Ace Atkins

New York Times Best Selling Author

Southern-Fried Action

Even bloggers need a vacation. And after two months on the road to promote Infamous, I definitely needed a break. But now I’m back with a few updates and a new post. In the news, Infamous was just picked as a Summer Must-Read by the Chicago Tribune — a huge honor. And G.P. Putnam’s Sons has announced my next novel — #9 — will be out next spring . . . more details on that later. I appreciate all the emails I’ve gotten about Infamous and all my books in the last few months. There is much more to come . . .

(a continuing series on great Southern action films of the 1970s)

I’ve never been a fan of movies like Steel Magnolias or Sweet Home Alabama. If you think those films reflect the real South or that’s the South you want to see, read no further.

I’ll take a solid trucker movie or a good shot-em-up of the 1970s anytime. These films have often been called Hixsploitation films after the Blacksploitation Films — like Shaft, Superfly — of the same time period. But I’d like to define the genre a little more and call them Southern-Fried Action.

The movies can be about truckers, outlaws, defiant swamp girls but must be made in the 1970s and contain a strong element of crime. They most often star the legendary Burt Reynolds or the late Jerry Reed — Reed himself took the lead in a fine Southern Fried Action with High Ballin’ co-starring Peter Fonda. My favorite female lead would be the gorgeous Claudia Jennings, who although not Southern, looked better than anyone in a pair of Daisy Dukes shooting guns or blowing up the law.

Some of my favorites Southern Fried classics include: White Lightning, Smokey and the Bandit (the king of ’em all), Dynamite Women and Moonrunners . . . a film that introduced us to the Duke boys and Uncle Jessie before the hugely successful television show.

These kind of movies would inspire a kid of this period to play with a lot of cars and trucks in the dirt and take some pride that the South was once again a cool place to call home. 

Some say the genre exploded under Burt Reynolds and died a hard death with the release of Stroker Ace. But we’ll always have Burt looking at the camera while hiding from the law, giving that shit-eating grin to the audience, and kicking that Trans Am into gear.

More on these films in the next post. And please let me know any films I’ve left out.

— Ace

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