Any film fan knows that there are way too many films to watch and not enough time to watch everything you want to see, and yet we still feel that one day we will finish our watch lists and then have nothing to watch. That’s never gone to happen of course and over the past few years I have been trying to catch up on some of the films that I know I should see, but haven’t yet gotten around to having seen them. Recently I finally ticked off ‘The Sound of Music’ from my list and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of watching the 60s classic. Earlier today I finished watching another film that I had heard so much about over the years but had never gotten around to seeing, and that is the Pam Grier starring, Jack Hill directed 1974 film ‘Foxy Brown’
When Foxy’s undercover-agent boyfriend is gunned down on the orders of evil drug dealers, Foxy stops at nothing to exact a thrillingly brutal revenge. Sounds like a plot we have seen since this film but I have to say, even though I’ve seen dozens of films that have a revenge plot. ‘Foxy Brown’ definitely deserves its place in the classic list. Much of that is to do with Pam Grier in the title role, and shes fantastic. For me the introduction of Pam Grier into movies was Tarantino’s Jackie Brown,a small role in Fort Apache he Bronx in the early 80s and John Carpenters Escape from LA, so it was really cool to go back earlier into Pam’s career and see some of her more iconic roles. Ill definitely be seeking out a few more of her films that’s for sure.
I will also add that Foxy Brown is far more brutal than I thought it would be and there are quite a few scenes in this film that will make you cringe (but I’m hoping that’s the point of it) One article I read mentioned that the film was seized and banned for a while in the 80s UK video nasty media panic and whilst I do think the film is harsh, I don’t think I would put it in the same league as many of the video nasty films (but then again that whole video nasty hysteria didn’t make too much sense at the time anyways). The video version released in 1987 here in the UK had 2 mins 48 secs removed from a rape scene, and also some shots of drug taking were removed as well as cuts (no pun intended) to a scene showing a woman’s bloodied throat. All those cuts (again no pun intended) were fully restored in 1998 and any new edition of the film will of course be the full version. Watching the film today and seeing some of the toughness on screen, it is up there as some of the more brutal non horror films of the 70s and id say it out brutal’s Michael Winners Death Wish which also came out in 74. But as much as I do like Charles Bronson, I do think that Pam Griers performance in Foxy Brown makes her a character we care about more than Bronson’s Paul Kersey in Death Wish and so when bad things happen to Foxy, we care about her more.
The film also has a great supporting cast including Antonio ‘Huggy Bear’Fargas and Sid Haig (The Devils Rejects)
So if you havent seen this 1974 classic. Seek it out.
The edition of the film I watched is the Arrow bluray which I picked up last year and there are some pretty good special features on the disc, once youve watched the film of course.
Restored High Definition Blu-ray presentation (1080p)
Audio commentary with director Jack Hill
From Black and White to Blaxploitation – Actor Sid Haig speaks about his long and influential friendship with Jack Hill (which runs for about 20 minutes)
A Not So Minor Influence – An Interview with Bob Minor, the first African-American member of the Stuntman’s Association, and co-star of Foxy Brown
Back to Black – Legendary actors Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson (Black Caesar) and Austin Stoker (Sheba Baby, Assault on Precinct 13), alongside Rosanne Katon (Ebony, Ivory, and Jade) and film scholar Howard S. Berger speak about the enduring popularity of the Blaxploitation film