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Friday, January 2, 2015

GOODBYE UNCLE TOM (1971)

MANDINGO/’75 meets the MONDO CANE/’62 boys when shock-meisters Gualtiero Jacopetti & Franco Prosperi helicopter thru time, down to the Old South where they visit plantations and see the sights (and sites) of Pre-Civil War slavery. Half fantasy documentary (done on the grandest of scales); half exploitation pic (torture & titillation abound); and 100% jaw-dropping; it’s been shocking viewers in lousy prints of various lengths for decades. Now out in a well-produced DVD from Blue Underground, the film can make a case for itself . . . or try to. (Certainly little can be done for the film’s embarrassing modern day Black Power On The Beach epilogue.) The film might be easier to defend if only the black slaves didn’t come off in such a depersonalized manner compared to all the memorable sadistic white masters. Or if we didn’t know that the film had been shot in ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier’s Haiti with a black 'Cast-of-Thousands' poor & hungry enough to strip & grovel with historical accuracy. If that’s the word.

DOUBLE-BILL: Largely reviled on release, Richard Fleischer’s slave meller MANDINGO (not seen here) has built up a substantial fan base.

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