Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 16th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1979
Director: J. Robert Wagoner
Writers: J. Robert Wagoner, Cliff Roquemore
Cast: Rudy Ray Moore, Carol Speed, Jimmy Lynch, Jerry Jones, Lady Reed, Hawthorne James, Frank Finn, Julius Carry
BluRay released: August 30th, 2016
Approximate running times: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: Things get personal when a retired cop who has since become a celebrity DJ named Disco Godfather is informed that his nephew in hooked on PCP. From there Disco Godfather takes the law into his own hands and no drug dealer is safe from his wrath.
Rudy Ray Moore’s last film from the 1970’s Disco Godfather once again takes a turn from familiar formula laid out in his previous films. And though humor plays a role in Disco Godfather, content wise there was a concerted effort to create a more mainstream film with a message. With the message at the heart of this film being the recent proliferation of PCP use in the inner cities.
Besides shift in tone, another area where this film is sure to draw criticism is its use of disco music and its lifestyle. The Disco music genre that time was already in its death throes and since then it has not aged well in the court of public opinion. Fortunately for die hard Rudy Ray Moore fans there is more than enough of him doing the things that he does best and this more than negates this film’s other short comings.
From a production stand point though the film retains the majority of those responsible for his films that preceded Disco Godfather. With the key behind the scenes role of director being given to a first-time filmmaker J. Robert Wagoner. Unfortunately, unlike Cliff Roquemore another first-time director who would go onto director two more films with Rudy Ray Moore. Disco Godfather would mark J. Robert Wagoner only feature film as a director.
Another strength of this film are its visuals which takes surrealism to another level. And without a doubt the most interesting visuals moments are when characters are tripping out on PCP. Performance wise Rudy Ray Moore once again delivers the goods with a charismatic character who presence dominates throughout.
Disco Godfather comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release a brand new HD master has been created from restored 35mm negative. This is another solid HD upgrade that vastly improves upon all previous home video releases for this film.
This release comes with one audio, a DTS-HD mix in mono English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds clean, clear and balanced. Also the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented.
Extras for this release include, reversible cover art, a stills gallery, an option to listen to the soundtrack, trailers for Dolemite (2 minutes 55 seconds), The Human Tornado (2 minutes 45 seconds) and Disco Godfather (3 minutes 30 seconds), a featurette titled I, Dolemite Part IV: The Disco Godfather (25 minutes 14 seconds) and an audio commentary track with Rudy Ray Moore’s biographer, Mark Jason Murray, Rudy Ray Moore, writer/director J. Robert Wagoner and co-writer Cliff Roquemore.
Topics discussed in the extra titled I, Dolemite Part IV: Disco Godfather include, the origins of the project and why they chose to make a message film instead of comedy, cinematographer Arledge Armenaki, this film’s main location The Dunbar hotel, Rudy Ray Moore and other films that he made and Rappers comments on the Rudy Ray Moore’s films.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, disco’s popularity in the 1970’s, the anti-drug angle in Disco Godfather, why they chose to make a message film instead of comedy, The Dunbar hotel and locations featured in the film, difficulties that arose throughout the production, Rudy Ray Moore and J. Robert Wagoner’s thoughts about how the film turned out, the score / music that appears in the film and this extra also features on set audio recordings.
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 exceptional release from Vinegar Syndrome.