The Mack (1973) from Tuna

The Mack (1973) is a blacksploitation film about a young man, Goldie (Max Julien), who is released after 5 years in jail, and decides to become a pimp.

Goldie is wildly successful, but with the success comes problems. His brother, while he has been away, has become a black power activist, and s actively opposing Goldie's activities in an attempt to clean up the neighborhood. Two crooked cops, the ones who busted him, are being hurt financially by his brother's crusading, and think Goldie is getting too much of the street action. The local mob boss sees Goldie's growing business as a threat, and Goldie's brother as another. Therefore, the mobster has to hire Goldie or kill him, and had to get Goldie to stop his brother.


For a film about a pimp, there was very little nudity, but Carol Speed, who even kept her clothes on in Roger Corman's The Big Bird Cage, showed her breasts in bed with Goldie. I believe this is her only known exposure.
That is pretty much it.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • The DVD includes a commentary with everyone associated with the production, and a few that just wished they had been. They all talked as if it were a great achievement

  • Original Documentary: Mackin' Aint' Easy

  • Widescreen anamorphic format

The film was filmed in Oakland, California, in some rather unsavory areas, and was made using extensive research on local people "in the life". One of the points made by the film is that the black power movement began selling drugs to raise money to turn back into the community.

I am a fan of the genre, and didn't much care for this one. It had little of the usual Motown sounds, and not enough action. There was lots of posturing and looking cool. What violence there was, was done very matter of factly. I did enjoy a scene where Goldie makes a bomb with a stick of dynamite, sticks the dynamite in the mouth of a bad guy  tied in a chair, and lets him watch the timer tick down. It is an accurate portrayal of life in that sub-culture in the early 70s, but had very little entertainment value.  
Editorial commentary from

The Mack, a 1973 pimping epic, is at once a laughable, schlock classic and a harbinger of more serious black-themed films to come. Starring the now-forgotten Max Julien as Goldie, the preening ex-con whose dream is to rule the streets with a fine Cadillac and a fleet of topnotch hookers, this film is full of whip-crack, mostly improvised dialogue and hilarious stereotypes (the evil white cops, a wisdom-spouting blind man, and more trash-talkin' pimps than you could shake a walking stick at).

Not only is the film one you can chuckle at in the postmodern, ironic mode, it is also a window on the world of today's rap superstars, many of whom have sampled, invoked, or quoted lines from this gaudy paean to pandering. In other words, The Mack is a kind of godfather to a future stark frankness about life on the streets. But forget the sociological hooey and dig into the piece as an urban costume picture with a greasy/funky score by R&B genius Willie Hutch.

Also, it features an amazing supporting turn by Richard Pryor, who, playing Tonto to Julien's Lone Ranger, unleashes torrents of nearly incomprehensible verbiage in the film's finest moments. Mind you, such brilliance is a direct comedy-organ transplant from Pryor's stand-up act: he was performing his "Pimp on Blow" routine at about the same time The Mack was filmed. Seventy percent of this piece is dross, but the other 30 is the apex of urban surrealism. One vignette to tantalize: Goldie hypnotizing his "ladies" into docile submission as they sit in a planetarium, mechanically repeating his words: "I will remain a lady at all times..."

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-.

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