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Black Mama, White Mama
Chained Women / Chains of Hate / Hot, Hard and Mean / Women in Chains

USA/Philippines 1972
produced by
Eddie Romero, John Ashley, David J.Cohen (executive) for AIP, Four Associates
directed by Eddie Romero
starring Pam Grier, Margaret Markov, Sid Haig, Lynn Borden, Zaldy Zschornack, Laurie Burdon, Eddie Garcia, Alona Alegre, Dindo Fernando, Vic Diaz, Wendy Green, Lotis Key, Alfonso Carvajal, Bruno Punzalan, Ricardo Herrero, Jess Ramos, Carpi Asturias
screenplay by H.R. Christian, based on a story by Jonathan Demme, Joe Viola, music by Harry Betts

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Prostitute Lee (Pam Grier) and revolutinary Karen (Margaret Markov) are new to another one of these Filippino women's penitnetiaries, and no love is lost between them, especially after Karen starts to have sex with a warden (Lynn Borden) to improve her position after Lee has refused to have sex with that.

However, eventually they have to be driven to a maximum security prison, and the transport is attacked by Karen's rebel friends, and she and Lee manage to break free ... chained to one another by the hand ... which is bad news, since Karen's friends didn't stay to collect the girls but had to make a strategic retreat, and now pretty much everybody is after the girls, who are wearing nothing but shirts and panties: Police Captain Cruz (Eddie Garcia), headhunter and criminal Ruben (Sid Haig) who was actually hired by Cruz, and then there's gangsterboss Vic (Vic Diaz), who knows that Lee has a stash of money hidden away somewhere, plus the rebels, led by Karen's boyfriend Ernesto (Zaldy Zschornack), who want to save Karen, but get into shoot-outs on every corner along the way.

The situation gets more and more desperate, since Ruben seems to know every trick in the book on how to capture escapees and soon sends dogs after them - which the girls can ultimately shake when Karen takes off her panties, gives them to a stray dog and chases him off into a different diretion ... but not even that can fool Ruben for long.

So eventually, the girls, unarmed and chained to one another, are bound to run into a trap ... and will a knight in shining armour arrive in time ...

 

Part women in prison film, part escape-drama with a plot somewhat lifted from Stanley Kramer's The Defiant Ones (1958), with Margaret Markov and Pam Grier substituting for Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier, Black Mama, White Mama is first and foremost a pulpy badass chick action flick that never tries to reinvent the wheel but is good at what it does, and that's to entertain audiences in a fast paced way with all the sex and violence in the right places, with the exotic Filippino backdrops added as an extra bonus. It's not a film that will stay with you for too long for any other reason than its great title, but it's great nostalgic fun while it lasts!!!

 

In a film-historic context, Black Mama, White Mama was actually an effort by production house AIP to repeat the success that then young company New World had with a string of very similar films - Filippino-produced WIP films sattrring Pam Grier and Sid Haig (e.g. The Big Doll House, The Big Bird Cage) -, before AIP got the both of them back to the USA to have them star in some of their biggest successes of the time (e.g. Coffy, Foxy Brown).

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD