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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Willie Dynamite [Blu-ray]

 

(Gilbert Moses, 1974)

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Universal Pictures

Video: Arrow Video

 

Disc:

Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:41:55.859 

Disc Size: 37,800,570,404 bytes

Feature Size: 30,770,439,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.11 Mbps

Chapters: 6

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 6th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Kiss My Baad Asss, a guide to blaxploitation hosted by actor and musician Ice-T, and featuring interviews with Richard Roundtree, Melvin van Peebles, Isaac Hayes and others (24:40)
Theatrical trailer (2:01)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully illustrated collector s booklet containing new writing on the film by Cullen Gallagher

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The hands-down winner of the all-out best blaxploitation movie of the seventies, declares author and artist Darius James in That's Blaxploitation! Willie Dynamite may not be as well-known as John Shaft, Sweet Sweetback or Super Fly s Youngblood Priest, but he certainly deserves to be.

Who is Willie Dynamite? He s the flashiest pimp in New York he drives a personalised purple-and-gold Cadillac and wears some of the most eye-catching outfits ever seen on a cinema screen. He wants to be number one, but with the police, the D.A., fellow pimps and a tough-talking social worker on his tail, can a man as arrogant and amoral as Willie D avoid a downfall?

Willie Dynamite competes with the best of blaxploitation on all levels. Roscoe Orman dominates with his central performance a star turn that s the equal of Richard Roundtree in Shaft or Pam Grier in Coffy. Multi-award-winning director Gilbert Moses balances action and social commentary as deftly as Gordon Parks, Jr. did with Super Fly. And the score by J.J. Johnson featuring Motown legend Martha Reeves is as catchy as anything composed by Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield or James Brown.

***

Willie Dynamite is a pimp who operates in New York City. Willie was a big success as a pimp, but now, just as fast as he rose to the top, he has hit bottom. A former prostitute who has become a social worker tries to get Willie to clean up his life while it is still possible.

 

 

The Film:

When enterprising pimp Willie Dynamite (Roscoe Orman) refuses to agree to a mandate that would assign pimps to specific districts, he sets himself on a collision course with Bell (Roger Robinson), the kingpin of New York prostitution. Worse yet, Willie comes under the scrutiny of a pair of detectives. And then there's Cora (Diana Sands), a former prostitute now employed as a social worker, who aims to take down Willie's operation by preaching reform to his girlsh.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

 

The movie, about the decline and fall of a black New York superpimp nicknamed Willie Dynamite, has a promising beginning. The costumes, language, melodrama, performances and even the soundtrack music are so outrageously broad it seems as if the film were putting itself on, parodying such earlier live-action black cartoons as "The Mack" and "Cleopatra Jones," Not at all. It wants a piece of the same action.

Willie Dynamite (Roscoe Orman), who dresses every morning as if he were going to a Mardi Gras ball before lunch, may not have happiness but he has everything else: a lavender-and-gold, supercharged Lincoln, a magnificent pad that looks like the Castro showroom on Duffy Square, a nice middle-class mother who lives in New Jersey and thinks he is some sort of artists' agent, and a stable of six super-women who have free run of what could be the New York Hilton.

When the cops put the heat on whoring, Willie, idealistic loner that he is, refuses to join the city's other major pimps in a mutual-protection agency.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

 

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Willie Dynamite gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Arrow (UK).  It's dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate for the 1 hour 40-minute feature. Colors are brighter and truer than SD and there is a consistent layer of grain present. The 1080P supports solid contrast and some minor depth in the 1.85:1 frame.  It's very clean showcasing a very solid image. This Blu-ray presents the film about as good as one could expect for digital. I is surprisingly strong.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The audio is transferred using a linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps (24-bit). Score by J.J. Johnson with pieces entitled Willie D., King Midas, and Keep On Movin' On as sung by Martha Reeves (as 'Martha Reeves & The Sweet Things') plus we get the 'Willie Chase' theme. All totally suitable to the genre and sounding as funky as you might anticipate but clean and clear via the uncompressed. Nothing but positives here for the audio transfer as well. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

The major supplement is the 25-minute video piece Kiss My Baad Asss, a guide to blaxploitation hosted by actor and musician Ice-T, and featuring interviews with Richard Roundtree, Melvin van Peebles, Isaac Hayes and others. There is also a theatrical trailer and the package has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips and for the first pressing (only) a fully illustrated collector's booklet containing new writing on the film by Cullen Gallagher.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Willie Dynamite seems like pretty pure Blaxploitation. fans of the genre should get a lot out of this in terms of the narrow, but fun, appeal - same themes and character traits. The Arrow (UK) Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation with the cool video extra and booklet. I met a guy who only collects Blaxploitation - it's his thing. I didn't realize there was so much available now on Blu-ray... Willie Dynamite sure qualifies! 

 

Gary Tooze

February 8th, 2017


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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