Mother, Jugs & Speed (1976)

PG | 98 mins | Comedy | 1976

Director:

Peter Yates

Writer:

Tom Mankiewicz

Cinematographer:

Ralph Woolsey

Editor:

Frank P. Keller

Production Designer:

Walter Scott Herndon

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

As stated in the film, the exterior location of the F&B Ambulance Service was at 425 Rose Avenue in Venice, CA.
       Several songs not mentioned in the credits appear on the soundtrack album, including: "Star In My Life," written by Steve Marriott and Ian Wallace, performed by Steve Marriott; "Show Me The Way," written and performed by Peter Frampton; "My Soul Is A Witness," written by Billy Preston and Joe Greene, performed by Billy Preston; "Thunder Thumbs and Lightnin' Licks," written by George Johnson, Louis Johnson, Paul Riser and Dave Grusin, performed by The Brothers Johnson; "Get The Funk Out Ma Face," written by Quincy Jones, George Johnson and Louis Johnson, performed by The Brothers Johnson; "Mellow Out," written by Larry Carlton, performed by The Crusaders. Also in the film: "The Mexican Shuffle," written by Sol Lake, performed by Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass. This list is not comprehensive.
       A news item in the 21 Jun 1975 Box reported that director-producer Peter Yates had “set up headquarters” at Twentieth Century-Fox Studios to begin pre-production on Mother, Jugs and Speed. The 28 Jul 1975 LAHExam announced that principal photography would begin in mid-Sep 1975. According to the article, Yates was encountering difficulty in casting the role of “Speed,“ a character requiring looks and comic ability in equal proportions. Yates planned to stage wilder chase scenes in Los Angeles, CA for the film than those he staged in San Francisco, CA for Bullitt (1968, see entry).
       In a 20 Aug 1975 LAT interview, Yates stated his intention to film in several Los Angeles ... More Less

