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Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes (1974)

A numbers king pin tries to stay in business as the mafia and police close in around him.


Bill Brame


Howard Ransom (original story), Elizabeth Ransom (original story) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank DeKova ... Big Tony (as Frank deKova)
Paul Harris ... Pasha
Frances E. Williams Frances E. Williams ... Mama Lottie (as Frances Williams)
Reginald Farmer Reginald Farmer ... Sweetman
Don Edmondson Don Edmondson ... Serene (as Tawny Tan)
Larry Greene Larry Greene ... Jimmie Rush
Ernie Lee Banks ... DuDirty (as Ernie Banks)
Karmello Brooks Karmello Brooks ... Romaine
Henry G. Sanders ... Sam Kingston (as Henry Sanders)
Pat Edwards Pat Edwards ... Pearl
Terry Ransom Terry Ransom ... Little Billy Jones
Curtis Price Curtis Price ... Nathan Jones
Onezene 'Ben' Geyen Onezene 'Ben' Geyen ... Reverend Axle
Ronald Ransom Ronald Ransom ... Gambler
Cal Wilson Cal Wilson ... Young Dude


It's a turf battle over the mean streets of Harlem between Italian mobsters and the black hoodlums living in the neighborhood run by "Big Tony" (Frank DeKove). The fighting becomes intense as each side tries to push the other out, with both groups bringing in their best hit men. Watch for a brutal transvestite mobster who kills with her high-heeled shoes. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


7 Seven, Come Eleven 11 See more »


Crime | Thriller



Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Minnie Summers Lindsey's debut. See more »


Set in 1956, yet 1970s vehicles are visible throughout the film. See more »


Big Tony: What are we going to do to settle this mess, anyway? The Chicago bosses are tired of waiting. I'm tired, you're tired. What's the solution?
Pasha: I thought perhaps you might have some ideas. You Italians were always better at that kind of thinking than us poor colored folks.
Big Tony: [chuckling] you're too much. You know, if you knew what I was thinking right now... I've hated you for a long, long time, Hakim and right now at this moment I've got you right here in my hand. I could kill you, you know that. I ...
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Crazy Credits

Just before the end credits, superimposed on the freeze frame of a dead man, three letters flash in succession: THE - DEAD - END. See more »


Featured in Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 4 (1997) See more »

User Reviews

Italian and black mobsters battle for control over Harlem in this blacksploitation flick.
11 December 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

In the early 1970s, one of the most profitable genres in films were the Blacksploitation movies. Some were made by major studios and featured excellent actors and scripts. Most were made by tiny studios and with second-rate acting, scripts and effects. Regardless, they all were quite entertaining and watching new black heroes and anti-heroes fighting 'the man' was quite enjoyable...especially for audiences not used to seeing their race winning against the traditional white establishment. Considering the cultural and political climate at the time, it's easy to see why these films were wildly successful.

"Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes" ("Jive Turkey") is one of those movies in the second group--very low budget and not particularly polished. Most of the cast are obviously not experienced actors and the production values are not great--especially since the film is supposed to be set in 1956 but looks mostly like 1974! It was obviously made on the cheap and has a homemade quality about it. But despite its shortcomings, is it any good?

Paul Harris stars as Pasha...the black mob boss who controls Harlem. However, the white mobsters are looking to push into his territory and eventually you know it's going to erupt into an all-out war with Big Tony (Frank DeKova). Up until then, there is a lot of nudity, prepping for war and jive talk from the brothers...as well as the cops, who are ALWAYS working for the man, rousting the folks of Harlem and putting a cramp on Pasha's style...and man, does he have style!

The acting ranges from decent to terrible in this film. Blame the budget for this. But it is entertaining and never is dull-- especially when the trans assassin beats her johns to death with her high heels! And, like most of the blacksploitation pics, this one is very adult...with ample boobage, cursing, extreme violence (at a much higher level than usual for these films) and incredibly politically incorrect language!

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Release Date:

November 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jive Turkey See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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