SWITCHBLADE SISTERS (Blu-ray Review)
FROM ARROW VIDEO
Review by Tiger the Terrible😼
Of course, one could easily argue that without Quentin Tarantino’s ringing endorsement, Switchblade Sisters would have faded into relative obscurity, simply one of countless other ‘70s exploitation flicks promising to serve-up sex and violence in equal measures.
That’s not really intended as criticism, since the film is actually pretty-well made for a brawling babes B-movie. But the fact remains it was Tarantino’s stamp-of-approval which prompted fans, cultists, critics and historians alike to re-assess this film’s importance, influence and - perhaps most significantly - themes of female empowerment.
After viewing Switchblade Sisters for the first time, I doubt co-writer director Jack Hill had anything but profit in-mind. Still, I was a bit surprised that, for a film loaded with gangs, guns and girls, Hill obviously has more reverence and respect for his female characters than the male ones, who are simplistically depicted as thugs, horndogs, dim-bulbs or cannon fodder.
The girls are mostly cartoon caricatures, too, especially gang leader Lace, comically overplayed by Robbie Lee. But the big difference is that they’re strong, assertive and - despite some hot-for-the-70s outfits and an implied rape - aren’t really exploited for their visual assets. In fact, if it weren’t for the language, the film might even squeak by with a PG-13 rating today. Maybe it's that aspect which ultimately left its indelible mark on someone like Tarantino, who’s always created strong, sexy female characters without ever actually sexualizing them.
|"Bitch, these ARE my jammies!"|
In addition to a pretty impressive transfer, Arrow Video includes another fun batch of bonus features. Most of them are older but no-less interesting, some of which might help the viewer appreciate the film a bit more. Speaking of which, I’m kinda surprised the audio commentary Tarantino did for a previous DVD wasn’t carried over to this one. He is the movie’s biggest fan, after all.
“WE ARE THE JEZEBELS” - An entertaining 40-minute doc featuring interviews with director Jack Hill, producer John Prizer, stunt Coordinator Bob Minor, production designer B.B. Neal and actors Joanna Nail, Asher Brayner & Chase Newhart.
ARCHIVAL 1990 INTERVIEW - Director Jack Hill and actors Robbie Lee & Joanna Nail.
ARCHIVAL 2007 INTERVIEW - Director Jack Hill and actor Joanna Nail.
AUDIO COMMENTARY - By historians/critics Samm Deighan & Kat Ellinger. It’s definitely worth a listen, but it’s too bad the commentary Tarantino did for the original DVD release isn’t included.
TRAILERS - From various Jack Hill-directed films, including The Jezebels (this film’s original title).
PHOTO, POSTER, LOBBY CARD & HOME VIDEO GALLERIES
SUPPLEMENTAL BOOKLET - Featuring two retrospective essays and a new interview with director Jack Hill. Also includes photos, cast & crew credits, Blu-ray credits.
REVERSIBLE COVER - Features new and vintage cover art (we kinda like the new one!).