Friday, February 5, 2010
Black Mama, White Mama (1973, Eddie Romero)
Though technically not a Blaxploitation film per se, it (ironically) has probably the greatest Blaxploitation title in film history. Directed by low budget Filipino film maker/producer Eddie Romero (infamous for his Beast of Blood films), Black Mama, White Mama is a cross between a WIP film and a Chase film. Starring Pam Grier and Margaret Markov, who starred together again in The Arena, a WIP/Gladiator (!?!) film, I had been looking for this film for awhile and finally found a copy, a two disc set with Foxy Brown.
Two women on an island prison, revolutionary Karen Brent (Margaret Markov) and prostitute Lee Daniels (Pam Grier) are chained together and are being sent to another facility. Karen's revolutionary friends try to rescue her but are stopped by the cops. Karen and Lee manage to escape into the woods though and then become the targets of a manhunt. Despite their dislike for each other, they have to work together to either find Karen's friends or Lee's Pimp's headquarters.
Black Mama, White Mama has all the elements to make a decent action/exploitation film. The interplay between Markov and Grier is fun but the film itself could be better. Sid Haig is great (as always) as bounty hunter cowboy Ruben, but the rest of the characters are forgettable. There are some nice n' sleazy WIP scenes involving showers and lesbian prison guards but that's only in the first half hour of the film. Worth a watch and definitely a nice story (co-written by Jonathan Demme no less) but nothing to write home about.