As stated in the film, the exterior location of the F&B Ambulance Service was at 425 Rose Avenue in Venice, CA.
       Several songs not mentioned in the credits appear on the soundtrack album, including: "Star In My Life," written by Steve Marriott and Ian Wallace, performed by Steve Marriott; "Show Me The Way," written and performed by Peter Frampton; "My Soul Is A Witness," written by Billy Preston and Joe Greene, performed by Billy Preston; "Thunder Thumbs and Lightnin' Licks," written by George Johnson, Louis Johnson, Paul Riser and Dave Grusin, performed by The Brothers Johnson; "Get The Funk Out Ma Face," written by Quincy Jones, George Johnson and Louis Johnson, performed by The Brothers Johnson; "Mellow Out," written by Larry Carlton, performed by The Crusaders. Also in the film: "The Mexican Shuffle," written by Sol Lake, performed by Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass. This list is not comprehensive.
       A news item in the 21 Jun 1975 Box reported that director-producer Peter Yates had “set up headquarters” at Twentieth Century-Fox Studios to begin pre-production on Mother, Jugs and Speed. The 28 Jul 1975 LAHExam announced that principal photography would begin in mid-Sep 1975. According to the article, Yates was encountering difficulty in casting the role of “Speed,“ a character requiring looks and comic ability in equal proportions. Yates planned to stage wilder chase scenes in Los Angeles, CA for the film than those he staged in San Francisco, CA for Bullitt (1968, see entry).
       In a 20 Aug 1975 LAT interview, Yates stated his intention to film in several Los Angeles neighborhoods that had, to that time, received little, if any, consideration for film and television production, including Inglewood, Venice and the vicinity of the Los Angeles International Airport. Although Yates described the film’s budget as modest without specifying the amount, he cited the range of $6 million.
       The 2 Oct 1975 HR and the 27 Oct 1975 Box announced that filming began on 13 Oct 1975.
       A news item in the 15 Oct 1975 DV reported the casting of former wrestling champion Tiger Joe Marsh in the role of wrestling entrepreneur “The Greek Tornado.” Marsh’s appearance in the final edit has not been determined.
       Mother, Jugs and Speed opened to unenthusiastic reviews, with the 27 May 1976 NYT, the 18 May 1976 HR, the 17 May 1976 DV, and the 26 May 1976 LAHExam comparing it unfavorably to Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H (1970, see entry). Several reviews, including the HR, DV, LAHExam, and the 7 Jun 1976 Newsweek, commended Raquel Welch on her performance. The 26 May 1976 LAT gave positive mention to actors L. Q. Jones, Dick Butkus, Bill Henderson and Arnold Williams, but considered Harvey Keitel to be “hopelessly miscast,” as did the HR review.
       A television pilot loosely based on the film, titled Mother, Juggs and Speed, aired in 1978. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Jul 1975.
---
Box Office
27 Oct 1975.
---
Daily Variety
15 Oct 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 1976
pp. 3-4.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
28 Jul 1975.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
26 May 1976.
---
Los Angeles Times
20 Aug 1975
p. 16, section IV.
Los Angeles Times
28 Dec 1975
p. 35.
Los Angeles Times
26 May 1976
p. 14, section IV.
New York Times
27 May 1976.
---
Newsweek
7 Jun 1976.
---
Variety
19 May 1976
p. 19.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Yates/Mankiewicz Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Key grip
Gaffer
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus ed
Music score prod
With the mus participation of
With the mus participation of
With the mus participation of
With the mus participation of
With the mus participation of
With the mus participation of
With the mus participation of
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title design and graphics
Spec eff
Titles and opt
MAKEUP
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Tech adv
STAND INS
Stunt coord
SOURCES
MUSIC
"No Love Today," music by Roger Nichols, lyrics by Will Jennings, performed by Michelle Phillips, arranged and adapted by Gene Page
"Dance," music and lyrics by Paul Jabara, performed by Paul Jabara.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Mother, Jugs and Speed
Release Date:
1976
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York opening: 26 May 1976
Production Date:
began 13 October 1975
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
26 May 1976
Copyright Number:
LP46178
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
Color by Deluxe®
Widescreen/ratio
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
98
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Harry Fishbine, owner of the F&B Ambulance Company, gives a pep talk to his drivers, stressing that the misfortunes of others are worth $42.50 each, plus fifty cents per mile. He also alerts them to the ever-present menace of their rival, Unity Ambulance. Jennifer Jurgens, the switchboard operator, nicknamed “Jugs” by the divers, interrupts to notify the group of a woman in labor. Orlin “Mother” Tucker and his partner, Leroy Watkins, respond to the call, speeding through the streets of West Los Angeles, California. Meanwhile, drivers John Murdoch and Walker transport a female wrestler with a fractured hip, who puts Murdoch in a headlock for fondling her “coccyl joint.” Later, Mother and Leroy are asked to remove the body of an overdose victim. They contact the Sheriff’s Department to issue a death certificate, then leave on another call. When they return to the scene, Albert, a driver for Unity Ambulance, tries to collect the body, but Mother stops his rival by flattening two of his tires. While assisting Murdoch in carrying an overweight woman on a gurney down a flight of stairs, Walker breaks his leg and contracts rabies when one of the stairs collapses and he is bitten by a rat. As the helpless woman careens down the street, Murdoch begs for somebody to call an ambulance. Elsewhere in the city, Mother drives through a crosswalk with his siren blaring, causing a group of nuns to scatter. He believes it gives the women a thrill, despite reprimands from Harry, the Mother Superior and the Monsignor. At the office, Jugs rejects Murdoch’s latest advance, while applicant Anthony ... +


