Dolemite (1975)

dolemite poster 1975 movie
2.0 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 1/10
Visuals: 2/10

So-bad-it-is-good, there are worse films

Nothing and everything

Movie Info

Movie Name: Dolemite

Studio: Comedian International Enterprises

Genre(s): Blaxploitation/Action/Adventure/Comedy

Release Date(s): April 26, 1975

MPAA Rating: R

dolemite dance motherfucker dance

Dolemite and his women don’t take s#*! from anyone!

Dolemite (Rudy Ray Moore) has been released from prison to work undercover to discover who is pumping drugs into the community and helped lead to his nephew’s death.  With the police out to get him and his friend turned rival Willie Green (D’Urville Martin) running his old club, Dolemite is kicking ass and taking names and the conspiracy could lead straight to the top!  If someone gets in Dolemite’s way, they’re going to pay!

Directed by D’Urville Martin, Dolemite is an independent blaxploitation action-comedy.  The film was based on Rudy Ray Moore’s stand-up Dolemite character and Moore helped develop the story for the film while financing it.   The film became one of the biggest independent hit films of all time.  It was the subject of the 2019 biopic comedy Dolemite Is My Name starring Eddie Murphy.

I knew Dolemite, but I hadn’t seen it when I saw Dolemite Is My Name.  I was not aware that the film premiered in Indianapolis in a theater not far from where I live (which no longer exists) and that from there it springboarded to a massive hit.  Watching Dolemite, it is both fun and cringe-worthy…and just what you’d expect.

dolemite hamburger pimp creeper vainus rackstraw rudy ray moore

Oh, Hamburger Pimp…I love you too

The story is nonsensical.  There is a drug conspiracy, corrupt cops, corrupt politicians, and a corrupt gang leader.  Instead of actively trying to hunt down these characters, Dolemite pretty much slips back into his “pre-prison” life, spends a lot of time doing beat-poetry (which led to Moore being considered the “Godfather of Rap”) and of course hanging out with his karate women’s squad…oh, then he solves the crime.  It is one step above a porn movie, but it seems to know that enjoy the goofiness of the film.

Rudy Ray Moore is a screen gem.  He is pudgy, looks confused most of the scenes, and has the worst karate skills since Napoleon Dynamite…but his earnest nature and commitment to Dolemite earns points (not acting points…but points).  The director D’Urville Martin (who had some screen credit) plays the heavy and the screenwriter Jerry Jones plays the undercover FBI agent.  Many of the roles in the film went to friends of Rudy Ray Moore and it is pretty obvious at points.  I also love “Creeper” played by Vainus Rackstraw who is also known as Hamburger Pimp…he seemed to really get into his junkie role.

dolemite may killed

…and the Man is dead

The movie doesn’t look as isn’t as bad as something like Manos:  The Hands of Fate, but it is obvious that the filmmakers were novice movie makers when you watch it.  Weird edits, weird dubs, and odd choices of shooting plague the film.  I like the opening which feels more like opening credits of a 1970s cop show than a movie…but it works with everything else.

The movie is totally worth seeking out.  I actually recommend watching it in the order I watched it (aka Dolemite Is My Name and then the movie) because you can get an idea what the people went through to get the movie to the screen.  Movies like Black Dynamite took the Dolemite script and ran with it, but Dolemite itself feels original and cliche at the same time.  It feels like Ed Wood met Foxy Brown and Shaft…and the cheapness multiplies the fun.  Dolemite is his name and f*!#in’ up motherf#!# is his game!

Related Links:

Dolemite Is My Name (2019)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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