Cut Ups: “The Switchblade Sisters” (1975)


Robbie Lee as Lace, the leader of the Dagger Debs, whose own worst personal enemy is the sibilant s.


     Films that purport to be Exploitation cinema but follow the routine thematic formulas of this breed of cinema without encompassing genuine prerequisite exploitation elements is simply trash without a reason to exist.

    Jack Hill’s “Switchblade Sisters” (alternately titled “The Jezebels”, without any greater success) is such an animal; a mutt masquerading as an overbred canine- a compendium of drive-in trash cinema clichés encompassing a random Column A/Column B selection 300px-Switchblade_Sistersfrom gang films, blaxploitation cinema, vigilante films, drug films, teen films, sexploitation cinema and women-in-prison melodramas- with no apparent decision ever made on which avenue to focus on. Its a virtual “greatest hits” version of exploitation but on somnambulist cruise control.

    The film follows the exploits of two high school gangs, though most of the participants look about a decade too old, one named the Daggers and their female counterpart The Dagger Debs, who later in a break from the male of the species, to become The Jezebels. The events that lead to this change bring about the only remotely interesting aspect of the film; an indelible feminist viewpoint of empowerment.

    Despite the fact that the subordinate Dagger Debs are the girlfriends of the male gang, they are treated as shabbily and with the same lack of respect afforded their victims in the surrounding community. This has little to do with machismo or an innate toughness, but is a sloppy perspective perpetrated by director Hill who set a general standard in all of his exploitation films of celebrating the empowered woman by treating them as proverbial sexual objects as gratuitously and insultingly as possible.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:

About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in crime, Drive-In Movies, grindhouse, movie reviews, Movies, women, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Cut Ups: “The Switchblade Sisters” (1975)

  1. beetleypete says:

    I started to scroll down to read the full review, but became diverted by the gif for ‘Common Law Cabin’ once again. Time passes slowly when I am looking at that, so I never did get to read the whole thing after all. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

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