Harry Fishbine, owner of the F&B Ambulance Company, gives a pep talk to his drivers, stressing that the misfortunes of others are worth $42.50 each, plus fifty cents per mile. He also alerts them to the ever-present menace of their rival, Unity Ambulance. Jennifer Jurgens, the switchboard operator, nicknamed “Jugs” by the divers, interrupts to notify the group of a woman in labor. Orlin “Mother” Tucker and his partner, Leroy Watkins, respond to the call, speeding through the streets of West Los Angeles, California. Meanwhile, drivers John Murdoch and Walker transport a female wrestler with a fractured hip, who puts Murdoch in a headlock for fondling her “coccyl joint.” Later, Mother and Leroy are asked to remove the body of an overdose victim. They contact the Sheriff’s Department to issue a death certificate, then leave on another call. When they return to the scene, Albert, a driver for Unity Ambulance, tries to collect the body, but Mother stops his rival by flattening two of his tires. While assisting Murdoch in carrying an overweight woman on a gurney down a flight of stairs, Walker breaks his leg and contracts rabies when one of the stairs collapses and he is bitten by a rat. As the helpless woman careens down the street, Murdoch begs for somebody to call an ambulance. Elsewhere in the city, Mother drives through a crosswalk with his siren blaring, causing a group of nuns to scatter. He believes it gives the women a thrill, despite reprimands from Harry, the Mother Superior and the Monsignor. At the office, Jugs rejects Murdoch’s latest advance, while applicant Anthony “Tony” Malatesta waits to be interviewed by Harry, who is on the phone, threatening to sue the landlord responsible for Walker’s condition. Mother enters, followed by attorney “Whiplash” Moran. Harry offers Moran two prospective clients: the female wrestler, and a woman whose hand was caught in a garbage disposal. Moran and Mother discuss Tony, speculating that he might be a policeman, a criminal, or both. The interview reveals Tony to be a policeman who has been suspended while under investigation for selling cocaine, but his experience as an ambulance driver during the Vietnam War persuades Harry to give Tony the job. On their first call, Tony and Murdoch attend to Mr. Klein, an elderly invalid. Murdoch speaks flippantly of Klein’s imminent demise in front of the old man, who dies within seconds. Later, Murdoch and his colleagues, Bliss and Rodeo, bet on how many corpses they will bring in before midnight, which Tony finds morbid. Tony encounters Jugs in a bar across the street and laments the charges he is facing, but Jugs believes he is innocent until proven guilty. She tells Tony that she hates her nickname, and that Murdoch “couldn’t get laid in a whorehouse with a one-hundred-dollar bill sticking out of his ear.” Later, Murdoch attempts to rape an unconscious female patient, causing Tony to stop the ambulance and threaten him with physical violence. Meanwhile, Leroy is killed by a crazed woman with a shotgun, causing Mother to retaliate with a .357 Magnum. When the deputies arrive, the woman turns the gun on herself. Mother faces arrest for carrying a firearm in his ambulance, but Deputy Davey chooses to ignore the offense. Back at the office, Murdoch declares himself winner of the lottery, with eight corpses collected, not counting Leroy’s. Mother enters the room drunk while Murdoch and Bliss argue over whether or not Leroy’s body should be included. Murdoch offers the money to Mother, who proceeds to beat him mercilessly. The next day, Harry pairs Mother with Tony, who has acquired the nickname “Speed” because of the drug charges against him. Mother opposes working with a beginner, but Harry gives him no choice. Moments later, Jugs announces that she is now a certified Emergency Medical Technician, and wants to become a driver. When Harry refuses, Jugs defies him by driving off in an ambulance, unaware that Speed is asleep in the back. She tries to outrun a police car, which catches up to her at a parking garage as she pretends to treat a heavily bandaged Speed. Afterward, Jugs and Speed drive to the beach and make love in the ambulance. The following day, Mother and Speed assist a head injury victim at a golf course, but lose the patient to Albert, who deflates two of his rival’s tires as an act of retaliation. In Harry’s office, Jugs threatens to bring a discrimination suit against F&B. At Mother’s urging, Harry agrees to promote Jugs, but the driver is outraged when she is assigned to his ambulance. On her first call, Jugs is assigned by Mother to extricate a man’s penis from his pants’ zipper. That evening, Jugs and Tony deliver a baby while Mother relaxes in a massage parlor. However, the mother bleeds to death before they reach the hospital. Both are despondent the following morning, but Mother reminds them that no one could have saved the woman under those circumstances. Later, the F&B staff gathers at City Hall, where the city council will decide whether F&B or Unity is awarded a city contract. The council spokesman, Mr. Warren, considers both companies inadequate, so neither will get the contract. However, Unity owner Charles Taylor offers to merge the two companies, and Warren finds the deal acceptable. While Harry demands to retain the F&B name, which stands for “Fish” and “Bine,” Taylor offers that “Unity” is more appropriate. An emergency at F&B brings a premature end to the hearing, as drivers from both companies respond to the call. A drunken Murdoch holds Harry’s wife, Naomi, at gunpoint, while an equally intoxicated Walker starts a small fire with a cigar. The ambulances arrive, along with several deputies. When Murdoch sees Mother and Speed, he fires through their windshield, hitting Speed in the arm. Murdoch continues to fire, and by the time he is face-to-face with Mother, the gun is empty. Deputy Harvey shoots Murdoch in the back and kills him. Later, the two companies settle on the name, “F&U.” Speed has been reinstated as a detective, and he gives Jugs the keys to his apartment. Mother declines an offer to team up with Albert, explaining that he has “one of the finest shotgun riders in the business.” In the ambulance, Jugs demands to be called by her real name, while Mother harasses the nuns at a crosswalk. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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