Early Days: Part Two

Blaxploitation As you probably know, I likes me a bit of blaxploitation, even though much of it was an unashamed rip-off of whatever whitey was up to. Westerns, horror, crime, comedies… the blacks always had some sort of crappy facsimile to hand as typified by the likes of Blacula and Black Shampoo. Well, everyone’s gotta […]

Blaxploitation #7: Trick Baby (1972)

Film Title

Trick Baby

Synopsis

Two con men stumble upon the chance of a big pay day

Director

Larry Yust

Cast

Kiel Martin
Mel Stewart
Vernee Watson
Dallas Edward-Hayes
Beverly Ballard

What the hell are these cats up to? White Folks (Martin) and Blue Howard (Stewart) are two Philadelphian hustlers. Blue’s black and a lot older, having taught Folks the tricks of the trade. I guess it’s important to know Folks is a trick baby, the product of a brief (and no doubt delightful) union between […]

Blaxploitation #6: The Black Gestapo (1975)

Film Title

Black Gestapo

Synopsis

Don’t be silly/Be a Smarty/Come and join/The black Nazi Party

Director

Lee Frost

Cast

Rod Perry
Charles P. Robinson
Phil Hoover
Wes Bishop
Ed Cross
Angela Brent

What the hell are these cats up to? Rape and castration, mainly. General Ahmed (Perry) has started an inner-city People’s Army in south LA to improve everyday black life and tackle pressing issues like drug addiction. However, he runs into big trouble with the Mob, leading him to grant permission for his deputy Colonel Kojah […]

Blaxploitation #5: Three the Hard Way (1974)

Film Title

Three The Hard Way

Synopsis

White supremacy, black coolness and red berets

Director

Gordon Parks Jr.

Cast

Fred Williamson
Jim Brown
Jim Kelly
Jay Robinson
Sheila Frazier

What the hell are these cats up to? After watching this mess, I only have the vaguest of ideas. I think there are three black dudes (Williamson, Brown and Kelly), who somehow know each other, and they team up to tackle a white supremacist’s genocidal plan to poison the water supply so that only the […]

Blaxploitation #4: Boss Nigger (1975)

Film Title

Boss Nigger

Synopsis

Blazing Saddles pretty much played straight

Director

Jack Arnold

Cast

Fred Williamson
D'Urville Martin
R.G. Armstrong
William Smith
Carmen Hayworth
Barbara Leigh

What the hell are these cats up to? Two fearsome bounty hunters Boss (Williamson) and Amos (Martin), who kill up to five outlaws at a time, take a break from their day job to forcibly outwit the piss-weak, double-dealing mayor of San Miguel and become the law. As you can imagine, the vast majority of […]

Blaxploitation #3: Black Caesar (1973)

Film Title

Black Caesar

Synopsis

An ex-shoeshine boy takes on the Mob in Harlem

Director

Larry Cohen

Cast

Fred Williamson
Gloria Hendry
Art Lund
D'Urville Martin

What the hell are these cats up to? After a stretch in prison, Tommy Gibbs (Williamson) plans to take over his Mafia-run neighborhood and show whitey how it’s done. Do I dig the threads? Given it’s mostly set in 1965, a heartbeat before everything went to sartorial shit, yes. Tommy favors sharp suits and a […]

Blaxploitation #2: Mandingo (1975)

Film Title

Mandingo

Synopsis

Let the good times roll in the Antebellum South

Director

Richard Fleischer

Cast

James Mason
Perry King
Susan George
Richard Ward
Ken Norton
Brenda Sykes

What the hell are these cats up to? Falconhurst is a dilapidated plantation run by the tyrannical aging widower, Warren Maxwell (Mason), and his limping son, Hammond (King). Their slaves try to stay alive under an increasingly unstable regime, often being forced into impossible choices. Into this toxic mix comes Hammond’s new wife, the drunken, […]