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Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Organization (1971)


After a group of young revolutionaries break into a corporation's headquarters and steal $5,000,000 worth of heroin to keep it off the street, they call on San Francisco Police Lieutenant Virgil Tibbs for assistance. Though sympathetic to their cause, the straight-arrow Tibbs refuses to consider it because they broke the law, but when the group is then accused of a murder it didn't commit, Tibbs finally joins them in order to ferret out the identity of the real killer, while keeping his now rogue undercover investigation a secret from his SFPD superiors.

The McMasters (1970)


When Benjie, a black man who fought in the Civil War, returns to the southern town of Ironside, his return is not exactly a welcome one. The citizens are already uptight about the color of his skin...but the fact that he fought for the Union Army and still wears his uniform is all that is needed for hatred and violence to be fanned by an ex-Confederate soldier named Colby. Benjie's one true friend turns out to be Neal McMasters, the rancher who raised Benjie and is now offering him a half-share in the McMasters land. As Benjie tries to make his new home, he helps some starving Indians and finds himself the owner of an Indian woman who eventually becomes his wife. He also uses Indians to help with the round-up. But things come to a violent turn when Kolby's hatred launches a reign of anger that brings about an unusual white-black-red triangle in the phenomenon of prejudice.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Devil's Daughter (1939)

  • Nina Mae McKinney
  • Jack Carter
  • Ida James
Sylvia Walton of Harlem inherits a Jamaican banana plantation and returns to manage it. Since her arrival, there's been no sign of her disinherited half-sister Isabelle, who ran the plantation until their father's death. But Sylvia, her two rival suitors, and her comic- relief servant Percy are disturbed by the constant, growing sound of drums. Meanwhile, in hiding, Isabelle schemes to regain her former place by manipulating local 'obeah' superstition. All-black cast.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Albino [a.k.a. The Night of the Askari] (1976)

  • Christopher Lee
  • James Faulkner
  • Horst Frank
This is based on a book by Daniel Carney with the much cooler title of "The Whispering Death." I haven't read it. Used copies of it are at least 50 bucks on-line. Too rich for my blood. The film (which can be found for rent on VHS at Movie Madness in Portland,Oregon) stars Christopher Lee and Trevor Howard and a bunch of actors I've never heard of. The storyline is a weird mash-up of influences.It starts out like a typical portrait of the tensions between the races in Rhodesia during the 1960's. Some social commentary. Then it switches gears and features "terrorists" (read: black Africans) going berserk and having some kind of whitey stomping rampage. Cue the blood and guts. Sybil Danning is forced to take some hose pipe and gets waxed (killed, not Brazilian). A lurid revenge thriller now looms, wanting to go full bore. And then during the extended chase sequence that takes up the latter third of the film it begins to do just that. It was during this time that a strange thought popped into my head, Isn't this Moby Dick in Africa? Think about it: We have the obsessed Police Officer (husband of dead Sybil) standing in for Captain Ahab chasing the Moby Dick character, a "White" black man. The futility of revenge is revealed.

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