Common Law Wife is a 1963 American exploitation film shot in Texas, directed by Larry Buchanan.

Shug, a rich old man, has been living with his mistress Linda for five years. He kicks her out and replaces her with his niece, Baby Doll, a former stripper in New Orleans.

  • Annabelle Weenick as Linda
  • George Edgley as Shugfoot Rainey
  • Max W. Anderson
  • Lacey Kelly as Baby Doll

The film began as a movie called Swamp Rose made in 1960 by low-budget director Larry Buchanan. The existing footage was sold to producer Michael A. Rapps who hired Eric Sayers to shoot new footage and changed the title to Common Law Wife.

Buchanan later said the film began “as an artistically inclined, naturalistic romance, shooting in 16MM color around Caddo Lake. But the sleaze merchants got hold of it blew it up to 35MM in black and white, and changed the title… The delicacy of our photography was lost and so were any serious intentions we might have had for the film.”

In The Films of Larry Buchanan: A Critical Examination, Rob Craig points out, “Ripps and company decided to retain the main character from Buchanan’s opus, but replace the actress who played her. Thus, the lead character in this disorienting backwoods fable changes indiscriminately from one person to another, in some cases quite obviously, lending the finished product a certain schizophrenic air. As one might imagine, Common Law Wife comes across as a choppy and confusing experience, which is not helped by the fact that a great deal of the footage seems to have been shot silent and overdubbed hastily afterwards.”

Psychotronic Video wrote called it “similar in some ways to the rural dramas Russ Meyer was about to make, with good dialog (written in this case by a woman), but minus the comedy”. 


black & white, mono, fullscreen, runs 76 minutes. DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic!















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