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Penitentiary (1979)          Penitentiary II (1982)


 

directed by Jamaa Fanaka
USA 1979

 

When drifter Martel 'Too Sweet' Gordone (Leon Isaac Kennedy, CHEERLEADERS WILD WEEKEND) accepts a ride from Linda (Hazel Spears, DISCO GODFATHER), he gets into a brawl with some bikers while defending her honor, which leaves one of them dead and Martel in jail. Six months later he if finally sentenced and sent to the penitentiary. Right away, his cellemate 'Half Dead' Johnson (Badja Djola, THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW) tries to "break him in" but Gordone proves to be just as dirty a fighter. Gordone makes another enemy in Jesse Amos (Donovan Womack, SECRET AGENT OO SOUL) when he advises Amos' "property" Eugene (Thommy Pollard) to fight back against his treatment. The ensuing fight between Amos - who trains the prison's boxers - and Gordone results in fourteen days in solitude for both men. When they get out, they learn that Hezzikia 'Seldom Seen' Jackson (Floyd 'Wildcat' Chatman, GETTING OVER) - who has been in prison for nearly fifty years by his estimation - has taken over the training of the boxers and Lieutenant Arnsworth (Chuck Mitchell, DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE) informs them that his fight scouter brother-in-law Sam (Carl Irwin, THE PACK) can swing them parole if they prove to be good fighters. Amos is less pleased to learn that Eugene has also joined the boxing team looking to reclaim his masculinity. The dynamic changes between Amos and Eugene, and Amos goes from wanting to beat Gordone to wanting to kill him. When a shiv attack goes fatally wrong, Gordone is eager to face off with Amos in the ring.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: December 1979 (USA)

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DVD Review: ArrowDrome - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

ArrowDrome

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:39:00
Video

1.71:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.26 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: ArrowDrome

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.71:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director Jamaa Fanaka
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 4:13)
• Bonus Featuret: PENITENTIARY II (see below)
• Trailer for PENITENTIARY II (4:3; 2:29)
• Liner Notes Booklet by Calum Waddell
• Reversible Cover

DVD Release Date: February 13th 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

ArrowDrome have utilized the interlaced, non-anamorphic widescreen NTSC master that Xenon Video created for their US DVD. The feature is accompanied by an intermittent but interesting audio commentary by the director, who made the film while he was still a student at UCLA and was reluctant to graduate since his student status afforded him free equipment, locations (the UCLA cinema department buildings and exteriors were used for certain scenes), and grants (the film was funded by AFI, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, UCLA's own student grant program, and Fanaka's parents). This commentary was ported over from the US DVD; however, the sequel's commentary has not been ported over (although the sequel features two audio tracks here which appear to be the same). The sequel also utilizes Xenon's interlaced, non-anamorphic, widescreen master.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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(aka "Championship Fight" or "Black City Tiger")

 

directed by Jamaa Fanaka
USA 1982

 

Gordone "Too Sweet" Martel (Leon Isaac Kennedy) returns in PENITENTIARY II. Having made parole at the end of the first film after having defeated Jesse Amos (Donovan Womack) in the ring, Gordone is working part time as a delivery boy for his lawyer sister Ellen (Peggy Blow, RABBIT TEST); however, he is in danger of violating his parole which stipulated that he work for fight trainer Sam Cunningham (recast with Stan Kamber of Fanaka's infamous film SOUL VENGEANCE/WELCOME HOME, BROTHER CHARLES) even though Gordone hates boxing (since the conditions of the parole only state that he must "work" - as opposed to "fight" - for Cunningham for a year, he does janitorial work around the gym). When "Half Dead" (also recast with GHOSTBUSTERS' Ernie Hudson) gets out of the penitentiary and rapes and murders Gordone's girlfriend Clarisse (Eugenia Wright), Gordone injures him. Gordone steps back into the ring and starts training with recently released "Seldom Seen" (recast with Malik Carter, BLACK BELT JONES) - and Mr. T himself - and finds himself facing Jesse Amos in a televised penitentiary fight. Meanwhile, Half Dead's buddies "Do Dirty" (Cepheus Jaxon, who played another role in PENITENTIARY) and Simp (Marvin Jones) have busted him out of the hospital. While Half Dead goes after Gordone, Do Dirty and Simp target Gordone's sister, her husband (Glynn Turman, MEN OF HONOR), and Gary Coleman-esque nephew (Sephton Moody).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 2 April 1982 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: ArrowDrome - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

Distribution

ArrowDrome

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:43:32
Video

1.72:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.76 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: ArrowDrome

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.72:1

Edition Details:
• see above

DVD Release Date: February 13th 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

As with the first feature, Arrow has utilized Xenon's non-anamorphic widescreen NTSC master (note that Arrow's disc is Region 0 NTSC, not PAL). The image is progressive, but seems to be a progressive encoding of a hard-telecined 29.97 transfer (as opposed to a 23.976 telecine pulldown flags) since the image lacks interlacing artifacts but does feature field doubling when objects and people are moving in the frame. This is acceptable for this release given the standards set by the aged master of the first feature. Although there are two audio tracks, they seem to be the same track and Arrow has not carried over the commentary for the sequel from Xenon's OOP disc.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


 

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

ArrowDrome

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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