FRIDAY FOSTER(director: Arthur Marks; screenwriters: Orville H. Hampton/story by Arthur Marks; cinematographer: Harry May; editor: Stanley Frazen; music: Luchi De Jesus; cast: Pam Grier (Friday Foster), Yaphet Kotto (Colt Hawkins), Thalmus Rasulala (Blake Tarr), Julius Harris (Monk Riley), Carl Weathers (Yarbro), Eartha Kitt (Madame Rena), Godfrey Cambridge (Ford Malotte), Ted Lange (Fancy Dexter), Tierre Turner (Cleve), Paul Benjamin (Sen. David Lee Hart), Scatman Crothers (Rev. Noble Franklin), Rosalind Miles (Clorils Boston), Jim Backus (Enos Griffith), Jason Bernard (Charles Foley), Edmund Cambridge (Lt. Jake Wayne); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Arthur Marks; Alpha; 1975)
“It’s all ridiculous but entertaining in an unsophisticated ogling way.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This routine Pam Grier blaxploitation vehicle is inspired by the popular black comic book of the same name. It’s directed in a lively bubble-gum manner by Arthur Marks (“Bucktown”/”Bonnie’s Kids”/”Detroit 9000”) and the forgettable screenplay is by Orville H. Hampton.
The statuesque Friday Foster (Pam Grier) is a Los Angeles black fashion model turned magazine photographer, who is on a New Year’s Eve assignment for Glance magazine and witnesses three hit men at an airport try to assassinate Blake Tarr (Thalmus Rasulala). The millionaire is known as “the black Howard Hughes.” Blake is only wounded, but one of the assassins who dies was the boyfriend of Friday’s childhood friend Clorils. At a fashion show run by Madame Rena (Eartha Kitt), the innocent model Clorils is knifed to death in her back and her dying words to Friday are “The Black Widow.”
Friday is helped by her private investigator friend Colt Hawkins (Yaphet Kotto), who discovers there might be a link between Clorils’ death and black Senator Hart (Paul Benjamin). Meanwhile Friday finds herself stalked in the shower by an assassin, involved in stealing a hearse at Clorils’ funeral to chase down an assassin she recognizes from the airport, is chased by a determined driver in Washington, D.C. while she’s on foot and, finally, stumbles on to a wild scheme sponsored by a white supremacist (Jim Backus) to have a secret black group mass murder America’s black leaders on St. Valentine’s Day while they are gathering at a reverend’s house, called Jericho, to bring down ‘the walls of bigotry.’
Godfrey Cambridge appears as a swishy couturier, who dies nicely when crushed by a truck in a public phone booth. Scatman Crothers has a small role where he plays a womanizing reverend, who also is hip to the black cause. Ted Lange, Isaac the ladies man bartender of “The Love Boat,” plays a pimp who passes on expensive gifts to woo Friday into his harem, only to have her enterprising little brother Cleve pocket the booty himself in his closet and try to sell it. Carl Weathers plays an assassin stalking Pam.
It’s all ridiculous but entertaining in an unsophisticated ogling way, as the under-developed theme puts a damper on moving things to a greater meaning about racial tensions within the black community. The pic, though, going upscale from the usual ghetto haunts, still has Pam in her usual place as the liberated professional femme who knows the deal and is no welfare lady. She moves around dressed so fine and when undressed we catch glances of her bare breasted: which should please her fan base. The popular heroine, Pam, gets away from her usual revenge formula films, but still is an action lady under duress. Her character here is like Lois Lane if she were sexy and cool, who just appears where the action is and can’t help it that wherever she goes dead bodies start popping up.
REVIEWED ON 5/31/2007 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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