6.9/10
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12 user 10 critic

Trick Baby (1972)

Two Phildelphia con men try to evade gangsters they have conned and cops who are trying to put them in jail.

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Writers:

(novel) (as Iceberg Slim), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
White Folks
...
Blue Howard
Dallas Edward Hayes ...
Dot Murray
Beverly Ballard ...
Susan
...
Cleo Howard (as Vernee Watson-Johnson)
Donald Symington ...
Morrison
...
Phillips
Thomas Anderson ...
Felix the Fixer (as Tom Anderson)
Clebert Ford ...
Josephus
Fuddle Bagley ...
Percy
...
Melvin the Pimp
Tony Mazzadra ...
Nino Parelli
David Thomas ...
Frascatti
Jim King ...
Duke
Anthony Charnota ...
Bobby
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Storyline

Two Phildelphia con men try to evade gangsters they have conned and cops who are trying to put them in jail.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Shake hands with "Folks" and "Blue." And then count your fingers! See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 November 1973 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

The Double Con  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kiel Martin did all of his own running in the foot chase sequence. See more »

Goofs

When Blue looks out the window & sees the cop walking into the building, it's still daylight. When the camera moves to street level with the cop, it's suddenly nighttime. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dead Teenagers (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

A very good film about the merits and the risks of lying
12 March 2003 | by (Zurich, Switzerland) – See all my reviews

Frankly, this film bowled me over. Do not think of blaxploitation but of one of David Mamet's better movies or Federico Fellini's "Il Bidone". It is perfect in every sense of the word. A good, concise story, thrilling from the first second to the tragic ending, unforgettable dialogue, artful location shooting in Philadelphia, interesting editing, fabulous performances by largely unknown actors and a character that should enter the annals of great screen heroes: The hustler and compulsive liar Blue Howard, brilliantly played by Mel Stewart (actors got Oscar nominated for less).

Trick Baby starts with a beautifully minimalistic setting - a stage really for a con trick: In a dreary hotel room that has seen better days, Blue, an elderly African American, prepares the setting (screwing off light bulbs, distributing full ash trays). Then he receives his young partner White Folks ("he ain't white, he just looks it", insists Blue) who accompanies an old white man. Blue plays the part of a hard pressured hustler who has some stones to sell, White Folks the part of the tough guy representing a possible buyer, keeping the price low by menacing behaviour. The old white man falls for it and buys the stones - actually junk - for 10000 dollars.

Luck begins to change soon after that, and Blue and White Folks have to use their talents to keep alive. This does not prevent them from pulling a few con tricks in between. It is convincingly shown that they are actually addicted to it and instinctively spot a good opportunity every other minute. Lying by telling stories that are untrue is presented as an art form and as a strategy to get some meaning out of life. This is done in a moving way and less sarcastically than Mamet usually does. Blue does not hesitate to tell a preacher spontaneously an elaborate story about a fugitive from Down South he has to rescue in order to get the preacher's help - and you can observe how the desparate Blue draws life force from his very telling this lie (you need a lot of acting talent to convey this).

Although Blue and White Folks operate as a pair, Blue is the main character of Trick Baby. He is the leader of the team. He shows fatherly feelings towards his young partner who Blues claims is the son of a black mother. Blue feels responsible for White Folks when things turn ugly. It is Blue who tries to rescue White Folks who got wounded. He cons himself into an optimistic mood up to the tragic end of the movie and does not give up until his heart stops beating - which makes Blue Howard a hero in a twisted sort of way.


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