Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Babe of Yesteryear – Marilyn Joi, Part III: 1975 & 76

Let's hear it for Marilyn Joi. Between 1972 and 1989, this Babe of Yesteryear made indelible as well as blink-and-you-miss-her appearances in a variety of fondly remembered, unjustly forgotten, or gladly overlooked grindhouse products. But fame is a fickle thing, especially in the nether regions of exploitation movies, and although she always exuded a memorable presence and has some notable films in her resume, she never became a "name" — hell, more people know the name Jean Bell than they do Marilyn Joi,* though Joi arguably displayed far greater thespian talent and definitely appeared in a larger number of noteworthy movies. Indeed, "Joi brought variety and a measure of depth to her big and small screen performances. She never walked through a role and she knew the meaning of nuance. She could be a bad girl, a traditional action film heroine, or a light comedienne of considerable charm. [Bob McCann in Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television]" To that, we might add that she had a killer figure and she was sexy, and she had fabulous eyes. 
* Perhaps due in part to Ms. Bell's status of being one of the first Afro-American women to get nekkid in Playboy, while Ms. Joi only did cheesecake for race-specific publications like Players, "the Black Playboy". (Although, according to Ms. Joi, "I did do some [nude] pictures, but they were never published. I'm sure they're floating around somewhere."**) Players deemed Marilyn "America's Favorite Black Poster Girl" in 1980 and, two years later, voted her one of "America's Ten Sexiest Black Women" — and she was. 
** Quote taken from an informative interview published in Shock Cinema #16 in 2000, which can be found at the Internet Archives. We make extensive use of that interview in the following blog entry. For those of you who don't know Shock Cinema, it is one of the best magazines around, particularly for people who read sites like this one. Check it out, buy an issue — you'll love it! 
A beautiful and bubbly Marilyn Joi interviewed:
"Marilyn Joi" was born 22 May 1945 in New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA. Her full real name is not general knowledge, though her real first name seems to be "Mary"; on-screen, she was at times also credited as Tracy King, Tracy Ann King, T.A. King and even Anita King. She is alive and well and (unlike us) on twitter. A true Babe of Yesteryear, her film career was much too short and she is unjustly unknown — which is why we here at a wasted life have decided to take one of our typically meandering and unfocused looks at her filmography. (If it's more meandering and unfocused than usual, well, in this day and age of corona lockdown we have more time on our hands…)
As always, we make no guarantee that anything we write is 100% correct (feel free to tell us where we're wrong — preferably in a non-trolly tone of voice). And if we missed a film, let us know… 

Go here for 
Marilyn Joi, Part One: 1972-73
Marilyn Joi, Part Two: 1974

The Candy Tangerine Man
(1975, dir. Matt Cimber)
As "George Theakos", sleaze-film scribe and actor Mike Angel (31 Oct 1926 – 21 Apr 2001) supplied the screenplay, a sure sign of hilariously trashy and sleazy grindhouse product. Marilyn Joi, still using the name "Tracy King", is on hand in this infamous movie playing Clarisse, the wife of the Candy Tangerine Man when he's off work and being Ron, a caring suburban stud husband and good provider. Interestingly enough, the dancer on the Candy Tangerine Man poster above changed races for the Tangerine Man release.
Trailer to
The Candy Tangerine Man:
"Director Matt Cimber was no stranger to the Black action medium, having helmed The Black Six (trailer) in 1973 and the sexploitation mondo knockoff Black is Beautiful (NSFW film) in 1970 […]. Candy Tangerine Man in particular is notable for its gritty style, over-the-top performances and solid score from the obscure funk group Smoke.* […] Superfly (1972 / trailer) or Foxy Brown (1974 / trailer) this definitely ain't, as Cimber's film occupies the sleazier side of the Blaxploitation canon […] which ran through Times Square grindhouses during the 1970s. Still, Candy Tangerine Man moves along at a brisk pace, and is handled with enough experience to make it an easy watch for genre fans who will likely dig the jive quips and fun action set pieces. [10K Bullets]"
* "[…] We finally tracked down the music that's featured in B-movie Blaxploitation classic Candy Tangerine Man. It's from quite an easy-to-find funk LP, the self-title release by Smoke. The music is quality mid-70s dancefloor funk, pretty tight all through. Mostly vocal, it's not a standard soundtrack record and makes no mention of the movie on the sleeve, but check out the film then look at the hats of the guys on the LP sleeve... anyway, 3 tracks from this LP were used in the movie. Good stuff. []"
We already took a quick glance at this Blaxploitation flick way back in 2011 in our long-dead book blog, Mostly Crappy Books, when we, within the context of our review of Gregg Tyler's "autobiography" The Joy of Hustling, did a superficial film-by-film look at the movies of Matt Cimber. There, we wrote:
"I actually remember watching trailers for this on TV in DC as a kid: I was watching the B&W masterpiece Night of the Living Dead (1968 / trailer / full film) on 'Creature Feature' while babysitting, and I swear this film bought all the advertising time. The Amazing World of Cult Movies has this to say about one of Samuel L. Jackson's favorite films: 'Jaw-dropping Blaxploitation silliness from the director of Butterfly (1982 / trailer) and the appalling Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976 / trailer) warned 'Git Back Jack — Give Him No Jive ... He Is the Baaad'est Cat in '75.' He is, of course, Black Shampoo's John Daniels as The Baron, a married suburban businessman who leads a double life as a hardboiled pimp with a gold Rolls Royce (the headlights contain hidden machine-guns). This nonsensical premise is further exacerbated by silly clothing, tacky hookers, Italian gangsters, and a guy getting his hand chewed up by a garbage disposal. [...] Not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but some will find it irresistible.' According to Roger Elbert, The Candy Tangerine Man is 'a singularly unpleasant movie that somehow manages to squeeze a few humorous scenes in with the gore, the mutilations and the mass executions.' Something Awful says 'The Candy Tangerine Man is an amazing showcase of everything embarrassing in the 1970s.' Sounds very promising, if you ask me. Could this be Matt Cimber's masterpiece?"
The opening credits and scenes of
The Candy Tangerine Man:
The storyline, as found at the Department of Afro American Research Arts & Culture: "Sunset Boulevard is a lucrative place to work for the Black Baron (Jeff Daniels, former owner of Maverick's Flat), a pimp with a distinctive red and yellow Rolls Royce and plenty of girls on his books. He don't take no mess from his girls, his madam or his competitors and viciously defends his patch. First, he clobbers the Mob who attempt to move in on his patch. Second, he tracks down one of his girls who runs off with a suitcase full of his cash. Third, he disposes of two policemen. But by now he knows his pimping days are numbered, so after a final explosive gun battle he switches to being his alter ego, mild-mannered businessman Ron who lives out in the leafy suburbs with an unsuspecting wife and family."

