Sunday, July 28, 2013

Black Mama, White Mama

Directed by Eddie Romero.
1973. Rated R, 87 minutes.
Margaret Markov
Sid Haig
Lynn Borden
Zaldy Zshornack
Laurie Burton
Eddie Garcia
Alona Alegre
Dindo Fernando
Vic Diaz
Wendy Green
Lotis Key
Alfonso Carvajal

Black Mama, not actually called this in the movie, is played by the incomparable Pam Grier. That’s really all you need to know. Okay, maybe that’s all I need to know. After all, she’s Pam Grier. Any further description is unnecessary. For me. Since you’re not me, and probably not Pam Grier, I’ll indulge you with some of the particulars of this cinematic experience.

We meet Black Mama, and White Mama, on the bus on their way to an all-female prison camp where the two will be inmates. Black Mama is serving time on a possession charge. White Mama, not actually called this and played by a not so bad herself, Margaret Markov, is something of a political prisoner. We’re told she’s a revolutionary. Exactly what kind of revolutionary and what she’s fighting for, I’m not sure. Just suffice it to say it’s the 1970s and revolution is in the air.

The first third of the movie is pure testosterone driven Women-in-Prison fantasy. Mass shower scene? Check. Horseplay between the ladies during said shower scene? Check. All female and horny lesbian prison guards? Check. Horny lesbian guards getting rough with anyone that steps out of line? Check. All of these checks lead to our heroines being locked in “The Oven,” a form of (not exactly) solitary confinement. It’s basically a box barely big enough for the two ladies to stand inside back-to-back. There’s not even enough room for them to wear tops! Why no, nothing so far at all qualifies as gratuitous nudity. I mean, it’s all germane to the plot. Okay, I’m lying. Don’t judge me.

Right after getting out of “The Oven,” the ladies are informed they’re being taken elsewhere because some higher ups want to ask both of them some questions. This means another bus ride, only now, the two are shackled together. White Mama’s revolutionary buddies attack the bus and engage the cops in a shootout, during which the Mamas escape into the woods. From here, we get a rehash of The Defiant Ones, only with more guns, Sid Haig and random boobies all over the place. This. Is. Heaven.

Wait..what? Did I say that out loud? I’ll admit I can occasionally get in a really shallow mood and this movie perfectly fits those times. Then again, I’m not sure if my love for it speaks to my shallowness or my depth. What I mean is Pam Grier touches me in a deep…too much? Sorry. Give me a moment. I’m putting my ‘objective reviewer’ cap back on and adjusting it so that it fits…just…so. There.

Horrible, cringe-inducing dialogue? Check. Both intentional AND unintentional humor? Check. Wooden acting? Check. Excessive cheese, sleaze, and shameless exploitation? Check. Check. Double check.

And it stars Pam Grier. Drool. To hell with that objective nonsense. All of this movie’s sins are hereby forgiven. Henceforth, Black Mama, White Mama shall forever be described by the best, greatest, loveliest, most wonderful, terrific, terrible, worst, most horrible, crappiest, yet still endearing term in the history of moviedom: so bad it’s awesome!

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