Friday, April 20, 2007

"Mindy Baxter. I'm a singer. And a dancer."

Desert Rat Girls (1967; B&W; Cinemascope; 98 min.; Shirley Eaton, Michael Parks, Joanna Lumley, Tina Turner, Horst Bucholz, Stubby Kaye, Joey Heatherton; music by Jerry Fielding; written by L. Winchester and Dick and Daphne Ridpath; directed by Larry Winchester).

Four female entertainers and their pianist are shot down in the North African desert in 1942. Captured by the Germans, they are forced to put on a show for the Nazis. At the after-show party a German officer lets slip to song-thrush Mindy Baxter (Shirley Eaton, above left) that the Germans are planning a major offensive the next day. After the Krauts all pass out the plucky girls and their comic-foil accompanist Maxie (Stubby Kaye) sneak out of their tent and escape in a half-track, blowing up an ammunition dump on the way out. Driving across the desert they are strafed by an American fighter plane and forced to shoot it down in self-defense. The handsome young pilot (Michael Parks) bails out and approaches the half-track with his hands in the air. Imagine his surprise when...

A curious note: This wildly entertaining actioner was filming on location outside Gaza when the Six-Day war suddenly broke out. Not to be fazed, Larry turned his camera toward the actual fighting and picked up some battle footage he would never otherwise have been able to afford to shoot. Unfortunately the Israel Defense Forces were not amused and shut the show down. Larry completed production in his friend Jean-Pierre Melville’s studio on the rue Janner in Paris.

(Kindly turn to the right hand side of this page for a listing of links to many other fine Larry Winchester films.)

And now, the fabulous Tina Turner:


Unknown said...

I'm a big Joey Heatherton fan. Is this available on DVD?

Dan Leo said...

It was very briefly available on a Japanese import (dubbed into Japanese, but with optional English subtitles), but unfortunately this fine film seems to be unavailable at the moment for home viewing. Larry does possess a pristine negative, so write to your favorite DVD company and tell them to get on the ball! I watched it in Larry's basement on Ivar Avenue in Hollywood and this movie rocks.