From the soundtrack —
Got a Bad Feeling by Smoke:
Once upon a time, most people seemed to hate this flick, but nowadays the general consensus runs more along the lines of what Teenage Frankenstein thinks: "Matt Cimber's microbudgeted Blaxploitation is more entertaining and funky than many of the major studio entries into the beloved genre. […] The plot is route Black action for the time, but it's handled in a satisfactory manner, hitting all the beats. The dialog is endlessly quotable, and the performances are charismatic (especially John Daniels in the lead). This has been getting a lot of rediscovery hype lately, but it earns it."
Clip from
The Candy Tangerine Man:
Indeed, Celluloid Terror gushes, "The Baron one of the most memorable and most likable characters in all of exploitation cinema […] and raises The Candy Tangerine Man from an awesome and frankly pretty well made movie to a true classic." And Celluloid Terror is not alone in that opinion: "Candy Tangerine Man was a sizable hit in 1975 but has fallen into almost total obscurity since then. A shame, since it's a classic of the genre and deserves to be discussed along with better remembered entries like Shaft (1971 / theme) and Superfly (1972 / trailer). Of course those films had major studios behind them, while Candy Tangerine Man was released by the now-defunct Moonstone Entertainment. [Musings of a Cinema Obsessive]"
As for Matt Cimber, he gives an interview about the movie at WMFU'S Beware of the Blog, where he explains his inspiration: "I had a friend – a guy who lived near me in Beverly Hills. He owned a club on the Sunset Strip called The Body Shop, which was very famous. It was a burlesque house. I used to go in there at night after dinner or whatever. […] Occasionally, this guy used to come in, this African-American who was obviously a pimp. He drove this incredible car. This was the age of the Sunset Boulevard pimps, y'know? He would come in because he had a girlfriend. Not a prostitute, but a girlfriend who was a dancer at the Body Shop. He would come in. Sit. Talk to my friend. What did he talk about? The stock market. Sometimes, occasionally, politics. But mostly real estate investments! The guy was incredibly bright. Really bright. It amazed me because, my friend told me, 'This guy never got out of the fourth grade.' Here he is working on the streets. I thought, 'Imagine, this guy, if somebody put him in school – he could be the CEO of a major corporation. Who knows?' […] So for the movie I did it like... I tried… I made him a pimp who doesn't turn out new girls."

Blazing Stewardesses
(1975, dir. Al Adamson)

A.k.a. Texas Layover, Cathouse Cowgirls, The Great Truck Robbery and possibly The Wild Stewardesses. Interestingly enough, if not typically enough, the cover art for both Texas Layover and Cathouse Cowgirls sees fit to make the movie look like a white chicks only affair.
Since 1974's The Naughty Stewardesses (also directed by Al Adamson) became one Independent International's biggest hits, "it is not too much of a surprise that Adamson and Sherman soon came up with a sequel, Blazing Stewardesses (1975), however, the way the film turned out came as a little bit of a surprise, as for whatever reason, Adamson and Sherman decided to not go the safe and easy way and make nothing more than a rehash of the earlier film but to instead turn the film into a loving homage/parody of B-Westerns and serials of the 1930s. The film to this end features very little in terms of sex (only two scenes at the beginning) and — besides the stewardesses (Connie Hoffman, Marilyn Joi, Regina Carrol*) of course, who do next to no flying in this one — quite a bunch of veteran actors from the 1930s and 40s, B-movie cowboys Robert Livingston (again) and Don 'Red' Barry (11 Jan 1912 – 17 July 1980** of Boss Nigger [1974 / trailer], Walk on the Wild Side [1962 / credit sequence] and Frankenstein 1970 [1958 / trailer]), Yvonne De Carlo (1 Sept 1922 – 8 Jan 2007, seen below not from the film, of American Gothic [1987 / trailer] and so much more) and the two surviving Ritz Brothers. Plus, the film used old incidental music by Lee Zahler that was actually used in serials and B-westerns of the 1930s. This all sounds pretty exciting of course (at least to a lover of vintage B's), the end result is less so though, since Adamson is not a versatile enough director to capture the spirit of the B's of old, and too blunt a director to really get across the film's parodistic elements. Still, if nothing else, Blazing Stewardesses was a valiant try, and became quite a success for its production company Independent International — maybe also because its title resembled Mel Brooks' Western-parody success Blazing Saddles (1974 / trailer) ... [(re)search my trash]"
* Astute viewers might notice that of the stewardess from the first film, only Barbara (Marilyn Joi, credited as "T.A. King") and Debbie (Connie Hoffman) return; Jane (Sidney Jordan) and Margie (Donna Young) are gone, replaced by Lori, played by Adamson's wife Regina Carrol (2 May 1943 – 4 Nov 1992).
** "On July 17, 1980, Barry shot himself in the head at his home, shortly after police had left the residence after investigating a domestic dispute. He was estranged at the time from his second wife, Barbara, with whom he had two daughters. He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. [Wikipedia]"

