Blaxploitation on DVD

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LightBulbFilm
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#26 Post by LightBulbFilm » Wed Apr 12, 2006 1:55 pm

solaris72 wrote:
LightBulbFilm wrote:First title there was a film made in Italy, with Italian money, with an Italian director... That's one HELL of a wholey American film.
OK, if we go by your logic that the defining film for a genre is the one that's highest rated on IMDb, then for blaxploitation that's Othello, el comando negro, which was shot in Spain and France with a French director.
LightBulbFilm wrote:Westerns are myths
The same can be said of films like Sweet Sweetback's Baad Asssss Song, Shaft, etc.
Good, rebuttle. But then, neither of us can say either genre is wholey American.

filmfan
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#27 Post by filmfan » Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:11 pm

LightBulbFilm wrote:
solaris72 wrote:
LightBulbFilm wrote:First title there was a film made in Italy, with Italian money, with an Italian director... That's one HELL of a wholey American film.
OK, if we go by your logic that the defining film for a genre is the one that's highest rated on IMDb, then for blaxploitation that's Othello, el comando negro, which was shot in Spain and France with a French director.
LightBulbFilm wrote:Westerns are myths
The same can be said of films like Sweet Sweetback's Baad Asssss Song, Shaft, etc.
Good, rebuttle. But then, neither of us can say either genre is wholey American.
Well, it ain't Scandanavian !

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Rufus T. Firefly
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#28 Post by Rufus T. Firefly » Thu Apr 13, 2006 6:14 am

filmfan wrote:I think one could go so far to say that it is probably the MOST wholely American of ANY of the film genres.

I think this would perhaps firmly establish it's "importance" to film lovers, and give it the respect to the "critics" and those who write about Film.
Unfortunately, it's not enough to say even this to take these films seriously to most people.

Our collective critical standards for Film takes in things like quality of production, acting, etc. and face it, this genre not up to what our collective critical standards usually are for other films...but therein lies it's charm, right ?
Don't get me wrong, I like blaxploitation and have all of the MGM Pam Grier DVDs in my collection. But to suggest that these films had a profound impact on cinema and "Civil Rights in media" is blatantly excessive. In American cinema, perhaps, but outside the US? I doubt it.

BTW for any Sydneysiders interested in picking up some of these titles, last time I was in Birdland (the jazz store) they had a selection of reasonably priced R1 titles in the Soul Cinema series. About $25 each.

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david hare
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#29 Post by david hare » Thu Apr 13, 2006 6:29 am

La RUFE!!!

do they have Mandingo???? (never on DVD and only one 35mm extant print in the world, etc..)

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Rufus T. Firefly
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#30 Post by Rufus T. Firefly » Mon Apr 17, 2006 12:01 am

davidhare wrote:do they have Mandingo????
They didn't, but they did have Dolemite.

filmfan
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#31 Post by filmfan » Mon Apr 17, 2006 4:30 am

There was an official Dolomyte dvd box set. I will have to dig mine out to give you the details !

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#32 Post by filmfan » Mon Apr 17, 2006 4:52 am

Rufus T. Firefly wrote:
filmfan wrote:I think one could go so far to say that it is probably the MOST wholely American of ANY of the film genres.

I think this would perhaps firmly establish it's "importance" to film lovers, and give it the respect to the "critics" and those who write about Film.
Unfortunately, it's not enough to say even this to take these films seriously to most people.

Our collective critical standards for Film takes in things like quality of production, acting, etc. and face it, this genre not up to what our collective critical standards usually are for other films...but therein lies it's charm, right ?
Don't get me wrong, I like blaxploitation and have all of the MGM Pam Grier DVDs in my collection. But to suggest that these films had a profound impact on cinema and "Civil Rights in media" is blatantly excessive. In American cinema, perhaps, but outside the US? I doubt it.

BTW for any Sydneysiders interested in picking up some of these titles, last time I was in Birdland (the jazz store) they had a selection of reasonably priced R1 titles in the Soul Cinema series. About $25 each.


In this instance, the statement that was made by the production of these films was that a segment of the a country's people was recognized as existing and a part of it's national character, story telling and popular culture.

The impact that was made was sizable, extremely profound, and still continues to be profound today.

