Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Guy from Harlem (1977)

Director: Rene Martinez Jr.

Starring: Loye Hawkins, Cathy Davis, Patricia Fulton, Wanda Starr, Steve Gallon

More info: IMDb

Tagline: From the crime infested underbelly of the ghetto comes ... The Good Guy from Harlem

Plot: Tough streetwise private investigator Al Connors, who works in Florida but originally hails from Harlem, is hired by the CIA to guard a visiting African princess. Moreover, Connors uses all his sharp street smarts and fierce fighting skills to find another woman who's been abducted by the evil Big Daddy.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? Nope.

#29 on Blaxploiteasin' (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

#17 on 42nd Street Forever Vol. 2: The Deuce (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

This one's a candidate for the so-bad-it's-good except that it's not all that bad. There's a miniscule budget, no production values, paper thin plot, some of the clumsiest fight choreography I've seen but the performances are earnest and that's what did it for me. For nearly everyone in the picture, this was their sole movie credit, which is a shame because some of these actors were good enough to be in a lot more shitty movies. Gee, that sounded like a backhanded disrespect and all.


My favorite performance (mostly because his was the most animated and fun) was Steve Gallon as a local crime boss who enlists the help of the titular character. Looking at his short list of credits, he starred in director Martinez's third and final film, THE SIX THOUSAND DOLLAR NIGGER (1979). With a title like that, I can't resist. I'll be watching that one by the end of the month.

"Al, have you lost your mind? That's a woman!"

"How did you know that was a man?"

"Nobody fools ole Al, Baby. He didn't have steaks on this tray.
I can smell a New York Strip steak a block away."

I'm a sucker for any movie filmed in Florida (where I grew up) pre-1980. They remind me of the 8mm movies my parents made in the late 60s and early 70s. HARLEM is a cheap Blaxploitation flick that came late in that genre's run but it's the performances, while not that good, that make this better than it should be. It's one of 50 flicks found on the Mill Creek Drive-In Movie Classics 50 Movie Pack that you can pick up on Amazon for $13.49. All of these sets are worth picking up. For that price you can make your own Blaxploitation flick starring Loye Hawkins.

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