Trailer to
Blazing Stewardesses:
"Al Adamson only made movies like Al Adamson, so why shouldn't his approach to the almighty sequel be like everyone else's? Whereas 1974's The Naughty Stewardesses was a soft-core sexcapade, the Blazing Stewardesses follow-up has next to no nudity and, in a veritable 180˚, what little there is doesn't come from the leading ladies. [Flick Attack]"
That the movie is aiming for something different than the T&A comedy of its predecessor is indicated by the opening title card, which reads: "Dedicated to the Screen's unsung Directors, Performers and Stuntmen of a bygone era — when Movies entertained with Simplicity and the world forgot its cares…" Indeed, "in a 26 Sep 2013 interview with the AFI Catalog, writer-producer Samuel M. Sherman stated that Blazing Stewardesses was a 'take off' of the Bud Abbott and Lou Costello comedy Ride 'Em Cowboy (1942 / trailer). […] Although Samuel M. Sherman originally wanted to cast actors Larry Fine, Curly Howard, and Moe Howard, better known as 'The Three Stooges,' Fine died 24 Jan 1975 before production began, and Moe Howard became ill and died 4 May 1975. In place of The Three Stooges, the two living 'Ritz Brothers,' Harry and Jimmy Ritz, were cast as 'Jimmy' and 'Harry,' respectively. […] Rita Hayworth was originally offered the role of 'Honey Morgan,' [but] she was replaced by Yvonne De Carlo due to budget constraints. [AFI]" Blazing Stewardesses was the first feature film appearance of the Ritz Brothers since 1943's Never a Dull Moment (trailer); below, for your viewing pleasure, their public domain guilty pleasure, The Gorilla (1939), with Bela Lugosi: 
Full P.D. film —
The Ritz Brothers in The Gorilla (1939):
The AFI also offers a detailed description of the narrative here, but for the sake of brevity let's look to the DVD Drive-In, which demurely says that "Adamson definitely made better films, but Regina Carroll and Yvonne De Carlo fans will enjoy this more than anyone else", has a quick plot description: "Beautiful stewardesses Debbie (Hoffman), Barbara (Joi, as T.A. King) and Lori (Carroll) decide to take a vacation from the city life at the Lucky Dollar Ranch, run by one of Lori's good friends Brewster (Robert Livingston). However, the ranch is plagued with masked riders terrorizing Brewster while the girls are invited to spend some time at the neighboring brothel ranch run by tough spitfire Honey Morgan (Yvonne De Carlo). […] The R rating is a light one at best, with brief blow-up doll scenes and some goofy standing-on-heads and cockpit sex. […] Blazing does pick up during Yvonne's training of the whores-to-be, with the former Mrs. Munster appearing to really relish this change-of-pace role. The cast is all game and seem to be having a ball making a legitimate film masquerading as a sexploitation flick, but it doesn't have enough entertaining moments to keep it interesting through the epic 95-minute running time."
Indeed The Video Vacuum literally seethes that the movie is "too much filler and not enough fucking. This might be the first movie that's all padding. There are long parade sequences, rodeo scenes, and way too much god-awful comic relief by the supremely annoying Ritz Brothers to make you think this could've ever been a good flick. Speaking of annoying, Regina Carrol will grate on your nerves and totally overplays the whole bimbo thing. Because she's the director's wife though, she gets a shit ton of screen time."
End credits for the movie — for which we could not find a single positive review anywhere online — include the credit "Filmed at the White Sun Guest Ranch, Palm Springs, California." (Image above.) Eventually, The Naughty Stewardesses and Blazing Stewardesses were released as a double bill.
Naughty Stewardesses and Blazing Stewardesses 
double feature trailer:

Report to the Commissioner
(1975, dir. Milton Katselas [22 Feb 1933 – 24 Oct 2008])
Aka Operation Undercover. The movie (credit) that got away — when Shock Cinema asked Marilyn Joi if there were any films she participated in that they didn't know about, she responded: "I had a part in a movie with Yaphet Kotto. I forgot the name — it's the one with the stand-off in the elevator... […] I had a nice scene with Yaphet Kotto in a club, but they cut it out — probably to put more of the elevator in there, since that was the big scene." The all-knowing Shock Cinema promptly names this forgotten film, a New York cop flick that has long since faded into obscurity — and seeing that some scenes of this mostly shot-on-location movie were shot on a set in Burbank, it could indeed be the movie. (How many Yaphet Kotto movies feature an elevator stand-off scene, anyways?)
Trivia: This movie is the screen debut of Richard Gere, in a small role as a sleazy street pimp (vs. being a white candy tangerine man). Based on the novel by James Mill, the screenplay was written by Abby Mann and Ernest Tidyman, the latter of whom also did the screenplay to High Plains Drifter (1973 / trailer) and the original Shaft (1971 / trailer).
"Back […] when I lived in Manhattan, I was friendly with an NYPD homicide detective who was also a movie buff, and he hipped me to this little-seen drama, praising it as one of the most accurate depictions he'd ever seen about how ugly the gamesmanship within a police force can get. And, indeed, even though Report to the Commissioner is fictional — it's based on a novel by James Mills — the picture radiates authenticity. Extensive location photography captures the dirty heat of summertime New York City; intense performances burst with streetwise attitude; and the vicious storyline is driven by cynicism, duplicity, and politics. Told in flashback following some sort of terrible clusterfuck of a shootout at Saks Fifth Avenue, the picture reveals how an ambitious undercover detective and a rookie investigator cross paths, with tragic results. [Every 70s Movie]" 

