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I saw this film when it was released in 1977. At first, I, like many of my African-American friends thought it would be either just another "blaxploitation" film, or just as a showcase for Gladys Knight and the Pips video album. This second idea was closer to the truth except that I don't recall any of the songs from the soundtrack getting any radio play. Many of my friends erroneously misnamed the film "Pips' Dreams".
The plot, as I recall, was rather thin, and thinly veiled as justification of the burgeoning expense of building the pipeline across the Alaskan tundra. It started with Barry Hankerson playing an African-American bush pilot who had flown spotter duty in Viet Nam ferrying prostitutes in and out of remote stations along the pipeline route. He has his problems with funding a new airline for his own purposes and remarries his estranged wife (Gladys Knight's "Maria") who suddenly appears in time to see Hankerson's high jinks with Altovise Davis' character. Cut to the chase and the bad guys who are trying to sabotage the pipeline effort to slow it down and increase the vice-racket profits get their comeuppance, thanks in part to Hankerson's help, and all ends well. It surprises me to know that this low-budget effort with the meandering plot received even one Golden Globe nomination. The acting, including Gladys' stunted grief upon hearing of her dad's demise, was deplorable on all sides. The only saving grace is the fantastic snowscapes of the winter Alaskan mountains. But that is one black man's opinion.
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