A "Jean Genet" is credited as co-writer. Make of that what you will...
Joins Mandingo, Drum, Farewell, Uncle Tom, Man Friday and of course - Fight For Your Life in the genre that must remain unnamed.
Poor Pretty Eddie is a bizarre concoction, the sort of movie that they just don't make anymore, and certainly not in the way in which this politically incorrect creation from 1974 was made. Released on DVD in 2006 with a fairly lousy and dark transfer, the film has been issued in a Blu-ray and DVD combo pack by the folks at HD Cinema Classics. Remastered in high definition by Film Chest, Inc. from a 35mm theatrical print, Poor Pretty Eddie concerns an African-American singer, Liz Weatherly (Leslie Uggams), who ends up stranded in the woods after her car breaks down and encounters a bizarre group of characters. Due to the presence of the newly-built interstate (have you ever noticed how all of these characters’ ills are attributed to government highways?), the remote southern town that she stumbles across is on its last legs. It would be impossible to discuss this film without making a mention of John Boorman’s Deliverance made two years prior to it, and all of the backwoods redneck jokes that probably popped into the audiences’ minds while viewing the film.
Weatherly takes a room at an inn that is home to a group of show business wannabes, most notably Bertha (the always reliable nutcase Shelley Winters, fresh from her turns as Mrs. Armstrong, Auntie Roo and Helen Hill), Bertha’s lover Eddie (Michael Christian) who has patterned himself after Elvis and sees Bertha as his ticket to fame, Keno (Ted Cassidy aka Lurch) the handyman, and Sheriff Orville (Slim Pickens). Dub Taylor even shows up! The Charlie Williams Pinecrest Lodge in Athens, GA doubles as the inn - where 90% of the action was filmed. The film appears to have a look and feel that seems to almost be drug-induced, with a strange array of characters and big colors as part of the set design. It is an unpredictable hodgepodge of weirdness and must be seen to be believed.
Cinematographer David Worth provides a very interesting and entertaining commentary along with cult film historian Joe Rubin. Mr. Worth’s loquacity is matched only by his erudition of the film business, and for a film made nearly 40 years ago he speaks with tremendous flair and great recollection, despite his claims to the contrary. In the early 1970s, aspiring editors and directors generally cut their teeth in what was then known as the porn industry (now called the “adult film industry” – it has become more respectable I suppose!). They rarely had their names appear in the credits of such fair. Poor Pretty Eddie was no stranger to controversy, as it contains a rape scene involving Eddie and Liz; the scene juxtaposes images of dogs mating in slow motion. Make of THAT what you will!
The transfer is in high definition, although the print is not completely free of lines and scratches, particularly just after the head of the reel changes. This is a minor complaint, however. The audio is especially good - no English subtitles, however.
In addition to the feature audio commentary, the package contains the following extras:
- Theatrical Trailer
- Production Stills
- A historical essay
- A neat postcard featuring the original poster art
- A restoration demonstration