Darktown Strutters (1975)

Genres - Adventure, Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Blaxploitation, Parody/Spoof, Satire  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Donald Guarisco

New World Pictures released some unusual films in an attempt to corner the exploitation market's whims during its history - but Darktown Strutters definitely takes the cake. George Armitage's script mixes barbed social commentary, slapstick comedy, action and free-form craziness to create a thoroughly unpredictable storyline. Director William Witney has fun with the material, getting the most out of some bizarre Jack Fisk-designed sets and maintaining a machine-gun pace to keep up with story's manic, unpredictable style. Trina Parks makes a suitably statuesque heroine and shows some nice comic timing while Roger Mosley lends nice support as the gang leader who acts as her second banana. There's also a scene-stealing turn from Norman Bartold as the Colonel Sanders-styled villain. The resulting film may be too frenetic and odd for a lot of viewers but exploitation film fans who can tune in to its odd wavelength will find Darktown Strutters to be a fast-paced and highly original slab of b-movie ephemera.