What makes "Fugitive Girls" interesting is that it was the late-great cult film figure Ed Wood's last stab at cinema respectibilty. Virtually all of Wood's films from the late 1960s until his death in 1978 were either grindhouse pre-hard-core adult films or hard-core XXXs. In fact, Wood made several porn films with AC Stephens (Stephen Apostolof).
But "Fugitive Girls' was the exception, and because of Wood's participation, it's worth hunting done. It's an R-rated drive-in special, complete with lots of bouncing breasts, unnecessary disrobing and a few scenes of soft-core above-the-waste sex. The budget is minimal; the women's prison looks like a summer girl's camp. There are night/day continuity problems (a problem with all Wood films) and the leads playing the Fugitive Girls were chosen for the lack of inhibitions, rather than talent, but Wood's contributions provide that uniqueness that is Wood. His films may be inept and inadvertently amusing, but they are not derivative.
The plot: A young lovely is betrayed by her boyfriend, who turns out to be an armed robber. She's unlucky enough to be with him when he robs a liquor store and kills the clerk. She's shipped off to prison and bullied by her cell dorm mates who include her in their escape plans. Once the fugitive girls escape, they're off and running from the cops in search of hidden robbery loot and fighting, harassing and terrorizing hippies, a disabled man and his wife, bikers, a garage attendant, and various travelers.
Wood, who was always a talented actor, plays three roles in the film. He's Pops, a moronic service station employee (He gets billing for that role). He also plays -- unbilled -- the sheriff, and is one of the voices heard outside the liquor store robbery/murder. Wood also wrote the screenplay and is listed, under the name "Dick Trent," as the assistant director. Personally, I think Wood did most of the directing.
There is one great Woodian touch in "Fugitive Girls." One scene, where the women terrorize a rich wheelchair-bound man and his wife and sexually assault the wife, is -- incredibly -- an homage to Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange." You gotta admire Wood's indefatigable persistence. Here he is; involved with a low-budget cheapie one step above porn/grindhouse, and he cares enough to forever associate "Fugitive Girls" with "A Clockwork Orange!" What a guy Mr. Wood was!
Another Woodian touch is the final scene where "bad girl" "Toni" (Rene Bond) seems to run forever trying to escape the sheriff and one slow, fat deputy who literally tiptoe slowly after her. Despite the non-progress, the two law enforcement officers easily catch up with Bond. It makes no sense, but it's a lot of fun. The late Bond, who has become a cult figure, is the only fugitive woman worth mentioning. She was a bubbly brunette who had "girl next door" looks. She appeared in hundreds of films, in roles ranging from loops, extra walk-ons and starring roles. Mst of her films were porn, which is sort of a shame, because she could act. Wood, by the way, is by far the best actor in "Fugitive Girls." Watching him is a reminder that he might have had a decent career as a character actor had he not been an unreliable alcoholic. Had "Fugitive Girls" been made a decade later, all the leads (other than the "good girl," might have been sympathetic anti-heroes, but this was the early '70s, and crime still didn't pay for women in 1974 cinema.