Monday, February 21, 2011

Black Mama, White Mama

Black Mama, White mama (1973)
Dir: Eddie Romero (Savage Sisters/Beast of Blood)
Starring: Pam Grier (Foxxy Brown/Coffy/Friday Foster/Jackie Brown)
Margaret Markou (The Hot Box)
Sid Haig (Big Bird Cage/Big Doll House/The Hot Box/Foxxy Brown/House of 1,000 Corpses/The Devil's Rejects)
Although many would consider Black Mama,White Mama a Blaxploitation film it really is not , As it is more a WIP (Women In Prison) film more than anything. The story focuses on two new inmates at a Women's correctional facility in the Philippines. One Karen Brent ( Margaret Markou) a political prisoner with links to a radical rebel army and Lee Daniels ( Pam Grier) A former call girl and drug runner for a big time dealer on the Island, Vic Cheung. While in the prison the two are both targeted by the perverted female warden Densmore and the film follows pretty standard WIP procedure. First Lee is called upon by the Warden who promises a easier stay in return for sexual favors, which Lee turns down and then Karen who is more than willing in order to get on the Wardens good side to get special privileges. This of does not sit well with Lee and the two fight over morals. After their altercation the two ladies are locked up in a hot box over night before being sent to the city to a maximum security prison for some questioning on their individual cases due to the girls connections to seperate big wigs the police are interested in.

While on transport Karen's friends in the rebel army ambush the convoy allowing Karen and Lee to escape. After getting to a safe distance the two ladies argue on where they will go from there. The two are chained together and each have a destination to reach but in separate directions. Lee has to go to Los Rubles where a boat and a bunch of money await her , in order to escape the clutches of her drug running boss and Karen is to meet up with some military in San Pablo for a gun trade to provide her rebel army with artillery for their fight. After the two fight they decide to find th nearest town and free themselves from the chains and go their separate ways.the girls manage to confiscate some nun clothing and hitch a ride t the nearest town. Everything is on the up and up until they are on a bus that goes through a police checkpoint and once again the girls have to fight their way to freedom. After word is out about these ladies being on the run Lee's Boss Vic sends his goons to join the search party and the Police Captain Cruz decides to look for help in a unlikely source when he contacts a local small time pimp/Drug runner Ruben ( Sid Haig).

 While the girls are on the run they come across several small huts looking for a way to break the chains until they find a workshop. There a  creepy man attempts to rape them before turning them in and the girls defend themselves and burn the hut down. While this is going on The Rebel Army and Ruben's men have a run in which leads to a gunfight in which the rebel army is triumphant. The girls head to the river which leads to Lee's destination but they are found by Karen's friends. The Rebel's agree to take Lee to her destination and when they arrive they find the place empty and little do they know that Vic and his goons are there to sabotage Lee's plans. Again this breaks out in a gun fight while Lee and her friend Leonardo make a run for the Boat. In the Battle several rebel's and Vic's men are killed and Karen is shot down while Lee looks back from the boat. SHortly after the Gunfire stops Cpt.Cruz arrives with the police to look over the aftermath in glee.

So, After re watching Black Mama, White Mama i still don't see why this film is so widely considered a Blaxploitation film. I mean yes it does have Pam Grier , A Blaxploitation Icon in the lead role but she is the only African American cast member in the entire film and the story unfolds like the typical WIP film. Now is it a good WIP ? Yeah but I have seen better, But this one is a little better acted than most. If you like Women in Prison films then this one is pretty requisite viewing but as far as Blaxploitation is concerned you can skip it as other than the name nothing is truly Blaxploitation about it. Although you do get to see Pam Grier topless and that is always a plus no matter what the movie is. One thing about WIP flicks, for the most part if you've seen one you've seen them all and this one is a little different than the typical WIP which is mostly focussed on in Prison torture and sex while this one focuses more on the escape and surrounding pasts of the two main characters, So that does kind of set this one apart from the typical sub-genre stuff. After this flick I think I need to end The Blaxploitation History Month with something truly epic and unmistakably Black. This month is almost at it's end and I have to say that no matter how fond I hold the Blaxploitation genre I am truly looking forward to watching something different and I have quite A long list of flicks to review to get to , Some I am very anxious to check out.
Ass-Kickin': 6 (This one is pretty action packed with allot of gunfights and explosions, But nothing to memorable)
Jive: 5 ( Nothing to spectacular but Sid Haig is always good for some classic dialog)
Funk:5 ( Not bad but not classic either, Pretty middle ground)
Playa's and Whitey's: 5 ( I would have loved for the Prison segment to go a little longer , The rest of the characters with the exception of Ruben and the two leads are pretty lackluster and just there for a body count in the end)
Ass and Tittay's: 7 ( Like I said I would have loved to see more in the prison but the shower scene was nice and Pam grier Nude scores points for this one)
Overall on The Funk-O-Tron: 5.5 out of 10


  1. This is one of the best movies ever made even better than Big bob at Bagel world!

    Awesome BME ~ Best Movie Ever

  2. Big Bob at Bagel World? Is that an actual movie? If so I have to check it out now....Thanks for the comment,This one is definitely a classic.