A federal agent whose daughter dies of a heroin overdose is determined to destroy the drug ring that supplied her. He recruits various people whose lives have been torn apart by the drug ... See full summary »
Sidney J. Furie
Billy Dee Williams,
The Westernized grandson of a shaman returns to the wilderness to learn more about his Native American heritage. When he encounters powerful evil spirits, he enlists the aid of his lover and a local chief to stop the spirits.
Chief Dan George
Tracy, an aspiring designer from the slums of Chicago puts herself through fashion school in the hopes of becoming one of the world's top designers. Her ambition leads her to Rome spurring ... See full summary »
In contrast to most of the violence-laden "blaxploitation" films of the period, this low-budget effort eschews exploitation for humanity and domestic drama. Leonard Jackson plays a barber ... See full summary »
Two peasants from Transylvania go to America in order to meet their brother who had left Romania ten years earlier. They meet a prophet in the American state of Utah and eventually help the... See full summary »
Ovidiu Iulian Moldovan,
An ambitious lab assistant carries out a forbidden experiment and accidentally creates a deadly bacteria which kills her and rapidly engulfs the city. The authorities order a curtain of ... See full summary »
An American actress inherits a castle in Transylvania. What she doesn't know is that her ancestor, the Baroness Catali, was in actuality a vampire countess, and emerges from her tomb to ravage the nearby village and Catholic seminary.
Far more than the majority of exploitation-oriented releases that defined "blaxploitation," this 1972 is inspired by the prior "Sweet Sweetback" in its flashback structure and overt Black Power agenda. It's not primarily about violence and T&A, though there's some of both. Billy Dee Williams (in a role strikingly different to his in "Lady Sings the Blues" that same year) plays an angry young man gradually radicalized by racial injustices, leading to his being besieged by police as a Panthers-type leader in the present-tense framing sequences.
"Final Comedown" is no zenith of the cinematic arts--it's dated and crude at times. But it also makes an effort not to be cartoonish: There are scenes in which some white people (notably a Jewish couple, an employment-office secretary, and some SDS types) are outraged by the racism of other white people. There are also scenes that rather charmingly exist just to promote local (I'm presuming L.A.) black-owned businesses, a diner and Africanist clothes store included.
The film touches on a lot of then (still?) relevant points, from Vietnam War post-traumatic stress to drug addiction. It's not subtle or slick, but it really tries to articulate all complicated causes for Black Power rage, not just exploit them as a trendy attitude a la Superfly, Slaughter, Shaft, Rudy Ray Moore (much as I love that guy!), etc. Some eventual cruel ironies are well-judged, though it must be said the overall narrative shaping as well as the huge death-toll shootout sequences are pretty clumsy.
This isn't exactly a good film, but it reflects its precise cultural moment in ways more mainstream films seldom did/do. Despite all rough edges it's a more complicated and intelligent narrative airing of U.S. racial tensions circa 1972 than many better-known films. In that sense it's the antithesis of the terrific current parody "Black Dynamite," which made fun of the period's tritest "blaxploitation" films. This one isn't laughable--it's a serious statement. (Though the major histrionics by veteran actress Maidie Norman as Williams' mother are pretty humorous.)
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