Bonnie's Kids


1h 45m 1972

Brief Synopsis

Sisters Myra and Ellie have finally had enough of their miserable, dead-end lives. When their step-father Charley (The Bonnie from the title being long dead) tried to rape Myra, Ellie ventilates him with a shotgun, and the pair run off to their wealthy uncle's mansion in El Paso. From that point on, the two undergo a transformation in their personalities, and start to enjoy living their lives on the wild side.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Sep 1972
Premiere Information
World premiere in Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX: 26 Jul 1972
Production Company
F & F Productions; G & S Productions; Tommy-J. Productions
Distribution Company
General Film Corporation
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Synopsis

Myra Thomas, a motherless, worldy-wise teenager, flirts with the poker buddies of her stepfather Charley, prompting them to admire the teenager lasciviously and ask Charley how he keeps his hands off Myra and her twenty-four-year-old sister Ellie. After the game, Charley, drunk and furious about losing, throws out the other men, who stop to watch Myra undress in front of her open window. As Charley continues to drink, he grows more and more inflamed at the thought of his stepdaughter, and eventually slaps her and calls her a tramp. When she calls him a jealous, dirty old man in return, Charley punches Myra and throws her on his bed. He falls on her, but just then Ellie walks in and warns him to back off. Charley says she knows as well as he does that Myra is "no good," like their mother, causing Myra to cower in fear that her sister will take Charley's side, but instead Ellie levels a shotgun at him and shoots. Together the sisters drag the body to the underground shed, then drive off in Charley's pickup. With nowhere else to go, they visit their only known relative, wealthy magazine publisher Ben Seamon, their late mother's brother. Ben ushers them in and, promising to look after them, takes them to his mansion in the country. His lonely wife Diana welcomes the girls warmly and takes Myra, who feigns innocence and sweetness, under her wing. Ben, who is secretly a racketeer and hopes to enlist Ellie into his business, offers her a chance to model for the magazine. He then sends his shady associates, Eddy Toland and Digger Brown, to hire obtuse private investigator Larry Evans to pick up a package for them in Desert Springs. Diana grows closer to Myra, thrilled to take care of the girl in return for companionship, and when Ellie discerns that Myra has stolen Diana's watch, she chastises her for risking their newfound security. Digger and Eddy soon burst into Larry's home and demand that he leave immediately for Desert Springs, where he is to meet the twelve o'clock bus every day, ask for a package in Digger's name and, when it arrives, drop it at the Oasis Hotel. As Myra tells her pet mouse that Diana is probably just another pervert, Ben kisses his wife, but she turns him down and calls him crude, after which he chokes her and declares that she belongs to him. Later, Ben asks Ellie to pick up a package for him in Desert Springs. With no other choice, she agrees, despite his lecherous tone. At the desert hotel, Ellie calls Myra to remind her to behave, not realizing that Myra is at that moment in bed with the groom, Harry. After meeting the bus the first day but learning no package has yet arrived, Larry sees Ellie sunbathing and, noticing that her room key corresponds with the room at which he is supposed to drop the package, introduces himself. She accompanies him to dinner, where he drunkenly reveals everything about himself, after which she brings him back to her room and seduces him. The next day, they go together to meet the bus. In the station, traveling salesman Frank McGuire flirts with Ellie and invites her to ride with him. Meanwhile, the police find Charley's body and search for Ellie and Myra to question them about the murder. Learning that the police are looking for them, a panicked Myra calls Ellie, who tells her to keep her "mouth shut" and "play dumb." Instead, Myra tells Diana that the murder was Ellie's idea and that Charley abused her, prompting Diana to promise to help. Meanwhile, Ellie coerces Larry into opening the package, which contains about $400,000 in cash. Larry wants to reseal the box immediately, but Ellie convinces him that the money represents their chance to run away together. They send the box to El Paso and race away in her convertible, and within hours, Digger and Eddy are tracking them. Although the men learn that the package has been shipped, Eddy assumes that this is a trick. After Ellie calls Myra to instruct her to meet them in El Paso Friday night, Myra immediately spurns Diana and takes cash from her purse. Diana refuses to let her go, threatening to call the police in order to protect Myra, but the girl responds that she will claim that Diana abused her, and calls her a "dyke." As Myra packs, Diana shoots herself in the head. At the same time, Ellie's convertible breaks down, and although Larry is increasingly fearful, Ellie blithely orders him to rent a new car. They then register at a hotel in Larry's name, allowing Eddy and Digger to track them. Their room is occupied by a newlywed couple, so Larry and Ellie take another room, where Larry urges Ellie to be more careful, but she responds that there is no way they can be found. The next morning, however, they learn that the newlyweds have been shot, and deduce that the bullets were meant for them. As Ellie and Larry race to leave the hotel, Eddy and Digger discover from a news report that they have killed the wrong people. On the way out of the hotel, Ellie spots Frank and asks him to give them a ride. In his car, Frank reveals that he is a gun salesman. They stop at a diner, where Larry, drunk and angry, storms off. As soon as he is gone, Ellie tells Frank that Larry is going to kill her and begs him to take her away, promising he will not be sorry. When they reach the car, however, Frank cannot find his keys, giving Larry enough time to spot them. Larry attacks Frank and, upon throwing him to the ground, kills him accidentally. They take his car and run, not realizing that the store owner has written down the car's license plate number. Larry stops the car off the road and takes Ellie's money and one of Frank's guns. He informs Ellie that he plans to pick up the package, drive back roads to Las Vegas and then fly to Mexico. Ellie lies that she tried to run away only because she is "dumb and scared" and that she will never again betray him, and although he does not trust her, he kisses her. Driving on, they are pulled over by a policeman, and when he prepares to arrest them, Ellie shoots him. As the policeman falls, his gun fires, hitting Larry in his side. A hysterical Ellie drives to a drug store to buy bandages for Larry, not realizing that Eddy happens to be there. He sees her and follows the car. Ellie drives onto a sand road, telling Larry that she plans to bandage him at a nearby lake. He collapses and asks her to find a doctor but Ellie refuses, urging him to hold on. Just then, they see Eddy and Digger approaching. As the two thugs walk toward them, Larry struggles to his feet, drops the gun and tries to reason with them. He promises them the money, but they shoot and kill him, then shoot down Ellie when she tries to run. Later, Myra awaits her sister in the El Paso airport. Digger and Eddy arrive there to pick up the money and, not realizing who she is, admire her legs. As the men drive off, Myra accepts a ride with another man.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Sep 1972
Premiere Information
World premiere in Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX: 26 Jul 1972
Production Company
F & F Productions; G & S Productions; Tommy-J. Productions
Distribution Company
General Film Corporation
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Robin Mattson's opening credit reads "Introducing," but she had previously appeared in Namu, the Killer Whale (1966, see below). The executive producer credit reads: "William Silberkleit, Tommy-J Productions." Arthur Marks's opening credit reads: "Written and directed by." Although onscreen credits include a 1972 copyright statement for Tommy-J. Productions, the film was not registered for copyright. According to a March 1972 Hollywood Reporter news item, Bonnie's Kids was shot on location in Arizona. The film marked the feature film debut of Sharon Gless, who went on to play "Chris Cagney" in Cagney and Lacey, which ran on CBS television from 1982-1988. Writer-director Marks was the president of the film's distribution company, General Film Corporation. During the scene in which "Ellie Thomas" asks "Frank McGuire" to spirit her away, he describes the plot of the 1944 film Double Indemnity (see below), in which a femme fatale convinces her lover to kill her husband.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1973

Released in United States on Video October 28, 1987

Released in United States 1973

Released in United States on Video October 28, 1987