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Monday, October 29, 2012

If He Hollers, Let Him Go! (1968)

An innocent black man (Raymond St. Jacques) wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of a white girl (Susan Seaforth) escapes from prison. He is picked up on a country road by a man (Kevin McCarthy) who recognizes him and offers him $10,000 to murder his wife (Dana Wynter). It has the same title as the Chester Himes (COTTON COMES TO HARLEM) novel but other than the title, they have nothing in common though some sources indicate that the film is "based" on the novel but there's no screen credit for the Himes source material. Written, produced and directed by Charles Martin, this was one of the first wave of "blaxploitation" films that would soon prove very popular in the early 1970s. This effort is a passable entertainment stuffed with the usual cliches of bigoted redneck Southerners more than happy to shoot a black man on sight even if the film's ultimate message, unlike most blaxploitation films, is "we are all brothers under the skin". St. Jacques was a handsome and talented actor who deserved a better career but back in the day, there was only room for one black star at a time and that was Sidney Poitier. It's amusing to see Wynter and McCarthy reunited 12 years after INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS in quite different roles. With the lovely Barbara McNair (who got a lot of publicity over her nude scenes here), Arthur O'Connell, James Craig, Royal Dano, John Russell and Ann Prentiss.

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