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directed by Charles Bail
Hong Kong/USA 1975

 

When the Johnson brothers Melvin (Caro Kenyatta, THE YOUNG NURSES) and Matthew (Albert Popwell, THE ENFORCER) disappear during an assignment in Hong Kong, agent Cleopatra Jones (Tamara Dobson, CHAINED HEAT) and her boss Stanley (Norman Fell, Mr. Roper on TV's THREE'S COMPANY) are on the case. Working with karate-kicking local Mi Ling Fong (Tanny, CORPSE MANIA), they infiltrate the casino of Bianca Javin - aka the "Dragon Lady" - (Stella Stevens, THE MANITOU), a skilled swords-woman who runs a major heroin operation on the side. Truly "based on characters created by" Max Julien (THE MACK) as the sequel not only brings back Dobson's Cleopatra, but also Kenyatta's and Popwell's Johnson brothers, CLEOPATRA JONES AND THE CASINO OF GOLD was a co-production with Sir Run Run Shaw of Shaw Bros. A melding of blaxploitation and martial arts genres, the budget may have been low but it was suitably extravagant. Art director Johnson Tsao (LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES) erected some immense and gorgeous sets expressly for the purpose of demolishing them during the climactic storming of the casino sequence, and British cinematographer Alan Hume's cinematography keeps things slick. Producer William Tennant's script is more like a shopping list of exploitable elements than a story; but those elements are what entertain here. As with the previous film, Italian-American fashion designer Giorgio di Sant'Angelo furnishes Dobson with a stunning wardrobe (with costume changes for nearly every scene). Dobson gets all the quips, but Tanny and the Johnson brothers do most of the fighting, and Steven's isn't given much to chew on - she could have been allocated some of Dobson's quips rather than just setting them up - as the villain until the end. Dobson and Stevens would reunite in Paul Nichols' well-regarded "women in prison" film CHAINED HEAT (sadly, they both did their climactic hand-to-hand tussles with other actresses in that film). While this film featured Fell (who would start appearing in the Norman Lear sitcom THREE'S COMPANY the following year), the original CLEOPATRA JONES featured Esther Rolle, who would star in another Lear series: GOOD TIMES. Director Charles Bail - a former stuntman - had previously directed the blaxploitation film BLACK SAMSON, and his direction here is rather uneven. Bail's subsequent career consisted mainly of television work, but his later feature CHOKE CANYON was much-improved in terms of exciting action scenes.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 11 July 1975 (USA)

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DVD Review: Warner Archive - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Warner Archive

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:36:03
Video

2.36:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.63 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Archive

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.36:1

Edition Details:
• none

DVD Release Date: November 23rd, 2010
Amaray

Chapters 10

 

Comments

Warner's made-on-demand DVD-R features a single-layer, progressive, anamorphic transfer in the film's original Panavision aspect ratio. Colors are not exactly vibrant (although this may have more to do with the color choices like light blues and dark reds than a saturation problem), but they are consistent and likely true to the film's look. The image is mostly clean, apart from some rare scratching (the contrast and softness of some shots is surely down to the original cinematography). The Dolby Digital mono audio is clean and bold when it comes to the score and sound effects during the fight scenes. No extras are included; not even a trailer (surely Warner would not have deprived some voice over artist of the opportunity to spout the title "Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold" multiple times). Chapters are evenly placed at ten minute intervals.

Warner released the original CLEOPATRA JONES on R1 DVD, but this sequel only had a pressed disc release from Warner in the UK and Germany (both are out of print).

  - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menu
 

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Warner Archive

Region 1 - NTSC

 

 




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