Trailer to
Report to the Commissioner:
The plot, from TV Guide: "Police Commissioner Stephen Elliott gives underling Captain Strichter (Edward Grover) the assignment of finding out why Chicklette (Susan Blakely), an undercover police officer, was killed when the apartment she shared with narcotics drug czar Henderson (Tony King) was raided. In a flashback we learn that Bo Lockley (Michael Moriarty of Q [1982]), a young detective, was on the case and didn't know Blakely was working for the cops. The investigation is bogged down in a series of bureaucratic maneuvers, and the film becomes more of a character study of the men behind the badges as we meet dedicated cops Capt. D'Angelo (Hector Elizondo) and Lt. Hanson (Michael McGuire). Chief Perna (Dana Elcar) leads the undercover narcotics squad, and Asst. D.A. Jackson (William Devane) is one of those barracuda prosecutors who will stop at nothing to get a conviction. Lockley has been teamed with Richard "Crunch" Blackstone (Yaphet Kotto), his senior in the department, and the two men try their best to do their jobs but are detoured at every crossroads by the politics of the department."
"Report to the Commissioner usually gets lumped in with the plethora of 70s cop films, but I viewed it as a neo-noir. It's structure tells the tale mainly in flashback, from the participating character's differing perspective, and is dark as hell. I'm sure co-screenwriters Abby Mann and Ernest Tidyman were well aware of what they were doing: both men were former Oscar winners […] familiar with the conventions of the genre. The solid cast features a powerhouse collection of 70s character actors, led by Michael Moriarty's patented over-the-edge performance as protagonist Bo Lockley. [Through a Shattered Lens]"
"Although Moriarity puts in a good performance, it's really the city that's the star here. You can just feel the oppressive, sensory overwhelming nature of Times Square circa 1972. It's a land of sleazy movie theaters, overwhelming crowds, and strange characters. [Mystery File]"

Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks
(1976, dir. Don Edmonds)

Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks is the second film in a classic exploitation franchise, and it like, the franchise itself, keeps rearing its wonderfully filthy head time and again in our R.I.P. and Babes of Yesteryear features.
As we mention recently in Part IX of our slobbering Babes of Yesteryear gaze at the films of the Great Uschi, Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks is the first follow-up film to Ilsa, She Wolf of the S.S. (1975, see Uschi Part VIII); it has the same director at its helm, Don Edmonds (1 Sept 1937 – 30 May 2009), and of course the same Ilsa (Dyanne Thorne), despite the fact that she dies at the end of the first movie. David F. Friedman, the producer of the first Ilsa movie, however, took a fly on this one. As scriptwriter Langston Stafford never scripted a film before or after this entry of the series, we assume the name is a pseudonym. Abe Books is currently offering the final draft of the film's script for sale (a steal at £786.89, but only for Abe Books), and reveals some facts in the description: "Uncredited producer Don Carmody's working script, with his ownership name in holograph ink on the first leaf. Notations in holograph pencil and ink throughout by Carmody and (more extensively) by the script supervisor, presumably Lynne Twentyman, on both rectos and versos. Twentyman worked on the film under the pseudonym Lynn Ward. Carmody […] was set to produce this film, here under its original title, The Oil Sheiks, but director Edmonds received the credit (as William J. Brady). Thus, a document containing early evidence of the pre-production planning that went into the film. Exploitation at its finest […]"
The art for the German poster above was done by the great (and totally unknown) George Morf, a.k.a. Georges Morf, a Swiss graphic artist who often did the film posters for the great Euro-sleazemonger Erwin C. Dietrich (4 Oct 1930 – 15 March 2018).
Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks is rated "Worthless" by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre, which also deigns to say "all in all, a much campier and less shocking sequel that is even entertaining in its sleazy way but will only to appeal to... well you know who you are." (Yes, we do.) The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture disagrees slightly, as they say "The second film in the notorious Ilsa series, Harem Keeper is as equally shocking and controversial as its reviled predecessor."
But to get back to the Great Uschi for a moment, she has a bigger role in this movie than she did in the first film: as the kidnapped Scandinavian actress Inga Lindström, she even has a lesbo love scene (above) with Velvet (Marilyn Joi) — or maybe with Satin (Tany Boyd of Black Shampoo [1976 / trailer]). Truth be told, the two do a very convincing Doublemint Twin look in this movie, which makes them a bit difficult to differentiate unless seen onscreen in full — but that's Marilyn Joi to the left below.
