|Femmes Fatales||Aug 18 2016|
Katon makes a charitable contribution to the world.
Well, as we often do when returning from an intermission we're sharing something a bit more eye-catching than usual. Rosanne Katon, who you see above, appeared in such films as the 1976 blaxploitation flick The Muthers, in which she starred with fellow centerfold Jean Bell, the 1980 horror classic Motel Hell, and the black actioner Ebony, Ivory & Jade, discussed here. She was already established in film and television when she decided to appear in Playboy magazine in September 1978. It's hard to say if it helped her film career. Her roles came with neither greater nor lesser frequency than before. She continued to act into the early 1990s, then segued into the humanitarian sector. Which is apropos, because this extraordinary photo shows her ample generosity. It was shot during her 1970s Playboy sessions but wasn't published until 1996.
|Vintage Pulp||Aug 3 2016|
Hong Kong kidnappers have problems mastering possession, and so do the filmmakers.
If Tarantino likes it, it must be tops. At least that's the assumption some would make upon learning that 1976's Ebony, Ivory & Jade has Tarantino's stamp of approval. Well, despite the endorsement and status as a minor classic of the blaxploitation genre, the film isn't great. It has some highlights, including confidently staged action sequences and camerawork that does seem to have influenced Tarantino. But its failings are legion—bad script, wooden acting, and heavy duty crushed black levels that make the actors almost impossible to see in the night sequences. We'll give a pass on that last problem, because it could have happened during the video or DVD transfer.
We'll admit though, this flick is damned funny in parts—unintentionally so, foremost the character Stacy's beatdown of a bad guy who morphs into a dummy at the moment she hoists him overhead and helicopter spins him through a room divider. The basic idea of the film is also appealing—Hong Kong bad guys kidnap five female track stars for ransom, unaware that two of them happen to be martial arts experts that will cause no end of trouble once they untie themselves. Playboy playmate Rosanne Katon in the lead role is also a plus. But as blaxploitation, even a discernibly elevated budget doesn't lift the film above other entries in the genre.
As a side note, the above promo poster should help put to rest any idea that apostrophe illiteracy has something to do with modern education or the internet or whatever. It has always been a problem, and we see it all the time in vintage material. This particular failure to master the possessive form is pretty egregious, though. Yes, it's attached to a movie shot in the Philippines, but the error made it all the way through a phalanx of American writers, designers, pre-press workers, printers, and producers working in the U.S. of A. at—or at least for—Lawrence Woolner's Dimension Pictures. Pretty bad. Though as we've noted in the past, sometimes apostrophe placement can be legitimately tricky.
Hong KongPhilippinesDimension PicturesLawrence WoolnerEbony Ivory & JadeRosanne KatonColleen CampSylvia AndersonQuentin Tarantinoposter artcinemablaxploitationmovie review