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David E. Durston
Harvey J. Goldenberg
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This movie is badly written, badly acted (with the exception of Philip Michael Thomas) and badly directed, and is the kind of garbage you'd ordinarily stop watching after about twenty minutes, if not sooner ... and yet it's oddly compelling. Perhaps this is in part because it seems unable to make up its mind what sort of movie it's going to be. It starts as a comedy, and is actually pretty funny; there are further comic elements dropped in willy nilly later. Then it becomes an anti-racist/bigotry statement, and again this isn't badly done. Then it dithers with the notion of being a soft-porn movie but rejects it in favour of being (a) a sort of Public Services drama-documentary, a Dreadful Warning about syphilis, and (b) a thriller. This constant change of focus means you're forever guessing, so that your interest is kept -- however reluctantly -- alive.
Thomas is a doctor who's been incarcerated for performing an abortion that went wrong. A distinguished old doctor, now working in a remote community, hires him straight out of the pen, but by the time Thomas gets there the old doctor has dropped dead of a heart attack, leaving behind him cryptic references to a dreadful plague that's affecting the community. That community, led by a corrupt, bully-boy sheriff, is racially bigoted; Thomas is of course black, and is subjected to racist slurs and threatened beatings -- lucky for him that he's befriended local boy dreamboat hero Harlan Cary Poe while hitchhiking to the place. There's a mystery to be solved, and sure enough Thomas reveals the rot at the core of this community.
All rather a matter of: Been there, done that, got the teeshirt -- although in this movie, if young and female, it's more a case of took off the teeshirt.
By any objective standard this movie is dire. But you might find that, paradoxically, it's one you're loath to lose from your collection.
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