The beautiful Haji, who like Uschi was also in the first Ilsa film, is in this one as well — that's her bloody face in the poster directly below — which is why we took a look at the movie at her R.I.P. Career Review we did in 2013. Credited as "Haji Cat", she plays "Alina Cordova" — you see her getting tortured in this film's NSFW trailer below and on the Japanese poster above. Her character is a spying belly dancer who first gets her beautiful love pillows crushed [below, with Marilyn helping to apply the pressure] when she is tortured for information about her unknown contractor and is then later killed by an exploding diaphragm...
As Dr Gore astutely says: "Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks promises nasty sleaze and does not disappoint. Every other scene had either blood or breasts or both. It's a great exploitation movie. I recommend it."
The NSFW trailer to
Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks:
We here at a wasted life saw Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks a decade or two ago in a double feature with Ilsa the Tigress of Siberia [1977 / trailer], but to tell the truth we really don't remember anything about either movie... in fact, we saw the movie so long ago that when we saw it, we didn't even know who Marilyn Joi was, much less notice her specifically. Not to say that we didn't notice the two lithe, black sister-like amazons that kicked butt and killed and maimed and did the nasty with each other and others — but just like with everything else in the movie, we no longer actually remember everything they do or what happens to them, much less when or why or how — although one really doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to guess (correctly) that they both die in the end. It's an Ilsa film, for Christ's sake — what else would happen to them?
The plot, as described in reduction at Cool Ass Cinema: "Ilsa (Thorne) is operating a slavery ring in the Middle East serving El Sharif (Jerry Delony), a maniacal oil sheik who has usurped his young nephew as ruler. Some of Ilsa's kidnapped clientele consist of well-known and wealthy personalities. [Colleen Brennan plays an American millionaire's daughter.] This attracts the attention of the United States Secret Service, who send spies to bust up the criminal activities within El Sharif's harem. One of them is an American diplomat (Max Thayer of Planet of the Dinosaurs [1977 / "trailer"]) whom Ilsa becomes infatuated. She refuses to kill him against El Sharif's orders and brings about her own humiliating torture. The slaves soon revolt culminating in a violent confrontation against El Sharif and his soldiers."
Ms. Brennan — seen to your right above with Uschi to your left — when asked in an interview at Rock! Shock! Pop! about her appearance in this Ilsa movie and the first one, both films she regrets having been in, disingenuously states, "Okay, here's the rule of thumb I developed too late: Never be in a movie that strives to attract an audience with whom you would not choose to share a theater." Haji is also relatively circumspect about the movie when talking to Shock Cinema, saying: "I will limit myself as far as doing certain things, and some of the stuff they did in that film was a little too funky for me. I liked my part, but I don't think I did a very good job with it."
Marilyn Joi, a person who is above sticking her nose in the air in retrospect, also speaks of the movie in her interview with Shock Cinema, where she reveals herself still miffed at how her big scene [when Satin is killed] was thwarted: "There's a scene in that movie — when we shot it, I had people crying on the set! Crying! In a B-movie! But when they edited the film, they chopped it up so much that they ruined it. Yes, but it wasn't just Tanya dying. I thought about my kid, I thought about my sister — I really put a lot into that scene, but they cut it all up. I run toward Tanya, and they cut away. I pick her up, and they cut away. Instead of letting me run through the room, they cut to all these other people shooting off guns! That's when I learned how important editing is. It can make or break you."
The infamous and popular Dyanne "Ilsa" Thorne, by the way, went on to become a minster named Dyanne Maurer who, with her husband Howard Maurer — the couple appeared in five films together: this Ilsa film here, Ilsa the Tigress (1977 / trailer), Wanda, the Wicked Warden (1977 / trailer), the classic Harry Novak production Wham! Bam! Thank You, Spaceman! (1975 / trailer) and all of two seconds in Franc Roddam's Liebestod segment of Aria (1987 / trailer) — conducted wedding ceremonies in Vegas. She died this year on the 28th of January.

