Film Reviews Cat

Dolemite (1975)


A pimp is released from jail to go after criminals that make his neighborhood unsafe, and at the same time he is fighting corrupt police officers.

I have to admit that I really enjoyed the overall style of this film because it is daring. However, it also feels very ‘wrong’ and unprofessional. So let’s focus on the positive parts of “Dolemite” first. The costumes and setting are original and entertaining and this really makes this film look like a big circus. It is almost like turning a circus act into a movie but instead of a clown we got Dolemite who entertains us. And when you are coming with this specific angle into the movie then you might have a good time because the entire act is just over the top and silly. Moreover, I am even willing to admit that Dolemite himself is a likeable character so I can totally imagine him being part of some kind of a modern movie franchise. Yes, his character is not developed and feels, and looks, like a cartoon character but that is exactly the fun part of it.

Initially it doesn’t seem so bad at all. Don’t forget that there are many movies in which character development is badly executed. So why is this movie any different? Well… this is not merely a badly executed movie, because from a technical perspective “Dolemite” is so extremely bad that it almost becomes good again. Let me explain: The moment we as the audience can see the boom mic inside of the shot then it either can mean two things. Firstly, it could be the case that this was done on purpose to enhance the level of comedy. Alternatively, this was done by accident because the entire crew was not capable of editing, and/or filming the scene correctly. Let me tell you that it is obvious that the latter was the case because it didn’t fit with the specific storyline, or any of the characters. And this is just the start because the acting is so atrociously bad that I almost started to think that this was done on purpose. It is weird to watch a film which seems to be a parody of a parody of a parody. And for me that is a little too much meta to digest. 

The same issue comes up when you try to focus on the storyline because the entire plot doesn’t make sense. Why would the police release Dolemite in the first place? There is no chance that they released him in order to catch two corrupt police officers, or to enable him to take back his neighborhood again. Moreover, the entire editing of this film is so terrible that it almost feels like LSD visual Art. I have never seen film scenes being edited in such a way that it looks like that it was edited for the sake of editing, and this happens during the entire movie. At some point I just couldn’t watch it anymore and I had to take a break. This might have been during one of the terrible kung fu fighting scenes in which you can clearly see that it is totally fake. 

Overall, “Dolemite” is a funny character with a lot of potential, but technically it is so bad that I just can’t watch it. However, I totally understand that it has some sort of a cult classic status because it has a very specific style, but that doesn’t mean that I recommend it. Moreover, for the beginner filmmaker this might be an essential movie to watch because you can see the impact of all the technical mistakes. And having a 100k budget isn’t a guarantee that your movie will look good, or coherent.

Directed by 

D’Urville Martin

Writing Credits  

Jerry Jones(screenplay by)
Rudy Ray Moore(from an original adaptation by) (as R.R. Moore)

Cast (in credits order) verified as complete  

Rudy Ray MooreDolemite
D’Urville MartinWillie Green
Jerry JonesBlakeley
Lady ReedThe Queen Bee

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