I don't think that recognizing that an ethnic culture exists, is being excessive or a wholely American experience.

siberry
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#33 Post by siberry » Mon Apr 17, 2006 5:42 am

What about Putney Swope? Forthcoming from Image (Aug 2006). Henry Louis Gates has called it the first blaxploitation film.

According to IMDB, Mel Brooks in Putney Swope is different person than that Mel Brooks.

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HerrSchreck
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#34 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Jun 11, 2006 4:29 am

SUPER FLY is an excellent-- stacked with nice extras-- disc. Curtis Mayfield one deep motherfucker, I always loved the soundtrack. One movie I simply cannot believe wasn't mentioned on this thread is the supreme god of the black/ghetto/early 70's Harlem crime dramas:

ACROSS 110TH STREET. This film is the deepest, treat-with-respect-the-plight-of (and honor among)-the-most-desperate-violent-characters piece of cinema, filled with location shooting all over the old unrenovated collapsing Harlem (ancient tenement storefronts covered in blood red hi-gloss and green hi-gloss paint... candy stores with the crank-out green canvas awnings beneath signs with the giant antiquated pepsi & 7Up bottle caps & Breyers Ice cream logos... phone booths that you could walk into & close) with a very young Yaffet Koto and a nicely scuzzy Anthony Quinn as a sleazeball cop with no self-esteem as he's deep on the take and therefore owned by the street. Legendary film and perhaps the king of them all.

For fun nothing tops my childhood fave, COOLEY HIGH. Dry run for WHAT'S HAPPENING TV show, which I loved too as a kid.

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manicsounds
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#35 Post by manicsounds » Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:41 am

What's Happening was awesome when i was young. a little stale as of now, but I have the sets as of memories. some good stuff.

anyway,
since MGM will have Fox distribute their line, I do hope in somehow, that Fox might do some nice things with their Soul Cinema line, although I doubt it.

But wouldnt it be nice? Across 110th Street 2 disc SE?

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HerrSchreck
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#36 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:52 am

manic have you ever seen COOLEY HIGH the template for What's Happening?

110th STREET 2-discer? One dare not dream that high and far. Would be too good. The world is a hard place for righteous outlaws...

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kinjitsu
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#37 Post by kinjitsu » Sun Jun 11, 2006 10:16 am

siberry wrote:What about Putney Swope? ... Henry Louis Gates has called it the first blaxploitation film.

Whether or not Putney Swope was the first blaxploitation film is certainly debatable, but it definitely was one of the most radical. Although I always felt badly for Arnie Johnson because Downey dubbed Johnson's voice with his own, claiming that Johnson's voice wasn't black enough, which is pure BS!

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Cold Bishop
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#38 Post by Cold Bishop » Sun Jun 11, 2006 6:20 pm

One film not mentioned here is Gordon's War, directed by the late, great Ossie Davis. Also, one of the prototypical of the genre. It involves a man who comes back from Vietnam, and finds that his brother has overdosed on drugs. He gathers his former Vietnam buddies, and wages a war against the pushers and the Mob. One of the great serious blaxploitation films.

Speaking of Ossie Davis, he also directed the great blaxploitation action comedy Cotton Comes To Harlem, another of the standout of the genre.

There's also Black Belt Jones, which is one of the best "cult" films you'll ever see. It has none other than Jim Kelly as the lead. One film I've never managed to see is Three The Hard Way which has a Blaxploitation cast to die for: Jim Kelly, Jim Brown, and Fred Williamsion, all in a ridicilous plot against a white supremacy group in Los Angeles

The Mack, and Truck Turner are also two great films that have yet to be mentioned.

Also, is there no love for I'm Gonna Git You, Sucka!, the Blaxploitation spoof that laid the groundwork for what became In Living Color. One of the key films in kicking off the Black Cinema movement of the 90's (along with She's Gotta Have It and Hollywood Shuffle), and of the funniest films of the 80s.

As for the aforementioned Across 110th Street: Great film, but I was dissapointed to see the Soul Cinema version was cut of one scene, despite the original cut recieving an R rating upon release.