Mansion of the Doomed
(1976, dir. Michael Pataki)

Marilyn Joi has a speaking part as Miss Mathews in this fun slice of grindhouse trash a.k.a. Massacre Mansion, The Terror of Dr. Chaney, Eyes, Eyes of Dr. Chaney and House of Blood. A Charles Band production — his first "official" project, as he tends to ignore and deny his lost first film, The Last Foxtrot in Burbank (1973)*Mansion was one of the many films confiscated in Great Britain during their idiotic "video nasty" panic. Like Jesús Franco's earlier film The Awful Dr. Orloff (1962 / trailer) and Franco later Faceless (1987 / trailer), Mansion of the Doomed looks to be yet another fun and trashy take on the B&W classic, Les yeux sans visage / Eyes Without a Face (1960 / trailer), only instead of faceless faces, it's got eyeless faces.
* "[Last Foxtrot in Burbank] is obliterated [from history] for good reason! I was involved very peripherally. In some cases my name was attached or wasn't attached. So somewhere in the mix I did have some involvement in the movie and I'm glad if it's substantially erased because it was just something I helped someone out with and the next thing you know it somehow got stuck to me as a movie I made, which is not the case, nor did I direct it or anything. So the first real movie that I put my name on officially, that was my first genre film — I pulled in people who were friends — was: I want to say The Eyes of Dr Chaney but it really was released as Mansion of the Doomed. [Charles Band @ Cult Films & the People Who Make Them]" The original publicity material for Foxtrot found Temple of Schlock, however, has Band's name all over it. Perhaps the man doth protest too much? Indeed, according to what John Carpenter, the editor of Foxtrot, says in the interview found here, Band very much had his fingers in the Foxtrot pie.
Mansion of the Doomed:
Director Michael Pataki (16 Jan 1938 – 15 April 2010) was primarily active as an ubiquitous actor — see: Dead & Buried (1981, w/ James Farentino), The Baby (1973 / trailer), The Cut-Throats (1969, with the Great Uschi) & The Dirt Gang (1972, with the Great Uschi), The Pink Angels (1971), the Henning Schellerup anti-classics The Black Bunch (1972 / trailer) and Sweet Jesus, Preacherman (1973 / trailer) and so much more— whose only other feature film directorial credit is everyone's favorite soft-core version of Cinderella (1977 / trailer). The screenplay is from Frank Ray Perilli (30 Aug 1925 – 8 Mar 2018), the co-writer of Alligator (1980), who began his career in films as an occasional actor (for example, in Carnival Rock [1957] with Dick Miller and Invasion of the Star Creatures [1962 / trailer]) before taking up scriptwriting with The Doberman Gang (1972 / trailer).
Mansion of the Doomed has long been on our "To See" list, and not just because Marilyn "Miss Mathews" Joi is in it somewhere, but we have yet to get around to it. So we cannot say where, when, why or how "Miss Mathews" shows up — regrettably, not a single online source we looked at does so, either. Not even the AFI Catalog, which otherwise offers a long and detailed plot description. So we really don't know: does she or does she not keep her beautiful eyes? She is not anywhere in the trailer, in any event.
When it comes to her experience while making this film, however, in her interview with Shock Cinema Marilyn Joi comments that "[Richard Baseheart] grabbed me around the chest every chance he got! (Laughs) There's a scene where he grabs me, and we must've shot that scene ten times! He kept goofing it up so he could grab me around the chest!" (Obviously enough, Richard Baseheart was a boobs-man.)
Kindertrauma, which says that one must "offer some amount of applause to Mansion simply for being consistently grim and unapologetically gruesome", has a short plot description: "Richard Baseheart (31 Aug 1914 – 17 Sept 1984) plays Dr. Leonard Chaney who, due to shitty driving, causes his daughter Nancy (Trish Stewart) to lose her eyesight. Feeling like a schmuck he decides with the help of his loyal wife Katherine (Gloria Grahame [28 Nov 1923 – 5 Oct 1981]) to drug his daughter's fiancé (Lance Henriksen), surgically remove his eyeballs, stick them in his daughter's head and then keep the poor eyeless guy locked in a cell in the basement. The new peeper plan works out super for a while but then fails, so Chaney tries again with another victim and then another. The basement begins to fill with eyeless prisoners and his daughter's face begins to look like Scrapple and everybody gets trapped in an unhealthy eyeball operation loop because the Doctor refuses to abide by the laws of his profession: 'First, do no harm' and 'Second, do no drugging, eye theft and prisoner keeping'!"
Silver Emulsion "definitely recommend [Mansion of the Doomed] to B-movie fans", saying it's "a movie that just gets more and more fucked up as it goes on […] its tortured path of eye trauma. It's not going to win any awards (even the genre ones), but it definitely packs in a lot of twisted, fucked-up thrills for those in the audience that can find entertainment in such things. […] Let's not gloss over the FX though, because they're pretty fucking good. Anything involving surgery or the eyes is always going to get me squirming, so I was wriggling around like a worm in a bird's mouth through every appropriate sequence. During the surgery scenes, there's some monitor footage of syringes puncturing eyes that looks so real I'm unable to tell if it was actual surgery footage or fabrications. Pulling the eyes from the subject's face was definitely fake, but it looked incredibly good. The zombie-like blind captives in the basement also feature some great makeup that makes it look as if they don't have any eyes. The faded, tired print of the movie only adds to the creepiness of the film, giving it a taboo, snuff film quality."
Words of the Master, however, finds that "Mansion of the Doomed is a little on the pedestrian side": "Patakis isn't particularly good at building tension or suspense, and, for the most part the movie is kinda just there. Thankfully, it is pretty short and goes by fairly quickly. It's enough to keep you interested in what is going on, and what to know how it's all gonna end. It's really aided by a cast that is way better than this movie probably deserves. […] It's made watchable thanks to some solid acting and good gore. Coupled with a short running time and a suitably nasty ending, it turns out to be an overall decent little movie. So long as they don't expect a masterpiece or anything original […], fans of gore, mad doctors, 70s cheapo horror, and/ or Lance Henriksen will be in for a little bit of a treat."
The advertisement above, by the way, comes from the fun but lackadaisically maintained blogspot Groovy Doom. The triple feature screened at Lakeshore and Washington Drive-ins was one of fun if typically thrown-together exploitation fare: the grimness of Mansion teamed with the cheesy fun of The Giant Spider Invasion (1975 / trailer) and the Euro-Eroticism of the softcore House of 1,000 Pleasures — the last, we would guess, most likely being Max Pécas' Club privé pour couples avertis (1974 a.k.a. House of 1,000 Pleasures) and not Antonio Margheriti's Finalmente le mille e una notte (1972, full film in Italian, a.k.a. House of 1,000 Pleasures). 

Black Samurai
(1976, dir. Al Adamson)
We looked at this flick back in 2013 in Part II of our R.I.P. Carrier Review of Jim Kelly, where it is listed as a film from 1977 (since then, a Detroit screening in 1976 seems to have come to light, making it a 1976 release).

