Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 9th, 2016
BluRay released: April 26th, 2016
Approximate running times: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC and 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98
When discussing Dolemite everything begins and ends with its star Rudy Ray Moore, a stand-up comedian who was making feature film debut as an actor. Fortunate by the time he shot this film it had been five years since he first introduced the Dolemite character on his comedy album titled Eat Out More Often. And what appears onscreen is a confident and utterly convincing performance that carries the film’s. Also the film’s main performance Signifying Monkey, which was latter adapted into the rap song Signifying Rapper performed by Schoolly D. and this song latter rose to prominence after being featured in Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant.
Besides Moore the only other cast recognizable cast member is D’Urville Martin (Black Caesar, Hell up in Harlem) in the role of Willie Green, he is Dolemite’s arch nemeses. Besides a prominent role in the film, Martin also directs the film. Needless to say his performance lacks the energy that Moore’s performance brings to the film.
Shot on very limited budget. Don’t let this film’s rough around the edges appearance fool you! This film takes a premise that is ripe with potential and exploits it’s for all its worth. The narrative is well laid out and pacing is never an issues as things move briskly from one outlandish moment to the next. And when it comes to Blaxploitation staples this film milks them for all their worth and then some.
Dolemite comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release a brand new 2k transfer was created from the film’s original 35mm negative. And the end result is easily the best this film has looked on home video to date. Colors look accurate, details look crisp and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English. There are no major issues with background hiss, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. With the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack being well represented throughout. Also included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include, a reversible cover art option, trailers for Dolemite (2 minutes 55 seconds) and The Human Tornado (2 minutes 45 seconds), a Locations Then and Now featurette (1 minute 47 seconds), a featurette about actor Rudy Ray Moore titled I, Dolemite (24 minutes 1 second), an interview with actress Lady Reed (23 minutes 14 seconds) and a historical audio commentary with Rudy Ray Moore biographer Mark Jason Murray.
Topics discussed in the featurette include, Rudy Ray Moore’s early days as a performer, the origins of the Dolemite character, Dolemite the feature film, the difficulty writing dialog for Rudy Ray Moore, information about the cast & crew, the film’s anemic budget and how the film actually went over budget, how the film was shot in seventeen days, the music that appears in the film, audience reaction to the film and how it was an unsuspected box office hit.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, the origins of the Dolemite, how Rudy Ray Moore personally funded the film, information the cast and crew and how the majority of them were first time actors, the music that appears in the film, locations featured in the film, other production related topics and his own personal memories of Rudy Ray Moore.
Other extras include the alternate “Boom Mic” open matte version of the film (89 minutes 49 seconds – 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio 1080 Progressive, in English). 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 Dolemite gets a definitive release from Vinegar Syndrome, highly recommend.