Black Mama, White Mama - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Black Mama, White Mama Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ March 6, 2017
"How exploitative," one might well ask before seriously considering this cultural bon mot (and one would be right to do so), this walk on the wild side? The opening credits are still afterburning your eyes and the ladies get naked forthwith. Egad, what culture! Fun from the 70's, nearly as good as The Godfather!
½ January 21, 2017
While it's paint by numbers within the genre, It's still a fun and enjoyable piece of exploitation cinema.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2016
There's some fun to be had, but for the rest of the running time it just plods along.
July 26, 2015
Think I've seen this.
Clintus M.
Super Reviewer
March 27, 2015
This film blew away my expectations. Part of the appeal is admittedly its 70s "vibe." I mean, who today would use the term "mama" in this hip, sexy context? And no, neither woman appears to be a mother either. This is a mix-up of women behind bars, blaxsploitation, and the racial element from The Defiant Ones. Yet, it's even more than, and highly entertaining as well. This movie features two great female leads, both determined to overcome long odds as well as each other. It's also got four competing groups: corrupt politicians, leftist revolutionaries, thuggish bandits, and some sort of Pilipino mafia. Believe it or not. A plausible case could even be made that this is a political film, but that's just a 70s element thrown in for drama.
Of course, there's a women's prison lesbian element and an element of women being abused by criminals and the system too. It is an exploitation flick at heart. As others have claimed, this isn't Pam Grier's best work, but watch it for pure fun anyway.
January 31, 2015
A pretty entertaining blacksploitation film.
January 29, 2015
Pam is back inside. Has all the hallmarks of a Chicks N' Chains flick but focuses more on the unlikely pair and their escape. Serious twitch off Pam Grier. Sid Haig yet again is the balls.
November 15, 2014
Brought to a women's prison in a tropical country which resembles the film's Philippines-set location, Lee (Pam Grier) and Karen (Margaret Markov) encounter sadistic matron Densmore (Lynn Borden) who voyeuristically observes through a peephole as the inmates take a shower. Prone to emotional outbursts, she orders a guard to escort Lee to her private room, puts on a black glove and strikes Lee across the face, but is almost immediately restrained when the level-headed warden Logan (Laurie Burton), with whom she has a lesbian relationship, forcibly enters the room and orders Lee's return to the prisoners' area. Following a fight in the prisoners' meal hall between Lee and Karen, which spreads into a free-for-all, the two are punished by lockup inside a metal box exposed to the broiling tropical sun, with only enough space to stand back-to-back and, shortly thereafter, scheduled for transfer to a maximum security prison. As the lightly escorted bus traverses a country road close to the jungle, the convoy is attacked by revolutionaries, led by Ernesto (Zaldy Zschornack), bent on rescuing his companion, Karen, a key member of the group. In the ensuing battle, Lee and Karen, who are chained to each other, strangle matron Densmore with their chain, while warden Logan is fatally shot by the rebels. At that point, army reinforcements led by Captain Cruz (Eddie Garcia) arrive on the scene, the rebels retreat and Lee and Karen run into the woods. They subsequently force a couple of nuns to give them their habits, then travel on a bus in this disguise and, later, after getting a ride from a truck driver (Bruno Punzalah), throw him out of the truck and drive off. Before being sentenced on a drug charge, Lee was a prostitute for the region's most prominent pimp and drug dealer Vic Cheng (Vic Diaz), whose $40,000 of ill-gotten profits she managed to hide and, as a result, is now being hunted by him and his henchmen. Lee and Karen chained together needs to find their way across the wilderness and survive all the dangers they encounter on their way to freedom...

"Black Mama, White Mama" is a 1973 women in prison film with elements of blaxploitation and actually not that bad in that genre. Despite the fact that we get to see the usual lesbian guards, nudity, violence, exploitation of women etc this movie still has a production value (even if it´s a B-movie). Pam Grier and Margaret Markov are both will powered, independent, strong and beautiful women in their roles. What actually makes "Black Mama, White Mama" really work is that we have the side stories (beside the usual women in prison story), on one hand the revolutionaries that tries to find their member Karen and on the other hand Vic Cheng´s bandits that tries to find Lee and the $40,000. Meaning the storyline is quite vivid, dynamic and has many colourful characters based in good and truly evil.
September 6, 2014
You can stick that up your ass!

Two women locked up in a third world prison get to know each other. Karen Brent is a white woman who works for a revolutionary colony that hopes to free the country and get rid of prisons like the one she finds herself in. Lee Daniels is a former drug smuggler from the city. She wants to escape and get a boat back to her homeland. The two girls work together to see if they can accomplish their goals.

"He doesn't have the balls to pressure us!"

