Friday, April 30, 2010

Big Bad Mama - a toupological analysis.

Big Bad Mama is a 1974 low-budget exploitation movie starring Angie Dickinson, William Shatner and Tom Skerrit. It was produced by Roger Corman (who directed William Shatner in 1962's The Intruder) and is set in Depression-era America, telling the story of a mother and her two nubile daughters who reject a conventional life and instead hit the road, embarking on a huge and very brazen robbery spree.

Along the way, they pick up a bank robber (played by Skerrit) and the gambler William J. Baxter (played by Shatner).

Skerrit proceeds to bed all three of the girls.

While Bill Shatner only gets one - Wilma, played by Angie Dickinson. His description of filming his famous (or infamous) nude scene can be read in Up Till Now.

Though Bill Shatner's character certainly wishes for more...

The exploits of the gang of five become more and more audacious.

The name of the game is Fizzbin.

Ending with a bungled kidnapping and extortion attempt.

As with Bonnie and Clyde (with a slight twist of Easy Rider) it all ends with...

...a shootout.

What to make of a movie like this? The tone is that of a Benny Hill-esque parody all set to contemporary-era music. is almost split 50-50 in terms of positive-negative reviews as are other review sites. The movie is perhaps best described as a silly romp, not to be taken seriously. Some may like it, others may think it an ultimately unrewarding experience.

Bill Shatner only appears in the second-half of the movie, and affects an interesting southern accent.

Now, to the hair...

Bill Shatner's hair here is very much of the 1973-74 curious piece variety, as seen in movies such as Impulse and Pray for the Wildcats.

It is probably the least flattering toupee-era of the actor's entire career (or was it the "T.J."?). Perhaps thankfully, the actor spends much of the movie in a hat, and generally resembles his mobster-persona in the Star Trek episode "A Piece of the Action".

Toupological moments center around various ruffling of the hair induced by Newtonian principles.

There are quite a large number of these in the movie.

Here's a clip with a couple more ruffle moments:

There are more of these during the character's death at the end.

Big Bad Mama is available on DVD - neither great, nor awful - somewhere inbetween.


  1. The toupee is not that bad if you compare with others of the Lost Years period. Anyway, Bill has no great screen time here.

  2. Yeah, I think the main reason why both his Lost Years and TJ Curly looks are considered so fascinating (and so awfully bad) is because his frontal hairline is often concealed, or when it's shown, it looks obviously fake.

    Up to that point in the mid 1970's, he had spent much of the previous 15-20 or so years with various kinds of studio-quality lace-front toupees, which required lots of care, but looked fairly real, at least on screen.

  3. This is one of my all time favorite bad movies. No matter how often I watch it, I find new things to laugh about. Check out the nude scene for a certain amount of anatomical wishful thinking on Shatner's part. :)

  4. You see a nude Bill, but not a bald Bill..

  5. More about this Bill´s pearl here:

  6. Man...think of how unsatisfied or unhappy The Shat was in the seventies, in order to have to deal with so bad rugs...I imagine the ammount of relief the plugs finally gave him! God bless those plugs!

  7. Long Live The Shat (and his toupees/plugs)!!!!