Hell’s Belles (1969)

69-04-29 Hell's Belles

HELL’S BELLES (29 April 1969)
Directed by Maury Dexter (Surf Party, Wild On The Beach); written by James Gordon White (The Glory Stompers) and Robert McMullen; cinematographer, Ken Peach; produced by Mr. Dexter; released by American International Pictures. Running time: 95 minutes.
Dan . . . . . Jeremy Slate
Tampa . . . . . Adam Roarke
Cathy . . . . . Jocelyn Lane
Cherry . . . . . Angelique Pettyjohn
Rabbit . . . . . Jerry Brutsche
Barney . . . . . Ronnie Dayton

Turner Classic Movies: Tony steals the new motorcycle that Dan Holt has just won in a desert endurance race, and Tampa, a rough road character, steals the motorcycle from Tony. Dan chases Tampa and his gang into the Arizona hills, but he is outnumbered and knocked unconscious in a fight. Dan regains consciousness and discovers that Tampa has left behind Cathy, a cast-off gang girl, as a trade for the motorcycle. Dan learns from Cathy that the gang is heading for the Mexican border; in pursuit, they ride into Lawton and find that the gang has burned down a gasoline station and enraged the citizens. Escaping from Lawton, Dan and Cathy ride into the desert and soon locate the gang’s temporary camp. Dan picks off the men one by one, knocking two off their motorcycles with a rope stretched across the road and throwing one into a snakepit. He takes the body of the snake-bitten man and rides defiantly with it into Tampa’s camp. He offers to stop the ambush in exchange for his motorcycle, but Tampa refuses, causing his men to desert him. The two men fight it out alone with chains, and Dan breaks Tampa’s shoulder and recovers his motorcycle. Cathy decides to remain with Tampa, and Dan rides for home to sell the bike and use the money to make a down payment on a small ranch.

The New York Times: April 30, 1970

THAT minuscule subdivision of our youth, the mobile mobsters who reportedly dote as much on mayhem as they do on roaring motorcycles, get ample opportunity to display inane, destructive madness in “Cycle Savages” and “Hell’s Belles,” which crashed into local houses yesterday. They explosively finish in a dead heat as the season’s most witless assaults on both credibility and the ears and eyes.

Is there a difference between these entries? Only in locale, basically. “Hell’s Belles,” operating in mountainous Arizona, involves Jeremy Slate as an improbable cowboy cycle champ in a one-man vendetta against an outlaw cycle pack who’ve stolen his prize bike. There are fewer beatings in this number, and perhaps the scenery is a mite prettier in color, but a fairly sane viewer gets the feeling, even as our hero varooms into the sunset on his retrieved bike, that only devout worshipers of violence and, say, Harley Davidsons, would give a fouled spark plug for either “Hell’s Belles” or “Cycle Savages.”