Written by: George Pacheco on July 28th, 2016
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1975 (The Candy Tangerine Man / Lady Cocoa)
Director: Matt Cimber (Both Films)
Writer: Mikel Angel (Both Films)
Cast: John Daniels, Eli Haines, Tom Hankason, Marva Farmer, Richard Kennedy, George ‘Buck’ Flower, Marilyn Joi (The Candy Tangerine Man), Lola Falana, Gene Washington, Alex Dreier, Millie Perkins, Joe Greene, James A. Watson Jr., George ‘Buck’ Flower (Lady Cocoa)
BluRay released: July 26th, 2016
Approximate running times: 92 minutes (The Candy Tangerine Man), 91 minutes (Lady Cocoa)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Films)
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English (Both Films)
Subtitles: English SDH (Both Films)
BluRay Release: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98
Kudos to Vinegar Syndrome for their recent rescue of two lower tier blaxploitation films from the otherwise murky world of public domain and grey market hell. Candy Tangerine Man and Lady Cocoa both receive their best presentation on home video to date here on VinSyn’s new Blu-Ray, uncut and uncouth in all of their low brow glory.
Director Matt Cimber was no stranger to the black action medium, having helmed The Black Six in 1973 and the sexploitation mondo knock off Black is Beautiful in 1970, but these two films represented a definite upshift in quality when compared to these early efforts. Candy Tangerine Man in particular is notable for its gritty style, over the top performances and solid score from the obscure funk group Smoke.
The film follows Black Shampoo actor John Daniels as The Baron, a family man by day and feared hustler by night who runs against Italian gangsters and the police in his tricked out vintage ride hiding Tommy guns under the hood. Superfly or Foxy Brown this definitely a’int, as Cimber’s film occupies the sleazier side of the Blaxploitation canon more in line with the Dolemite or Black Gestapo esque films which ran through Times Square grindhouses during the 1970s. Still, Candy Tangerine Man moves along at a brisk pace, and is handled with enough experience to make it an easy watch for genre fans who will likely dig the jive quips and fun action set pieces. Oh, and be on the lookout for exploitation icon George “Buck” Flower and Kentucky Fried Movie star Marilyn Joi in small, but appreciated roles.
Lady Cocoa is also fun, and follows Vegas star Lola Falana as a mobster’s girl who receives a 24 hour reprieve from jail in order to testify against her former beau, played by “Mean” Joe Greene. The performances are noticeably more stilted in this outing, but Falana’s charisma as a performer shines through, even if her titular character is a bit incessant in her bad attitude and whining. There isn’t a lot of action to be had here when compared to the Candy Tangerine Man, but it’s still tons of fun to watch the gorgeous Falana strut her stuff as an actress in a film which makes a nice bonus to the main feature.
The Candy Tangerine Man and Lady Cocoa come on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. Both films are presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Transfers for both films have been scanned and restored in 2k from 35mm archival prints. Though the sources used for both of these transfers have some mild wear and tear. The end results are easily the best these two films have ever looked on home video.
Each film comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and removable English SDH have been included with this release. The audio sounds, clean, clear and balanced.
Extras for this release include, a reversible cover art, an introduction / interview with director Matt Cimber and an audio commentary track for the film Lady Cocoa with Matt Cimber and John Goff.
Topics discussed in the interview with Matt Cimber include, why he wanted to make a film like The Candy Tangerine Man, how the lead character was based on someone he knew, screenwriter Mike Angel and what happened to this film’s original camera negative.
Topics discussed in audio commentary include, the origins of Lady Cocoa, working with Lola Falana, the dangers of shooting in a women’s prison, how the original title of the film was Pop Goes the Weasel, the cast & crew and information about them, the origins about The Candy Tangerine Man and other production related topics for both films.
Also included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo. Overall another excellent release from Vinegar Syndrome.