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The Final Comedown (1972)

R | | Action, Crime, Drama | April 1972 (USA)
Black revolutionaries take action in the white suburbs.

Director:

Oscar Williams

Writers:

Jimmy Garrett (play), Oscar Williams (written for the screen by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy Dee Williams ... Johnny Johnson
D'Urville Martin ... Billy Joe Ashley
Celia Milius ... Renee Freeman (as Celia Kaye)
Ed Cambridge ... Dr. Smalls (as Edmund Cambridge)
Billy Durkin Billy Durkin ... Michael Freeman
Morris D. Erby Morris D. Erby ... Mr. Johnson (as Morris Erby)
Pamela Jones Pamela Jones ... Luanna
Cal Wilson Cal Wilson
John Johnson John Johnson
Nate Esformes
Richard Francis Richard Francis
Sam Gilman
Jon Scott Jon Scott
Marlene Czernin Marlene Czernin
Judy Morris
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Storyline

Black revolutionaries take action in the white suburbs.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It'll blow you away! See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

April 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blast! See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Raymond St. Jacques has a role in this movie which he did between two of his better films: the classic "Cotton Comes To Harlem" 1970 directed by Ossie Davis; and "Book Of Numbers" 1973 which Raymond directed. See more »

Alternate Versions

Blast! (1976) is an alternate version of this film, with new footage directed by Allan Arkush. The director credited is "Frank Arthur Wilson." See more »

Connections

Featured in Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Past, Present And Future
Written by Wade Marcus and Grant Green
Performed by Grant Green
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not just "blaxploitation"
10 December 2009 | by ofumalowSee all my reviews

Far more than the majority of exploitation-oriented releases that defined "blaxploitation," this 1972 is inspired by the prior "Sweet Sweetback" in its flashback structure and overt Black Power agenda. It's not primarily about violence and T&A, though there's some of both. Billy Dee Williams (in a role strikingly different to his in "Lady Sings the Blues" that same year) plays an angry young man gradually radicalized by racial injustices, leading to his being besieged by police as a Panthers-type leader in the present-tense framing sequences.

"Final Comedown" is no zenith of the cinematic arts--it's dated and crude at times. But it also makes an effort not to be cartoonish: There are scenes in which some white people (notably a Jewish couple, an employment-office secretary, and some SDS types) are outraged by the racism of other white people. There are also scenes that rather charmingly exist just to promote local (I'm presuming L.A.) black-owned businesses, a diner and Africanist clothes store included.

The film touches on a lot of then (still?) relevant points, from Vietnam War post-traumatic stress to drug addiction. It's not subtle or slick, but it really tries to articulate all complicated causes for Black Power rage, not just exploit them as a trendy attitude a la Superfly, Slaughter, Shaft, Rudy Ray Moore (much as I love that guy!), etc. Some eventual cruel ironies are well-judged, though it must be said the overall narrative shaping as well as the huge death-toll shootout sequences are pretty clumsy.

This isn't exactly a good film, but it reflects its precise cultural moment in ways more mainstream films seldom did/do. Despite all rough edges it's a more complicated and intelligent narrative airing of U.S. racial tensions circa 1972 than many better-known films. In that sense it's the antithesis of the terrific current parody "Black Dynamite," which made fun of the period's tritest "blaxploitation" films. This one isn't laughable--it's a serious statement. (Though the major histrionics by veteran actress Maidie Norman as Williams' mother are pretty humorous.)


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