Thursday, March 06, 2014

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW...FREE, WHITE AND 21, directed by Larry Buchanan (1963)

Looking back, who can deny just how tame and downright quaint alla them early-sixties "controversial" movies were. Whether they were dealing with race relations or some moral issue, the hard-edged crux of the matter just keeps getting skirted around or maybe even ignored totally. I mean, nowadays tee-vee can crank out program after program dealing with a man's love for his bovine or how the age of consent should be extended to embryos, but at least this purported entertainment delivers the controversy to the point where any normal person would wanna take a bath in concentrated Lestoil after sitting through a prime time of programming filled with such once-verboten subject matter as these.

Maybe we've just become so used to and even immune to the same subject matter that woulda made Aunt Gladys blanch in those turbulent times, but back in the early-sixties when socially provocative moom pitchers and tee-vee shows started popping up boy did they make for an uncomfortable time for those gathered around the cathode tube.

Nowadays these surviving shards of a lost civilization sure seem about as tame as all of those old "Adults Only" mooms dealing with the lustful desires of pot smokers and cocaine fiends, tame if sensational entertainment that didn't take long to end up as campy fodder for snooty college students who love to be so "above" the people who originally flocked to these grindhouse classix. But whether it was a thrill-seeking suburbanite or a pseudo-intellectual college major who couldn't find a job in a million years with his philosophy degree, there were many sharp operators out there who knew how to shill the rubes with entertainment that could work on so many levels it was like, how could they lose?

And when it came to knowing the proper way to separate the fool from his filthy lucre Larry Buchanan certainly knew what to do, and he sure did it swell with this courtroom drama that is packed to the gills with tension, drama, social significance, and the best thing about it is that you don't wanna puke your guts out after (or while) watching it!

Greta Mae Hansen, a Scandie lass in the USA for who knows what reason, gets involved with the Civil Rights movement that was brewing up at the time. Finding herself in Texas, she stays at the Ebony Hotel and, after going to a black nightspot, finds herself back in her room with Ernie Jones, a local black businessman who solicits Greta Mae for some modeling work. And you can bet that he means business since he even carrier a handy measuring tape around with him! But is what happens next rape or consensual sex??? Greta Mae sez that Ernie forcibly took advantage of her while Ernie, after some prodding, admits that he did have sex but she was all for it from the get go.

And that's where you the viewer come were given ballots to vote and you have but three minutes to make your decision. No motel rooms or free dinners for you bub, and if your verdict matches the outcome of this film (like mine did!) consider yourself even smarter than I gave you credit for. But after all is said 'n done maybe the DA did have a point about the jury...maybe they just don't know who to hate more, furriners or Negros!

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