Friday, October 5, 2012

Molly and Asshole John: "Molly and Lawless John" (1972)



Hey, ladies! Feeling a little down? Want to be able to assert yourselves to the penis sporting cavemen you have ended up with? Well, have I got the flaming feminist western cinematic statement for you!

Sam Elliott is Lawless John Lawlor. He robs a bank, and steals a horse from his own partner. Sheriff Marvin (John Anderson) and Deputy Tom (Clu Gulager) bring him in. In jail, John makes goo-goo eyes at Molly (Vera Miles), the sheriff's wife. He tells her a sob story, and gets under her thin naive skin. He promises to take her away from the dirty little New Mexico town and give her the babies Marvin never will. Well, okay!

Molly breaks John out, and they make sweet clothed love in the desert. Soon, John makes no secret of the fact that he lied to Molly just to get out of prison. After you recover from that shock, the odd couple hide out in an abandoned Indian settlement. A pregnant Indian happens by, gives birth, and dies. Molly takes the baby and names it Little John. More Indians kidnap the trio, and Molly's long luxurious locks are sheared off. The three escape again, as John bitches about the baby while Molly keeps begging to stop for milk.

Molly's horse dies, John cuts it up and eats it. John even dumps Molly and baby in the desert, then doubles back to pick them up after a night. John invites hooker Dolly (a luscious Playboy Playmate named Cynthia Myers) out for a little lawless-lovin', with Molly hanging around outside with the kid. Molly has the baby baptized, and leaves John's real name, prompting the reverend to notify the local sheriff. Molly and John and Little John escape (again), but the two finally show down, as Molly finally decides to get some cajones in the face of the angry outlaw.

Vera Miles does her best with a lousy role. Her character is treated like crap by all the men in the film, yet she gamely marches on and lets them. The only time she stands up to John is where the baby is concerned. Her love for John is unbelievable and flimsy. Sam Elliott's John is such a jerk, you wish someone would just kill him, especially Molly, who has so many opportunities but never acts on them.

The screenplay plays like a stage play, as static dialogue scenes go on FOREVER, including John's wooing of Molly in the jailhouse. Director Gary Nelson sure likes to pad his film with long shots of horses and riders silhouetted on far off ridges. Watch for the scene where John starts taking off his clothes for a bath, much to the chagrin of Molly. I have seen boom microphones in shots before, but this mic sneaks up from the bottom of the frame right between the two actors.

The film makers thought this was empowering for women, but it is not close. This western says "Ladies, let your men treat you like crap, maybe eventually you will do something about it." I am empowered to say this movie sucked. (*) out of five stars. Get this movie now!: Molly and Lawless John