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HerrSchreck
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#39 Post by HerrSchreck » Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:33 am

Cold Bishop wrote: As for the aforementioned Across 110th Street: Great film, but I was dissapointed to see the Soul Cinema version was cut of one scene, despite the original cut recieving an R rating upon release.
I was disaapointed to see it even being placed in the Soul Cinema category, leading it even further into obscurity -- whereas this fucking thing is about as heavy as an early 70's straight up urban crime drama along the lines of FRENCH CONNECTION (or THE 7-UPS, which I think gets it's ass kicked all over the street by this film) can be. It lacks the comedic comic relief presence of ghetto-clown types and exaggerated characters in general of blaxploitation. The film is just a very heavy crime drama about some very desperate dudes with balls made of wrought-iron who just happen to be black, against a backdrop that happens to be Harlem.

It's just a really great film, and I say that unabashedly. It doesn't try to aspire to art film status, doesn't have minutely rehearsed stunt setpieces: ACROSS 110th STREET is just a slam-the-works-down-on-the-table-and-roll-up-your-sleeves shot from the heart dedicated to seriously pissed-off/hurting dudes on the street with wounded pride, tottering near desperation. It seperates the men from the boys in criticland, then as well as now.

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#40 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:36 am

HerrSchreck wrote:ACROSS 110TH STREET. This film is the deepest, treat-with-respect-the-plight-of (and honor among)-the-most-desperate-violent-characters piece of cinema, filled with location shooting all over the old unrenovated collapsing Harlem (ancient tenement storefronts covered in blood red hi-gloss and green hi-gloss paint... candy stores with the crank-out green canvas awnings beneath signs with the giant antiquated pepsi & 7Up bottle caps & Breyers Ice cream logos... phone booths that you could walk into & close) with a very young Yaffet Koto and a nicely scuzzy Anthony Quinn as a sleazeball cop with no self-esteem as he's deep on the take and therefore owned by the street. Legendary film and perhaps the king of them all.
Ah, that's a wonderfully evocative description of this movie... i love it! Yeah, it's a great one, alright. I dig Yaphet Kotto -- he's the man. Also, the soundtrack for Across is killer!

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Cold Bishop
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#41 Post by Cold Bishop » Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:17 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:
Cold Bishop wrote: As for the aforementioned Across 110th Street: Great film, but I was dissapointed to see the Soul Cinema version was cut of one scene, despite the original cut recieving an R rating upon release.
I was disaapointed to see it even being placed in the Soul Cinema category, leading it even further into obscurity -- whereas this fucking thing is about as heavy as an early 70's straight up urban crime drama along the lines of FRENCH CONNECTION (or THE 7-UPS, which I think gets it's ass kicked all over the street by this film) can be. It lacks the comedic comic relief presence of ghetto-clown types and exaggerated characters in general of blaxploitation.
In some respect, thats true, but who says a Blaxploitation film can't be "heavy". Ultimately, the title Blaxploitation doesn't literally stick, but that title has pretty much gone from describing the actually exploitative features, to encompassing all urban african-american-based films from the era.

There are plenty of title in which the "xploitation" title doesn't do the film justice, but ultimately, you have to accept that lot of films are gonna fall into that category.

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Polybius
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#42 Post by Polybius » Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:27 am

Cold Bishop wrote: Also, is there no love for I'm Gonna Git You, Sucka!, the Blaxploitation spoof that laid the groundwork for what became In Living Color. One of the key films in kicking off the Black Cinema movement of the 90's (along with She's Gotta Have It and Hollywood Shuffle), and of the funniest films of the 80s.
Right here 8-)

I actually just watched this again a few nights ago. Hard to decide what the funniest scene is. For me, it's always a tie between the one where John Slade goes to Hammer and Slammer's rib place and recruits them for the effort to bring down Mr. Big (Jim Brown's Slammer: "What the fuck. I ain't killed nobody in a looooong time...") and the awesome scene where Fly Guy gets out of prison after a decade behind bars and finds out that his circa 1974 pimp gear isn't quite so stylish anymore. (I love the background voices. "Saaaay brother...you been shoppin' at the Goodwill?") :lol:

A great example, (along with The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai and Big Trouble in Little China) of an affectionate parody that spoofs aspects of a particular genre but also has a lot of love for them, as well. (All of which stands in marked contrast to those dreadfully stale movies with Leslie Nielsen and the Wayans Bros' own subsequent descent into cheap laff-a-minute stuff like the Scary Movie series.)

