The theatrical poster from American International Pictures screamed “Chicks in Chains.” That’s all the temptation needed for many a young man during January of 1973 to brave the cold and check out Black Mama, White Mama at their local theatre.
They were not disappointed in this Blaxploitation film starring Pam Grier that also managed to include other genre favorites, such as women in prison, leering lesbians, “cat fights,” drug lords, revolutionaries and even nuns stripped of their habits, all of which was crammed into 87 minutes of non-stop action by director Eddie Romero (Beast of the Yellow Night, The Twilight People, Savage Sisters, etc.). Whew!
Word arrived this past week that Arrow Video, with sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has a new hi-def Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack edition planned for delivery to eager fans on Mar. 22.
The Blaxploitation cycle hit its stride in 1972 with films like Super Fly, Hammer and Across 110th Street and so the arrival of this Pam Grier action flick was perfectly timed and with a title such as Black Mama, White Mama what more could audiences of the day ask for!
As for Pam Grier, this was her fourth “women in prison” film in just two years — The Big Doll House, Women in Cages and The Big Bird Cage — but that cycle was about to change and a full-blown star would be born with her next film, Coffy.
Here, Grier finds herself sentenced to a jungle hell hole, run by a sadistic lesbian played by the late Lynn Borden (Frogs, Walking Tall, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, etc.), who likes to check out the prisoners voyeuristically before having her way with them. Also sentenced to this lovely place is Karen (Margaret Markov (Pretty Maids All in a Row, The Hot Box, etc.), the main squeeze of the local revolutionary, Ernesto (Zaldy Zschornack).
Let’s just say that these two don’t hit it off — “cat fight” — which lands them chained together (an homage to The Defiant Ones) and on a bus bound for a super max prison. The bus is attacked by Ernesto, things don’t go as planned, and our “black mama” and our “white mama” are chained together, in ultra-short prison-issued “mini-skirts” and on the run. They are hunted like dogs by literally everyone, including bounty hunter Ruben (played by Sid Haig) … run, mama, run!
Bonus goodies planned by Arrow Video include commentary by author and filmmaker Andrew Leavold (The Search for Weng Weng, Lesbo-A-Go-Go, etc.), a vintage video session with Margaret Markov and two featurettes — “Sid’s Filipino Adventure” and “The Mad Director of Blood Island.”