Trailer to
Black Samurai:
Marilyn Joi has pretty big part in the movie as the appropriately named bad gal Synne, and was even in charge of costumes. As the bad gal, she is not only seen in the trailer — "I like to think of you as my white knight, baby" — but they even show how she dies. (Pretty stupid of the trailer cutter, if you ask us.)
Seven years ago we wrote: Also known as Black Terminator and The Freeze Bomb. So, what's left for an actor after an Oscar Williams* film? Well, how about an Al Adamson movie? We love Al Adamson movies — they're absolutely terrible! (See, for example, our review of his instant non-classic Dracula vs. Frankenstein [1971].) If you don't know Adamson's films, believe us, they are true eye-openers. Yes, Virginia, you do not need any notable directorial talent to become a director, you just need to be an auteur. 
* Kelly's previous film was Hot Potato (1976), directed by Oscar Williams, who also wrote Kelly's 1974 movie, Black Belt Jones (see Jim Kelly, Part I). There is a reason Williams hasn't directed a movie since his 1978 anti-drug disasterpiece, Death Drug. He wasn't an auteur.
It is literally impossible to talk of the great filmmaker [Adamson] without making some mention of his memorable (if tragic) demise, but we've done it so often we'll let Teleport City tell the tale: "In June of 1995, legendary (some would counter with 'infamous') b-movie kingpin Al Adamson was murdered by a handyman he'd contracted to complete some work on his ranch. The body was discovered entombed beneath a newly poured concrete slab that occupied the space where Adamson's hot tub once stood. The producer-director's disappearance piqued the curiosity of friends, and one in particular became suspicious of the concrete slab, noting that Al loved his hot tub perhaps more than anything else he owned and never would have had it removed. And indeed that's where they found his body. The handyman, Fred Fulford, was arrested and, in a trial that dragged on until March, 2000, finally convicted and sentenced to 25-to-life."
Adamson's flick here, by the way, isn't one of his many cut-and-paste jobs but is based on the first of a series of pulp novels by the Afro-American author Marc Olden, who died in 2003, featuring Robert Sand, the "Black Samurai" of the title. [Cost big bucks on ebay nowadays.] Olden's Samurai series lasted eight titles between '74 and '75, the first title [image below] of which is the basis of Adamson's film adaptation here.*
* We based this statement on the movie's Wikipedia entry; the imdb simply say the movie is based on the book series, but the Holy Temple of Schlock unequivocally states that the movie is based on the sixth book of the series, The Warlock (cover below). The plot of the book as found at Glorious Trash would indicate that there are enough similarities between the book and film that the Temple is right. Glorious Trash also notes: "Marc Olden churned out this entire series [of eight books] within one year; a staggering feat by any means, but even more staggering when you realize that Olden's writing is heads and tails better than just about any other writing you will encounter in this genre. I mean, there's character development, there's good dialog, there's inventive setpieces."
Black Samurai was Adamson's fifth but perhaps only second "true" attempt at Blaxploitation. (His first, Mean Mother [1974 / trailer, see Joi Part I], is actually a re-cut conversion of León Klimovsky's Run for Your Life / El hombre que vino del odio [1971]; his second, Dynamite Brothers [1972 / trailer], is more a cheesy multiculti [Chino-Afro-American] chopsocky exploiter than straight Blaxploitation; and his Uncle Tom's Cabin [1976] is [another re-cut film and] actually more a B&D/S&M movie aimed towards those who like seeing naked, buff Afro-Americans get punished.* But just before Black Samurai, Adamson made Black Heat [1976], a "serious" attempt at true Blaxploitation.)
* Like Mean Mother, Adamson's Uncle Tom's Cabin is a re-cut of another movie from Europe, in this case of Géza von Radványi's 1965 version starring Herbert Lom. More on the movie, which also includes new scenes with Joi, is found further below.
Film Father, which if of the opinion that "everything in Black Samurai is second-rate", explains the plot as follows: "Special agent Robert Sand (Jim Kelly) is asked by the CIA to save his girlfriend Toki (Essie Lin Chia) after she's kidnapped by a voodoo cult led by the evil Janicot (Bill Roy). It turns out Toki is also the daughter of a top Eastern ambassador, and Janicot's ransom demand is top-secret information for a new weapon, the 'freeze bomb.' Sand's search takes him from Hong Kong to California to Miami, facing bad men, bad women, and bad animals (Janicot's pet is a killer vulture!)." Of the film's sexpot Synne, otherwise known as Marilyn Joi, with whom Sand (Kelly) is playing tennis at the start of the film, Adventures in Nerdliness says: "I only knew about [her] from one thing; the Cleopatra Schwartz faux trailer in Kentucky Fried Movie (1977 / trailer). Turns out she did a lot more films. [...] She also made many appearances in the men's magazine Players."
To add to what we wrote back in 2013, in her interview with Shock Cinema, when it comes to Black Samurai Marilyn Joi said, "[…] I liked doing Synne the most. That was only supposed to be a little part originally, the bedroom scene. Al talked to me right before we did that — he said, 'Marilyn, behave yourself. This is Jim Kelly, he's the star, and don't you forget that now.' I said, 'Oh, Jim Kelly, OK!' And Jim was supposed to kill me right after the bedroom scene, but I said to him, 'Jim, my goodness! What will this look like to your friends? You beat me, you have sex with me, and you kill me? What's the matter with you?' So he went to Al and said, 'Y'know, it doesn't seem right that I kill her. I don't want to kill women.' (Laughs) So they wrote all this other stuff for me to do, and Synne got more work! Pretty clever of me, I must say! Oh, I loved [playing the villain]! I just didn't like what they did at the end, when I got stabbed and went 'Oooooh!' I've always found that when the good guys get stabbed in movies, they scream because they're fighting to save their lives. But when the villain gets stabbed, it's a surprise — 'I got stabbed? How dare you stab me!' So I just stood there with my mouth open, stunned, not making a sound and when they overdubbed that 'Oooooh.' it really bugged me."
The ephemerality of architecture. All three of the Jacksonville, Florida, movie theatres in the advert above no longer exist. Lake Forrest Drive-in was demolished an replaced by a Baptist Church (Peace Missionary Baptist Church @ 1759 Rowe Avenue), Norwood Twins stands empty in a run-down shopping plaza, and the Center, picture below, perhaps the only true architectural / historical loss of the three, was demolished in 2002 after it collapsed.
Black Samurai, possibly as to be expected, has been in development hell since 2017, when it was announced that rapper turned actor Common would be the new Black Samurai in a TV series. By now, development hell has perhaps turned into rejected for further development, but if not, wouldn't it be grand if they fit in Marilyn Joi somewhere?
By the way, something we only discovered / realized long after we put our R.I.P. Career Review of Jim "Hubba-Hubba" Kelly online is that his earliest known [un-credited lead] film appearance (to date, not yet even listed on imdb) is in our Short Film of the Month for Feb 2012, Carl Fick's B&W anti-drug short from 1969, A Day in the Death of Donny B.

