They don’t call them that for nothing!
Tuesday February 15th, 9pm
Otto’s Shrunken Head
538 E. 14th street (A & B)
Mother, Jugs & Speed (1976)
The F & B Ambulance Co. is looking for a few good men… but they will take any body they can get.
Raquel Welch single handedly brought me into manhood. There I said it. She was an anamoly in a world of tweeboy shaped supermodels and anorexic disco queens. A throwback into the evaporated days of the bombshell. There she was, all 37D-22-36 of her, turning boys into men with one flash of real time bra-less cleavage.
So in 1976 if you needed a character named Jugs there was no other possible choice. Sorry Twiggy won’t do. Goldie Hawn? Please. If only Russ Meyer had directed this film we may have gotten Tura Satana! Bonus to the bosom is the brilliant car chase where Welch tosses a ’72 Cadillac ambulance around the street of LA in possibly the best driving scene in the movie.
Tony Malatesta: They don’t call me Speed for nuthin’.
Jugs: Well, let’s hope they don’t call you Speed for everything!
Now the rest of the cast of Mother, Jugs & Speed must have been put together after someone drank a hash, bourbon, and fried chicken smoothie. No where else will you ever see Cliff Huxtable, Mr. White, J.R. Ewing, the “Hey Mickey” chick, and one of the greatest linebackers of all time sharing the silver screen. Ah, the 70’s.
Murdoch: You know Mrs. Fishbein, you are a hell of a good-looking woman.
Mother: [overhearing on the radio] He really IS stoned.
At this point you may be questioning the auteur status of Mr. Peter Yates. That is until you see The Ambulance. Think Corvette Summer meets The A-Team. Take a 1975 Chevy Sport Van, dump 40 gallons of 70’s badass on it, then put a cooler full of beer between the front seats and a Colt Python .357 Magnum hand cannon in the glovebox … OK you’re half way there. Now put Bill Cosby’s ‘Mother’ Tucker in the drivers seat. No, not the sweater wearing 80’s douche Bill Cosby, or the self righteous 90’s Bill Cosby. We are talking about the angry, blacksploitation, 70’s Bill Cosby. The one that curses. The one that drinks. The one white people might actually be scared of. Now we’ve got a movie.
Harry Fishbine: I don’t have to tell you people times are tough. You read the papers! The country is going to hell!
Add to the mix Harvey Keitel, a disgraced police detective and former Vietnam War ambulance driver suspended from the police force due to allegations that he sold cocaine to children. You’ll be pleased to know that this is not one of the films that Keitel get his kit off and runs about stark naked. But he does get to toss the sheets with Welch, the lucky bastard. Something for which I may never forgive him.
It is safe to say that Mother, Jugs & Speed is probably the finest ambulance based, black comedy, 70’s period films ever. Why? Tits and a van. What else did a red blooded American boy need in the 1970’s? OK, maybe a mustache.
– John Ficarra