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Film / Swamp Diamonds

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If you were this movie, you'd change your name too.

This 1955 movie, originally entitled Swamp Women, is the directorial debut of Roger Corman. It features Beverly Garland as Ax-Crazy Vera and Mike "Mannix" Connors (credited here as "Touch" Connors) as Bob "the Hostage" Matthews.

The film opens in the middle of Mardi Gras, with up-and-coming oil tycoon Bob Matthews promising to take his girlfriend Marie out into the Louisiana marshes to inspect some of his land holdings. Cut to the police station where plucky lady cop Lee Hampton learns she must undertake a dangerous mission to infiltrate an all-girl gang, currently in prison, and recover a cache of stolen diamonds. Unfortunately, the only way to recover the diamonds is to join the so-called Nardo Gang and break them out of jail so they can lead Lee to where the diamonds were hidden - deep in the Louisiana marshes. The gang stumbles across Bob and Marie exploring the bayou and promptly takes them hostage. Lee, already having trust issues with the gang, now finds her cover story increasingly harder to maintain as she tries to protect the hostages from the vengeful ladies. It's highly questionable whether any of them will make it out of the swamp alive.


For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.


  • Action Girl: Lee Hampton
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: The Nardo girls think Bob is cute, but he's not criminal enough for him. However...
  • And Starring: "Introducing note  Jil Jarmyn"
    • Real Life: Jil Jarmyn said "goodbye" to her career when she had a Cat Fight with Susan Hayward and filed assault charges on her. Well, she had a regular role on The Lineup, but her career was over by 1964.
  • Animated Credits Opening: The credits play out over black-velvet oil paintings subjected to The Ken Burns Effect.
  • Ax-Crazy: Vera
  • Cardboard Prison: Justified; the Nardo gang were supposed to escape, so as to lead Lee to the stolen diamonds.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Played with. After trying to steal both the diamonds and Bob, Vera gets fatally wounded with a spear by the other women. Her last act is to shoot a snake about to bite Bob. One character remarks that the last thing the Ax-Crazy Vera did was to save someone's life; another responds that "the last thing she did was kill — kill a snake."
  • Disposable Woman: Marie. A really paradigmatic example, as it's difficult to explain her role in the plot in any way except "deliver Bob to Lee so that they can initiate the movie's real romance."
  • Distaff Counterpart: the Nardo gals are the girlfriends of an all-male gang (who have already been sent to the chair and are thus never seen).
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Vera, the violent, gun-happy gang moll/diamond thief, gets offended when Marie tries to buy her own freedom without regard for what might happen to Bob. Considering what happened to their boyfriends/lovers, it's probably a sore spot.
  • Fanservice: The gals all chopping their long pants into short shorts. Not even Handwaved by the heat or by the fact that they're wading through waist-deep rivers, it's just patently Fanservice.
    • Actually, they do it because they're drunk. One of them even declares that it's not a bright idea — but the leader says in a drunken giggle that the Nardo girls never wore pants like a bunch of boys.
  • Girls Behind Bars: The Nardo Girls are introduced in prison...
  • The Infiltration / The Mole: ...and Lee has to go to jail in order to break them out, so they can lead her to the loot.
  • Informed Ability: Vera's marksmanship: "She can hit anything she can see."
    • Lampshaded by Joel and the bots a few moments later when Vera, sitting high up in a tree, shoots at Billie on the ground... by firing her gun straight ahead. "Are the bullets supposed to fall on them?"
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: The opening scene. Couldn't just be a couple walking down the New Orleans street on a normal night.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Even hardened crooks think so.
    Vera: Lone wolf. You can't trust them.
  • Most Definitely Not A Hero: Lee has a bit of a hard time playing a hard-bitten criminal while trying to protect the lives of the hostages. She is able, for a while, to Hand Wave it with "Guns make noise, and noise travels"; but when she balks at killing Bob even when offered a knife, the gig is up.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: Averted. A sharpshooter killed a real snake. The producers later claimed it was a snake that had wandered onto the set unbidden. (snort) Yeah, right.
  • Non-Action Guy: Bob the Hostage.


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