5.5/10
60
5 user

The Big Black Pill (1981)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | TV Movie 29 January 1981
Joe Dancer is a private detective working in LA. He's given a big money case by Tiffany Farinpour, one of the Farinpour family who include powerful politicians. Tiffany needs Joe to find ... See full summary »

Director:

Reza Badiyi

Writers:

Robert Blake (creator), Michael Butler
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Blake ... Joe Dancer
JoBeth Williams ... Tiffany Farrenpour
Neva Patterson ... Eliza Farinpour
James Gammon ... Captain Jake Jacqualone
Veronica Cartwright ... Sister Theresa
Carol Wayne ... Allegra Farinpour
Edward Winter ... Jerrold Farinpour
Phillip R. Allen ... Commissioner Wilkie
Sondra Blake ... Charlie
Eileen Heckart ... Sister Clara
Wilford Brimley ... Wally Haskell
Kevyn Major Howard ... David Farinpour
Kenneth Tigar ... Trotter
Bubba Smith ... Big Foot
Robert Phillips ... Little Al
Edit

Storyline

Joe Dancer is a private detective working in LA. He's given a big money case by Tiffany Farinpour, one of the Farinpour family who include powerful politicians. Tiffany needs Joe to find her younger brother David who has left the family under a cloud. However in trying to find David Joe is warned off by several thugs before finally finding David in a small town just trying to live a quiet life. Seconds later David is killed by a hidden assassin and Joe finds all evidence of his life in the town has been erased and Joe is facing a murder charge. With the clock ticking Joe must find the killer in a plot that involves danger and deep family secrets. Written by Paul Hunter aka "Bob the Moo"

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 January 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Joe Dancer See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmways Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

One long Bogart impression
10 December 2001 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Joe dancer is a private detective working in LA. He's given a big money case by Tiffany Farinpour, one of the Farinpour family who include powerful politicians. Tiffany needs Joe to find her younger brother David who has left the family under a cloud. However in trying to find David Joe is warned off by several thugs before finally finding David in a small town just trying to live a quiet life. Seconds later David is killed by a hidden assassin and Joe finds all evidence of his life in the town has been erased and Joe is facing a murder charge. With the clock ticking Joe must find the killer in a plot that involves danger and deep family secrets.

The story here wants to be really shady and deep, but it doesn't totally make it. There's some mystery along the way but the final twists are clear once the plot starts to come together. The sense of deep family secrets isn't convincing - this is a TV movie after all, how dark can it be? However, even when the plot is being a good crime thriller it becomes lazy in it's solutions. At some points I was grabbed by the plot - who was the killer? who wanted David dead? but then at key moments the answers come too easy - the killer cleans up all bullet casings and remove David's possessions but leaves his prescription glasses at the scene, in another Joe walks for miles only to find the exact spot a gunman had stood. Things like this (and there's several) let the whole film down and make you forget the build-up and only remember the rubbish answers.

Another problem is Robert Blake he so clearly wants to Humphrey Bogart that he created this character to let him get close to those hard-boiled detective roles that Bogart played so well (Dancer even points out that he has all Bogart's films on tape at home). At one point in the film one character says "we don't have to say anything stupid like in the movies do we?", but the problem is we do - the whole film consists of poor dialogue, mostly delivered by Blake. The worst element of his Bogart impression is his voice over/narration - it's terrible. While Bogart's voiceovers usually gave an insight into his mind and feelings, Blake's treats us like children, walking us through the plot and the clues, not allowing us to work things out for ourselves. In some cases whole scenes are narrated with the action happening silently underneath. It makes this feel cheap with the Bogart-isms forced to breaking point.

The performances are not great - no one really stands out. The only actor that caught my eye was Bubba Smith but only because he later found "fame" as Hightower in the Police Academy films. Overall the performances were as good as the material required.

Overall a good plot that is spoilt by some lazy solutions and a terrible Bogart impression by Robert Blake.


2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 5 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed