course of its 10-year run at drive-ins and so-called grindhouse theaters, the film was distributed under several different titles and existed in at least two different versions. Alternate titles included: Black Vengeance, The Girl in The Web, The Victim, Redneck County, Redneck County Rape, and in a re-edited (“softer”) version called Heartbreak Motel. The latter version added scenes previously left on the editing room floor while removing a fair amount of violence, and also featured a different ending.
HD Cinema Classics and Film Chest released the movie on Blu-ray and DVD on April 26, 2011. "Poor Pretty Eddie is another public domain feature restored for Blu-ray by HD Cinema Classics/Film Chest. Anyone who doubts any significant restoration beyond overly aggressive DNR was done on this title need only look at the restoration demo included on the disc. The 35mm print utilized for the master is literally littered with virtually nonstop vertical green scratches, most of which have been removed. Color doesn't seem to have been retimed, at least not significantly, and so things have a slightly ruddy cast some of the time. But let's face it. Though filmed in Technicolor (and mid-70s Technicolor was not the Technicolor of yore), this was never a big budget film, and that low budget indie ethos shines (if that's the right word) through virtually every frame of Poor Pretty Eddie. This was never a glossy, pretty film to begin with and it still isn't. The DNR applied means there's an overly smooth texture to this release, but it also means that we have a largely blemish free image. Color is certainly above average, if not mind blowingly robust, given the low budget confines of the original film. Contrast is on the low side, as it obviously has been from day one, and therefore detail tends to get lost in some of the darker interior scenes. The image is also very soft most of the time, but, again, that's how this film looked from day one. But overall, this is the second color film HD Cinema Classics/Film Chest has released in the last week or so (The Terror being the other), and the results, while not perfect, are not as hideously troublesome as those who want grain, and lots of it, seem to think."
- McDonald, Mariko (October 29, 2004). "Poor Pretty Eddie". Film Threat.
- "Poor Pretty Eddie". Poor Pretty Eddie cast & crew (Internet Movie Database).
- Myers, Steve (May 27, 1975). "Poor Pretty Eddie Should Offend Local Residents". The Red and Black.
- Poggiali, Chris. "Poor Pretty Eddie". DVD Liner Notes (Cultra Studios).
- "B.W. Sandefur". B.W. Sandefur IMDB profile (Internet Movie Database).
- Poor Pretty Eddie Review at Blu-ray.com