10 September 2007 | tmpj
Actually...not a bad movie....
I saw this film a number of years back---circa 1990---on PBS. It got ONE airing...and I never saw it again. I had even forgotten the title...until I ran across it by accident.
Charles Lane pays homage---in a manner of speaking---to Chaplin...by way of default. This was a period when Blacks were still struggling to get any film made...and struggling to have films released. Lane ran out of dollars, evidenced by some few moments of sound.
But he manages to salvage the film in the style of pantomime...like the "ol' time flickers". This film is more a commentary on the times, than an homage to any particular screen idol of the past. Homelessness and poverty are its main themes, and the struggle to survive is intensified when the hero takes on the added responsibility of caring for a child whose parent has gone down in an "unfortunate happenstance".
The acting is natural, not campy, and there are a few "hot scenes". But, all in all the film is a good watch, rather touching at points, filled with 'Chaplin-esque' pathos (a la "The Kid"...but it doesn't get quite that intensely mushy). However, the closing scene is pretty intense, and reveals a bit of the pain, misery and suffering all too pervasive during that time---all in the name of greed--and much of which remains with us to this day.
Charles Lane needs to make other films, and he needs to put this one back into circulation--it merits an across the board viewing. This one is a stand alone of the genre of Black films and, though it had nothing even close to the budget of Mel Brook's "Silent Movie", its point are well taken. It is a movie that you will enjoy...and I would caution having the kids watch due to some sexual situations and a little violence. But enjoy. I don't know if this film is back in circulation---I understand it has been out of circulation for some time...but I would not mind coming into possession of a copy.