Monday, January 20, 2014

BLACK HOOKER (1974)

Great Poster. Most of the images never happen in the movie.


Directed by Arthur Roberson
Written by Arthur Roberson
Starring Durey Mason, Sandra Alexandra, Jeff Burton & Kathryn Jackson

Also known as STREET SISTERS, this is the only film made by the writer/director and it's based on a play that he wrote. The basic concept is that The Painted Woman (Sandra Alexandra) leaves her all white bastard child (Teddy Quinn) with Grandma (Kathryn Jackson) and Grandpa (Jeff Burton). Grandpa is the local preacher for all the colored folks and they live on a farm in the middle of nowhere. I would guess by certain clothing styles and the cars that we are firmly in the 1920s. So, having a blonde haired, blue eyed little boy running around was a bit of a shock.
To make sure we know what the title of the movie is, we get The Painted Woman doing her job with a white john. Afterwards, her pimp beats the Hell out of him and we aren't really sure why.
Years pass and The Boy (Durey Mason) has grown into a man, but they still refer to him as the boy. No one in this movie has a name. The Boys' child hood companion the Girl (Mary Reed, played by Gioya Roberson as a youngster. Related perhaps?) seem to be in love, but one day The Boy comes home and finds his Grandpa in the barn with The Girl having sex.
He has had enough, he leaves the farm and goes to the city to find his mother, but she wants nothing to do with him. He gets a job at a local store but the owner's wife(Stevie Freeman) puts the moves on him and the owner(Donald Blades) catches them.
Apparently, after that the Boy goes to school and he tells his Grandma he is coming to get her to take her to his graduation. The Painted Lady arrives first and the fight between her and Grandpa is too much for her old heart to take and she dies. We then get a weird, sepia tone funeral in the desert with a bizarre coffin. The Boy grieves for the only person in the world who loved him and in the end his mother snaps him back to reality and tells her she is sick and needs his mercy and help in her time of trouble.
This is too much for The Boy and he snaps, killing his mother.
When he sees what he has done he cries out for help.
The screen goes black.
The end.

Seems a little odd doesn't it? It makes me wonder what the exploitation crowd must have thought when they saw it. Sure, we do get two scenes of obligatory nudity in the film, but it comes with this weird vibe throughout the film. I can guess that since the playwright also wrote the screenplay and directed the film that he might have been too close to the project. Some of the cinematography by Foley Artist Joseph Holsen in breathtaking. It looks as good as it might ever get. I do wish that it had been presented widescreen. It is obvious that we are losing acres of information on both sides of the screen.

I also wonder if a longer print exists. After the Owner of the store confronts The Boy with his wife we get nothing else. No resolution. We never get a reason why the pimp beats up The Painted Lady's first john in the film. Usually that is done to roll the sucker and take all of his cash, but they just pound the guy and throw him down some stairs. Why?

Grandpa, Grandma and the child actor who played The Boy in the beginning have all gone on to make other films, but that was it. The rest of this cast is a single movie listing and that is it.

Just an odd, creepy, weird flick. Not at all what I expected when I saw the title BLACK HOOKER.

That might have been a good thing.


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