THE MAD BOMBER (aka The Police Connection) (1973)
Director: Bert I. Gordon
Starring: Chuck Connors (William Dorn), Vince Edwards (Lt. Geronimo Minneli), Neville Brand (George Fromley)
Music: Michel Mention
Viewed: Streaming, Amazon Prime
Transfer Quality: Good
It’s people like you who make our world filthy my friend. You’re a pig.
Bert I. Gordon’s (Necromancy, Food of the Gods) film opens with a cool street shot of early 70s LA and a very Lurch-esque Chuck Connors (yes, The Rifleman) storming down the boulevard, physically confronting a litterer, and setting him straight with this line. Connors pulls off a masterful performance here as William Dorn, the Mad Bomber…the sociopath you just can’t help but fall in love with. You’ll immediately notice how much Connor’s Dorn must have been an influence on Michael Douglas in Joel Schumacher’s 1993 film, Falling Down. Similar to Douglas’ character, you can’t help but gleefully live through Dorn as he confronts purveyors of society’s ills with a puritanical and righteous insanity. Whether he’s taking a Porsche owner’s keys (albeit a 914) and depositing them in a nearby mailbox, laying into the supermarket clerk for denying him the sale price on a can of peaches, or kicking a couple street toughs’ asses when they try to mug him for his grocery bag, he’s every man’s hero. Only problem is, that grocery bag always has a bomb in it.
As with most films I love, the coolest thing about this movie is how it outdoes itself with ridiculousness at every turn. It’s the kind of infectious insanity that makes you just want to believe it could all be possible. Like when Dorn returns home from his litter policing, grabs an already ticking alarm clock (out of a cupboard full of them, haha) and throws together a bomb in 30 seconds with some sticks of dynamite he just leaves laying around on his kitchen table…all while eating a donut. Or, when he steals a bright yellow motorcycle with a sidecar from some hippies to make a bomb run. On top of all this, he’s gotta be the most conspicuous guy in LA. I mean, look at that picture. Yet, he still manages to elude suspicion.
The true stroke of ludicrous genius in the plot of this film is that the only one who can ID the bomber is a serial rapist who just happens to see Dorn bringing a bomb into a hospital while he’s busy attacking a woman in a storage closet. This sets off an almost transcendental assault on reason that involves Lieutenant Geronimo Minneli (Vince Edwards…you know, Dr. Ben Casey!), an overzealous cop armed with a police super computer who enlists an army of scantily clad policewomen to roam the streets “just asking to be raped” in order to net the witness. Two interesting facts learned from these sequences: First, circa 1973 the LAPD had a seemingly unlimited supply of hot young female officers. Second, if you were a male out after dark in LA in 1973, you were most definitely a rapist. Every woman they put out on the streets gets attacked in matter of seconds as the cops scoop up the suspects. Naturally, none of the creeps they catch the first night match, so they have to do it again a second night. Eventually they get their man, the cool, calm, collected, and sexually twisted dude, George Fromley, quite brilliantly portrayed by Neville Brand. All of this culminates in an amazing composite drawing scene where the sketch artist produces a photo quality rendering of the bomber from Fromley’s hazy description. It’s just undescribably good.
Ok, I’ve spoiled enough of this for you already. It’s a must-see in my opinion.
Plus, the ending is a real BLAST! Har har… (DC)
NW: Nate Wilson DC: Devon Cahill MA: Matt Average