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Black Ceaser

Black Ceaser -1973
Director Larry Cohen

Fred Williamson
Gloria Hendry

Review by Wayne Malin

Predictable and poorly made,

Movie starts out in 1953 where we see young black Tommy Gibbs doing jobs for the mob. He starts developing his own little gang. As he gets older (and becomes Fred Williamson) he works his way into the white mob–even though they don’t want “niggers” (as they say throughout the film). Then he steals some damaging ledgers and uses it to run crime in the city, help black people and keep the evil white people at bay. But the white guys in the mob aren’t about to give up…

Perhaps I’m not the best person to review a Larry Cohen movie–he’s the producer, writer and director of this. I’ve never liked any of his movies and he makes really bad low budget films (unlike Roger Corman who makes good ones). This one is full of goofs–I love it when you hear a baby crying on the soundtrack but you can clearly see that the baby isn’t making a sound! This is full of bad dialogue and has a very predictable script. This is the type of gangster film Hollywood was making in the 1930s–it’s just done with black characters now. The movie also contains plenty of swearing and some pretty graphic bloody violence. Also I can’t think of any film I’ve ever seen that has such a negative view of women–they’re either vicious witches, use sex to get what they want or are slapped around left and right. It doesn’t help at all that Gloria Hendry (the main victim) gives a terrible performance.

To be truthful I was struggling to stay awake. The bursts of violence helped and Williamson is tall, handsome and pretty good in the title role. But the technical goofs (there are plenty) and the by the numbers story got annoying. Poorly made on a low budget. Check out “Foxy Brown”, “Coffy” or “Blacula” for a good blaxploitation film.

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