Sweet Revenge


1h 30m 1976
Sweet Revenge

Brief Synopsis

A public defender tries to reform a female car thief.

Film Details

Also Known As
Dandy, the All American Girl
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Crime
Release Date
1976
Location
Seattle, Washington, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m

Synopsis

Vurrla Kowsky is a charming car thief who uses elaborate disguises and dreams of driving a sports car herself someday. When the law catches up with her, the public defender who takes her case finds himself falling in love with her in spite of his better judgement.

Film Details

Also Known As
Dandy, the All American Girl
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Crime
Release Date
1976
Location
Seattle, Washington, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m

Articles

Sweet Revenge


By all indications, this should have been a fairly successful movie. Director Jerry Schatzberg came to the project with critical acclaim for his earlier movies The Panic in Needle Park (1971) and Scarecrow (1973), both starring Al Pacino. The cinematography was by Academy Award winner Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977). And its leading players, Stockard Channing and Sam Waterston, while not that well known at the time, have become through the years two of the most respected actors in film, television, and theater. But the picture labored under some confusion over exactly what it was meant to be.

Starting with the title: Is it Sweet Revenge (by which it's now mostly known) or the oddly whimsical Dandy, the All-American Girl (used for some releases and reviews)? Is it a comedy, which was how it was marketed - and perhaps conceived - or a darker, very 70s character study, more in line with Schatzberg's gritty early dramas? And is it meant to elicit sympathy for its eccentric heroine or is she ultimately as off-putting to audiences as she is to the public defender who tries to help her?

Channing plays Vurrla Kowsky, who uses the name "Dandy," among other aliases (maybe because her real full name sounds like only a surname). She supports herself by stealing cars and reselling them with the goal of one day having enough money to buy a Ferrari. Waterston is the attorney who does his best to get this suspicious, dishonest outsider adjusted to mainstream society. Franklyn Ajaye, who appeared around this time in Car Wash (1976) and more recently Bridesmaids (2011), plays Vurrla's fellow small-time crook friend who drives a pimped out car he calls "Sweet Revenge" (hence the title, but why?).

Despite a high skill level at work here, as expected from those involved, the film was given only a short, limited release, and few reviewers even had the chance to see it. Vincent Canby of the New York Times didn't get around to critiquing it until 1981 and, while not totally panning the film, deemed it "unsure of itself." On the other hand, it was nominated for a Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1976, most likely on the strength of Schatzberg, who won the award three years earlier for Scarecrow.

While it was certainly no boost for the careers of its two leads, the film's failure was only a temporary setback for them. Waterston had already received good notices for his role opposite Katharine Hepburn in the TV version of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie (1973) and as Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby (1974). He followed this with a key role in Woody Allen's Interiors (1978) and work that brought him an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar nomination for The Killing Fields (1984).

Channing scored as a rebellious teen (at the age of 34) in the musical Grease (1978) and has had numerous choice roles in the years since. She received an Academy Award nomination for Six Degrees of Separation (1993), a role she had created on stage to much acclaim.

Director: Jerry Schatzberg
Producer: B.J. Perla (associate)
Screenplay: B.J. Perla, Marilyn Goldin, Jor Van Kline; story by B.J. Perla
Cinematography: Vilmos Zsigmond
Editing: Richard Fetterman, Evan A. Lottman
Art Direction: Bill Kenney
Music: Paul Chihara
Cast: Stockard Channing (Vurrla Kowsky), Sam Waterston (Le Clerq), Franklyn Ajaye (Edmund), Richard Daughty (Andy), Norman Matlock (John)

By Rob Nixon
Sweet Revenge

Sweet Revenge

By all indications, this should have been a fairly successful movie. Director Jerry Schatzberg came to the project with critical acclaim for his earlier movies The Panic in Needle Park (1971) and Scarecrow (1973), both starring Al Pacino. The cinematography was by Academy Award winner Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977). And its leading players, Stockard Channing and Sam Waterston, while not that well known at the time, have become through the years two of the most respected actors in film, television, and theater. But the picture labored under some confusion over exactly what it was meant to be. Starting with the title: Is it Sweet Revenge (by which it's now mostly known) or the oddly whimsical Dandy, the All-American Girl (used for some releases and reviews)? Is it a comedy, which was how it was marketed - and perhaps conceived - or a darker, very 70s character study, more in line with Schatzberg's gritty early dramas? And is it meant to elicit sympathy for its eccentric heroine or is she ultimately as off-putting to audiences as she is to the public defender who tries to help her? Channing plays Vurrla Kowsky, who uses the name "Dandy," among other aliases (maybe because her real full name sounds like only a surname). She supports herself by stealing cars and reselling them with the goal of one day having enough money to buy a Ferrari. Waterston is the attorney who does his best to get this suspicious, dishonest outsider adjusted to mainstream society. Franklyn Ajaye, who appeared around this time in Car Wash (1976) and more recently Bridesmaids (2011), plays Vurrla's fellow small-time crook friend who drives a pimped out car he calls "Sweet Revenge" (hence the title, but why?). Despite a high skill level at work here, as expected from those involved, the film was given only a short, limited release, and few reviewers even had the chance to see it. Vincent Canby of the New York Times didn't get around to critiquing it until 1981 and, while not totally panning the film, deemed it "unsure of itself." On the other hand, it was nominated for a Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1976, most likely on the strength of Schatzberg, who won the award three years earlier for Scarecrow. While it was certainly no boost for the careers of its two leads, the film's failure was only a temporary setback for them. Waterston had already received good notices for his role opposite Katharine Hepburn in the TV version of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie (1973) and as Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby (1974). He followed this with a key role in Woody Allen's Interiors (1978) and work that brought him an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar nomination for The Killing Fields (1984). Channing scored as a rebellious teen (at the age of 34) in the musical Grease (1978) and has had numerous choice roles in the years since. She received an Academy Award nomination for Six Degrees of Separation (1993), a role she had created on stage to much acclaim. Director: Jerry Schatzberg Producer: B.J. Perla (associate) Screenplay: B.J. Perla, Marilyn Goldin, Jor Van Kline; story by B.J. Perla Cinematography: Vilmos Zsigmond Editing: Richard Fetterman, Evan A. Lottman Art Direction: Bill Kenney Music: Paul Chihara Cast: Stockard Channing (Vurrla Kowsky), Sam Waterston (Le Clerq), Franklyn Ajaye (Edmund), Richard Daughty (Andy), Norman Matlock (John) By Rob Nixon

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Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1976

Released in United States 1976