Swamp Women is a 1956 American adventure crime film, and was one of the first films directed by Roger Corman. It stars Carole Mathews, Beverly Garland, and Marie Windsor, with Mike Connors and Ed Nelson in small roles.
The film follows undercover police officer Lee Hampton, who infiltrates a band of three female convicts authorities allow to escape from prison. The escape is part of a larger plot to uncover a cache of diamonds hidden deep within the swamps of Louisiana. This film is sometimes also known as Cruel Swamp or Swamp Diamonds.
Swamp Women is currently in the public domain. In July 1993, the film was featured in the movie-mocking television show Mystery Science Theater 3000 under the title Swamp Diamonds.
Marie Windsor as Josie
Carole Mathews as Lee
Beverly Garland as Vera
Mike Connors as Bob
Jill Jarmyn as Billie
Susan Cummings as Marie
Ed Nelson as Police Sergeant
Jonathan Haze as Charlie the Pickpocket
Lou Place as Captain J. R. Goodrich
Three escaped female convicts, along with an undercover policewoman, Lee Hampton, begin a search for stolen diamonds in the Louisiana swamps. The escape, allowed by the authorities, is part of a larger plan by the authorities is to trail the convicts and recover stolen diamonds. When notified that the stolen diamond cache has been recovered by the undercover officer, they plan to rearrest the women and return the diamonds to their rightful owner. The plan fails to work as designed.
During the inmates' search of the swamp, they steal a boat from a research geologist and his girlfriend, resulting in the girlfriend's death from the attack of indigenous alligators.
After recovery of the diamonds, one of the convicts double-crosses the others, attempting to sneak off with the guns and diamonds, but she is killed by the one of the other convicts. The two remaining convicts begin to suspect the undercover cop, and threaten to kill the geologist if she doesn't reveal herself.
A fight ensues between the convicts and the undercover officer, assisted by the geologist. which allows the authorities enough time to show up and regain custody of the two remaining fugitives.
Corman and his production partner Jim Nicholson were completing a long road trip searching for backers for their movies, often from drive-in theater owners, when they met the Woolner brothers -- Lawrence, Bernard and David -- who had opened New Orleans' first drive-in theaters.Looking to get into the production business, Corman said, the brothers agreed to help finance Swamp Women for Corman, who returned to Louisiana with his cast and crew for the production.
The film was shot on location in Louisiana, and was shot in either 10 or 22 days, depending on the source The actors had to perform their own stunts, including close calls with snakes, falling out of trees with only a stuntman to catch an actress and walking through the muck and mire. Staff were housed in an abandoned motel, with little or not hot water and one bed that collapsed while an actress was sleeping on it.
Ed Nelson, later of Peyton Place fame, stated that the shoot was difficult, hot and humid with none of the comforts of a studio production. Still, Nelson, who was unemployed and stuck in at the abandoned motel, became a gofer for the crew, eventually earning the bit part of a cop. Based on his behind the scenes help and his role, he would go on to appear in about 15 Corman productions.
While called "weak filler exploitation fare" by Variety, they cited that Corman's full use of the bayou was a plus. The Monthly Film Bulletin agreed, liking the setting of the film in the swamps as giving a cliched story a new aspect.
However, the Los Angeles Examiner found the movie to be bogged down in cliche and apathy. The CEA Film Report found both the swamp setting and the footage of Mardi Gras to be a positive, but found the movie as a whole uneventful.
The film was listed in the 1978 book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time The movie is available online at several sites, including YouTube
The film has been released by multiple companies as a 'bargain box' disc.
The MST3K version of the film was released by Rhino Home Video as part of the Collection, Volume 10 (out-of-print on both Rhino's and Mst3k's official websites) and Collection, Volume 10.2 DVD sets. As of January 2010, Volume 10.2 is out-of-print on Rhino's official website, but still available on Mst3k's official website.
This was also released as part of a large DVD box set of vintage exploitation films categorized; Girls Gone Bad.