Additionally, I rank Cooley High right next to American Graffitti. Make what you will out of that comparison.

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HerrSchreck
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#43 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:06 pm

Polybius wrote: Additionally, I rank Cooley High right next to American Graffitti. Make what you will out of that comparison.
It's described as such right on the back of my old VHS box. With the music & the nostalgia, and the treating of the characters as real folks in the end, it pretty much reached for that appellation. Personally I like it alot more than GRAFITTI. Maybe due to the fact that, despite being white, my growing up on the streets of the Bronx Ny in the 70's & 80's more closely resembled the COOLEY HIGh world than GRAF, which admittedly catered to a preceding generation.. even though the COOLEY gen preceded mine, too.

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HerrSchreck
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#44 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:19 pm

Cold Bishop wrote: In some respect, thats true, but who says a Blaxploitation film can't be "heavy". Ultimately, the title Blaxploitation doesn't literally stick, but that title has pretty much gone from describing the actually exploitative features, to encompassing all urban african-american-based films from the era.

There are plenty of title in which the "xploitation" title doesn't do the film justice, but ultimately, you have to accept that lot of films are gonna fall into that category.
Who ever said Blax can't be heavy? I said 110 avoids the appellation due to the lack of exaggeration and clownish comicky characters.

While you're right it's not the only victim of this misnomer-- in fact every film is exploitation, though not always necessarily in the derogatory sense of the word-- one can and should refuse to accept an assignation applied by marketing bubbleheads who these days often know very little of the product theyre boxing up for retail, in the hope that in the future the film gets a more appropriate presentation. Only by doing so will one raise from the ashes of unjust relegation & obscurity those films which have been overlooked by the mainstream for the fine films they are. Only by doing so will the distributors conduct interviews, provide commentaries, restore scenes, and give them the treatment they deserve.

I find very little Blax in SUPER FLY for that matter.

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#45 Post by Soothsayer » Wed Jun 21, 2006 10:10 am

I really want Black Belt Jones on dvd....

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HerrSchreck
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#46 Post by HerrSchreck » Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:27 am

We need more posts from you sooth.. staring at your avatar my head starts flopping sparks out onto the table. It's excellent.

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Polybius
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#47 Post by Polybius » Wed Jun 21, 2006 6:12 pm

The Moonites are pure entertainment 8-)

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feihong
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Cotton Comes to Harlem, Blaxsploitation DVDs in general

#48 Post by feihong » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:43 pm

Shed a tear last night watching the Oscars when cult movie ham Calvin Lockhart was featured amongst those passed away this year. I took out my MGM R1 DVD of Cotton Comes to Harlem to reminisce.

And it hit me just how cruelly this DVD was dumped on us. Why wasn't it widescreen anamorphic, like Black Caesar and Hell Up in Harlem? How come is was FULLFRAME, with a little "formatted for your TV" logo on the box? How come the sequel was left in limbo, never to be released?

Does anyone know if there are any other region options for this movie, or for Blaxsploitation films in general? I don't think they're ever going to release most of the films on DVD. No Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold, no Superfly T.N.T., no Three the Hard Way! No Hit Man, with Bernie Casey! No good release of T.N.T. Jackson! This sux.

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der_Artur
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Re: Cotton Comes to Harlem, Blaxsploitation DVDs in general

#49 Post by der_Artur » Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:14 pm

feihong wrote:...No Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold...
At least if you are bound to region 1 DVDs.

Jameson281
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Re: Cotton Comes to Harlem, Blaxsploitation DVDs in general

#50 Post by Jameson281 » Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:24 am

feihong wrote:And it hit me just how cruelly this DVD was dumped on us. Why wasn't it widescreen anamorphic, like Black Caesar and Hell Up in Harlem? How come is was FULLFRAME, with a little "formatted for your TV" logo on the box? How come the sequel was left in limbo, never to be released?
COTTON COMES TO HARLEM was fullscreen because that was the only transfer MGM had at the time, and home video marketing didn't want to spend money on a remaster. For BLACK CAESAR and HELL UP IN HARLEM, anamorphic widescreen transfers had already been made when the films were being remastered for TV. MGM doesn't have rights to the COTTON sequel, so it would be up to another label to release that one.

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