Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bette Davis & Ernest Borgnine in Bunny O'Hare 1971

This is turning into a bit of a Bette Davis week. I was surprised to find Bunny O'Hare on the American Life Network last night. American Life Network is one of those life style channels way up in the hundreds. Oddly enough it's pitched to a largely conservative audience, but features very campy content on a regular basis - they used to have both Rhoda and Phyllis on every day at 5 and 5:30. So I was surprised, but not overly so to find this super campy, obscure film on.

Bunny O'Hare is one of those films by the establishment about the counter culture of the 70's. Bette Davis and Ernest Borgnine rob banks. They're dress up like hippies, ride a motorcycle and make away with the loot all to support Bunny's (Davis) ungrateful children (John Astin and Reva Rose) whose money grubbing ways have lead to Bunny's house being foreclosed on. The bank tears down the house and she meets Bill Green (Borgnine) in the melee as he's trying to salvage the plumbing. Meanwhile Lieutenant Greely (Jack Cassidy) is trying to solve the crime. He's more than ready to believe that it's being perpetrated by hippies so he brings in a young officer (Joan Delaney) to help him understand the "radical anarchists".  It would be a rip roaring good time if it had been directed more swiftly, but thanks to Davis and Borgnine there's some charm to be had.

This was another one of those lost films that was practically unavailable anywhere until it was picked up by Netflix as a Watch Instantly title. It's not on DVD and there is no video on YouTube. The movie poster above is available at

Obscurity factor: 8 (only available on Netflix)


  1. I watched this last night, via Netflix streaming. It was better than I expected it to be. This was one of the few late-career Bette Davis movies that I never saw. Based on the premise of Ms. Davis and Ernest Borgnine dressed as hippies and riding around on a motorcycle robbing banks, I was expecting this to be jaw-droppingly embarrassing. However, it was not. I liked Ms. Davis' character from the start. She was sympathetic, and it was good to see her in this period of her career not playing someone demented or venal or whatnot. And even though she was dressed very simply, and made to look kind of like a dishrag, I thought she looked rather pretty with a simple hairstyle and little makeup. When she was in hippie garb, it was not what I expected. I guess because she was wearing a big, floppy hat and big sunglasses, aside from her nose and mouth you would not know it was Bette Davis under there. It was not like Carol Channing in the final scene of "Skidoo," which is another story altogether! There were no production values to speak of, and it has the look of an episode of a TV show of the time. I liked the way the two leads relationship developed. All-in-all, it held my attention and I enjoyed it. It is by no means a particularly good movie, but it is not the disaster that I was expecting. Plus, it is always good to see Reva Rose in one of her infrequent movie and TV roles. I liked her ever since hearing her on the "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" cast album. She's also terrific in "If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium."

  2. I agree about Reva Rose. She's such a fun character actress and we really didn't see enough of her.

  3. This movie was filmed in my state, beautiful New Mexico, and it was fun seeing the scenery and the scenes filmed near recognizable courthouses, small towns, and in long-gone or radically changed malls.

  4. It's always fun to see places you know in films. I've had that experience many times - I live in New York.