Uncle Tom's Cabin
(1976, "dir." Al Adamson)

A.k.a White Trash Woman & Cry Sweet Revenge. Based on the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe, this version of the tale was "directed" by Al Adamson: seeing a possible financial gain in the popularity of the TV miniseries Roots, Independent-International took the German production of Uncle Tom's Cabin (or, rather, of Onkel Toms Hütte) starring Herbert Lom and directed by Hungary-born Géza von Radványi (26 Sept 1907 – 27 Nov 1986) and then recut it, adding 40 new minutes of new material.
John Kitzmiller, the guy playing the film's titular character, Uncle Tom, had already been dead for more than a decade by the time Adamson's version hit the grindhouses — indeed, Uncle Tom's Cabin version one and two ended up being Kitzmiller's second-to-last and last film(s). (Ditto for Olive Moorefiled, who plays Cassie in both films — though she did occasionally appear on TV between the two versions.)
One of John Kitzmiller's more interesting film projects — ignoring, of course, Dr No (1962 / trailer) — is Àkos Ráthonyi's gothic-style krimi, Der Fluch der grünen Augen (1964), a.k.a. Night of the Vampires & Cave of the Living Dead. 
Full film —
Cave of the Living Dead:
Prior to Adamson's reworked version, the original got a rerelease as Cassy, where it was screened at Chicago's Woods Theatre, one of many former movie palaces that are no more.
Over at our 2012 R.I.P. Review of Herbert Lom, we wrote: 
"Among other fun projects by Hungarian director Géza von Radványi are his remake of Mädchen in Uniform (1958 / German trailer – set to the theme of Hawaii 5-0!!!) as well as three films he helped write, Walerian Borowczyk's Eurotrash Lulu (1980 / full film) – a remake of Pabst's classic silent film starring Louise Brooks, Pandora's Box (1929 / fabulous full film) – and the two trashy Euro-horrors Parapsycho – Spektrum der Angst (1975 / trailer), which in classic exploitation film fashion features a real autopsy scene, and Naked Massacre (1976 / full film). His big budget version of Uncle Tom's Cabin may have been mostly sincere, but many years after its initial release it was briefly re-released in 1977 on the grindhouse circuit as Cassy. [Then,] to quote Temple of Schlock, whence the poster [advertisement above] comes, "The G-rated movie was subsequently acquired by distributor Samuel Sherman, who hired Al Adamson [the director of Dracula Vs Frankenstein (1970)] to shoot new sex and violence scenes for an R-rated Mandingo-inspired re-release in 1977 under the title Uncle Tom's Cabin and later as White Trash Woman [and Cry Sweet Revenge]." Herbert Lom plays the bad guy, Simon Legree. Needless to say, no matter which version of the film you see, they are all more salacious than the original book."
German trailer to the first release,
song by the great Eartha Kitt:
But to get to Adamson' version (the earlier re-release, Cassy, without new material by Adamson was presented by Charles E. Johnson*): "This is the 1965 version with 40 minutes of newly shot footage added and has to be seen as a new and different movie that focuses on exploitation, violence and nudity. [Mubi]"
* We were unable to find confirmation that the two are one and the same person, but a "Charles Eric Johnson" wrote Adamson's Hammer (1972, see Part I) and his version of Mean Mother (1974, see Part I).
In his book True Songs of Freedom: Uncle Tom's Cabin in Russian Culture and Society, John Mackay writes that the Sam Sherman release "added a separate narrative involving slave traders, rape, interracial romance and a culminating scene of slave vengeance (shot by exploitation legend Al Adamson)." Although only Adamson's film heralds a "Presented by Kroger Babb", Mackay claims that the version released by Johnson and the one augmented by Adamson were both the same 120-minute cut by the legendary Kroger Babb (the original German film being 170 minutes long).
Few have seen Adamson's version and thought it fit to write about; one of the few that has is Vomit Bag Video, which was thrilled enough to write [the stars are ours]: "Incredibly RARE 1977 ALTERNATE UNCUT print of the Kroger Babb 60s race-drama with Herbert Lom, but with special ADDED 70s FOOTAGE shot by AL ADAMSON, showing sadistic rapes, beatings, and tortures by a gang of crazed rednecks!! They rape a black slave-girl in front of her husband and a bunch of chained slaves, then chase after an escaped slave who miraculously (!) survives being shot in the water by his evil master, Simon Legree (LOM). They catch up with him, tho, call him 'Mr. Legree's FUCKIN' N*****', beat him, throw him on the ground, and decide to do a DELIVERANCE-number on him, by RAPING HIM in the woods! One of the hicks comments, 'Better hope you don't catch nothin' from that n*****!', and the other replies, 'Couldn't be any worse than what you caught from those SHEEP!' They then tie him to a tree and pour scalding hot tar on top of his head and naked torso, in a brutal, sick scene! Believe me, the Al Adamson footage makes ALL the difference in enjoying this piece of cinematic trash!"
Marilyn Joi, in her interview with Shock Cinema, says "Oh, I remember [Uncle Tom's Cabin]! […] There was no glamour there! That was real swamp water! That was really slimy stuff! Where did that movie go to, anyway? […] I'd like to see it, though. I got raped in that movie. […] No, of course I don't want to see myself get raped! (Laughs) I want to remember how I let it happen! I was a slave, and I think I ran away and got caught or no, maybe I was raped, and then I ran away... "
Go here for Part IV.......

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