problem I have with the term ‘Blaxploitation’ film is that it’s used as a lazy
and convenient handle that doesn’t adequately express the range of black films
that came out during the early to mid 70’s – as if all of them were cheap action
is that, they were quite diverse – ranging from action to horror to dramas to westerns
and even comedies, many of them forgotten over the decades.
One of them was
the 1974 United Artists film, "Amazing Grace," directed by Stan Lathan, with Moses
Gunn and Rosalind Cash, but is notable for being the only lead film role for legendary
comedian Moms Mabley.
of Whoopi Goldberg’s documentary two years ago, "I’ve Got
Something to Tell You," Mabley was genuinely one of the great pioneers of black comedy
(and of comedy period), and there isn’t a black comic today who doesn’t owe a huge debt to her.
She was a regular
fixture on TV, back during the late 60’s to early 70’s, basically when she was
discovered by the white public, but for
decades before that, she was without question, one of most popular and
beloved comedians in black entertainment.
did appear briefly in a race movie in the 1940’s, but "Amazing Grace" was her only feature movie. In it, she plays a Baltimore resident who starts a neighborhood campaign to
stop some crooked politicians involved in some illegal shenanigans.
Films is releasing "Amazing Grace" on blu-ray, on January 27, replacing the extremely hard to find old 2001
MGM/Fox DVD, which, if you can find it, can
cost you up to $70.