Eddie Romero, director of Beyond Atlantis, A Case of Honor, Desire, Blood Devils, The Ravagers, Lost Battalion, and The Passionate Strangers, delivers Black Mama White Mama. The storyline for this picture is entertaining and fun to watch unfold. This reminded me a little of The Big Bird Cage. The acting was above average and the action scenes were as you'd expect from this era. The cast includes Pam Grier, Margaret Markov, Sid Haig, and Lynn Borden.

"She tells me she's a good friend of yours too!"

I grabbed this off Netflix as a nice grindhouse picture I had never seen and needed to lay my eyes upon. The characters were okay and the dialogue was better than I expected. The overall film is a nice addition to the grindhouse genre but far from a classic. I do recommend giving this picture a viewing if you're a fan of the genre, but I would hesitate to add this to my DVD collection.

"I'm not as stupid as I look. I know who you are."

Grade: C+
½ January 24, 2014
Exploitation film gender-bends The Defiant Ones.
½ September 7, 2013
Solid, exploitative stuff, with Pam Grier and Margaret Markov as two chained-together inmates who escape from a Filipino women's prison. I have a fondness for pictures that mish-mash grindhouse staples -- in this case, blaxploitation, sexploitation, women-in-prison, violent action, etc. You cover a lot of ground that way, and 'Black Mama, White Mama' manages to put it all together so it's consistently entertaining. Any time you've got Sid Haig appearing in a Pam Grier movie, that's always a good thing, too. The conclusion has something bold to say about what one's freedom should ultimately be used for -- so, extra-added bonus.
March 7, 2013
I've never seen any other movies in this genre and I thought it was very very early 70s. Up to now, I just knew Pam Grier for her role on the lame-ass "L-word" so it was cool to see her in her heyday.
½ December 29, 2012
Pam goes to prison - again--Whoa mama!!
August 29, 2012
This sleazy, cheap, action-adventure does have its moments. Grier and Markov do well in their roles but they don't seem to have any chemistry together. The story takes awhile to get it rolling. The second half is more successful than the first half. Haig steals the show, when he is on-screen as a sleazy drug dealer, who dresses himself as a cowboy. Who is also a tracker, who trying to find Grier and Markov in the movie. Perphas it is notable that Oscar-Winner Jonathan Demme co-wrote the story. A tribute to "The Defiant Ones" to some degree. Although Grier and Markov don't hate eachother as much. It is watchable, especially for fans of Grier's work and Haig's work.
April 24, 2012
From Filipino director Eddie Romero, who moved to America with Beast of the Yellow Night (1971) and Beast of Blood (1971), he took on this crime thriller, co-written by Jonathan Demme, (before he became famous), which was shot in the Philippines. It's a good film as well, lurid and bloody, but exactly what you'd expect from this kind of film. Set somewhere on an island in the South Seas, where there's a woman's prison which is ran by Matron Densmore (Lynn Borden), One of the prisoners Lee Daniels (Pam Grier) who is also the girlfriend of the island's biggest pimp and drug dealer Ernesto (Zaldy Zschornack), runs away while being moved to another facility are a group of revolutionary rebels, unfortunately Lee Daniels is chained to Karen Brent (Margaret Markov), whom Lee got into a fight with. Karen is one of the leads of the rebels, and they end up on the run, and Lee has made off with $40,000 of Ernesto's money. Even though they're in chains, Karen wants to go and fight the rebels while Lee wants to run off with the money, but it's not long before Ernesto is looking for them. It's quite suspenseful but fun and seedy as well, kinda like an exploitation version of The Defiant Ones (1958), but Grier and Markov play off each other well getting into unbelievable situations throughout the film. You won't get a film like this again.
August 21, 2011
They are kinda entertaining these movie. I guess if you've seen one then there's no need to see the rest.
½ May 1, 2011
No, the women-in-prison films generally didn't have sequels, they just recycled the same actors and plots under different names.
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2010
Another boring women behind bars movie, so boring and predictable, I didn't watch the whole thing.
November 5, 2010
Oh, this movie is bad, so so SO bad... From Pam Grier arriving in prison in galadress and being met by Dyke Barbie prison guard in hot pants, to the giggling, jiggling playfight in the prison showers (what else would nubile young women do right after being thrown in the filthiest prison I ever saw) to being watched by a furiously masturbating Dyke Barbie, and on past a plot that includes heavily armed pimps, ho's nipples being hooked to a car battery, lesbians strangled with chains, blook more fake than anything I've seen outside a child's drawing, guerillas, corrupt everythings, and Pam Grier's pendulous naked breasts swinging across the screen, THIS IS SO BAD.

Clearly, everyone should see it right away.
½ August 17, 2010
Jonathan Demme got story credit on this one and did the same thing he did with "Angels Hard as They Come". In that one he took the story from "Rashômon" and put it into a biker film. In "Black Mama, White Mama" he took the story from "The Defiant Ones" and put it into a women in prison film. Not the worst of it's kind but it's not the best either.
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