Boss Nigger

Overview

Fred "The Hammer" Williamson delivers a crash course in race relations to the Old West in this western, originally released in 1975 as Boss Nigger and given the less-confrontational title Boss for this DVD edition from VCI Entertainment. Boss (which still features the original title on screen and in its title tune, a handle Williamson explains and endorses in a text-only preface for this edition) has been given a widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed at 2.35:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for ...
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DVD (Wide Screen / Enhanced)
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Overview

Fred "The Hammer" Williamson delivers a crash course in race relations to the Old West in this western, originally released in 1975 as Boss Nigger and given the less-confrontational title Boss for this DVD edition from VCI Entertainment. Boss (which still features the original title on screen and in its title tune, a handle Williamson explains and endorses in a text-only preface for this edition) has been given a widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed at 2.35:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16x9 monitors. The image quality is good but not great; the print used is clean enough, but the colors are often muddy and the picture is a bit on the soft side, looking as if little had been done to improve the picture for this new edition. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Stereo, retaining the original monophonic sound mix, and the fidelity is about on a par with the image, not bad but not impressive either. The dialogue is in English, with no subtitles or multiple language options included. As a bonus, the disc includes a 27-minute interview with Fred Williamson in which he talks about his careers in football and motion pictures, two shorter interviews with Myrl Schreibman who discusses the making of Boss and working with director Jack Arnold, and the film's original theatrical trailer (as well as previews of three other blaxpolitation titles available from VCI). This edition of Boss leaves a bit to be desired technically, but fans of Fred Williamson's two-fisted screen persona will be glad to see one of his Seventies hits available again, and the bonus interview shows the Hammer hasn't lost a bit of his swagger or style.
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Special Features

Original theatrical trailer; "A Conversation with Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson with Joel Blumberg; "A Boss Memory" with producer Myrl Schreibman; A Jack Arnold tribute by producer Myrl Schreibman
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Jack Arnold directed a handful of smart, snappy and memorable genre pictures in the 1950's, including The Incredible Shrinking Man, It Came From Outer Space, High School Confidential and No Name On The Bullet, showing he knew how to make something fun and memorable out of ordinary material. But by 1975, Arnold was making a living knocking out episodes of The Brady Bunch and Love American Style, and there wasn't a lot of inspiration to be found in his work for hire. That's the biggest problem with Boss Nigger, a blaxploitation western Arnold cranked out in 1975 for producer, screenwriter, star and all-around badass Fred Williamson; Arnold's direction is professional, no more and no less, and keeps the story moving forward but never kicks this picture into third gear, creeping along without gaining momentum and giving the material about as much visual excitement as one of his episodes of Nanny and the Professor. As is so often the case in a grade-B western, it's up to the cast to bring some personality to this story, and they almost save the day. R.G. Armstrong and William Smith don't exactly break new ground as the city's corrupt sheriff and a sadistic outlaw, but they bring the sort of juice that made them fan favorites for folks who dig genre cinema, and there's something entertainingly surreal about seeing D'urville Martin bringing his sub-Dolemite comic relief to the Old West. But the star of this picture is Fred Williamson, and as usual the Hammer delivers the goods; he's not much on the subtle stuff, but when it comes time to show some swagger, take on the bad guys and kick some serious butt, Williamson can come to the rescue without forsaking his anti-hero status, and he takes this role just seriously enough to be commanding while displaying just enough tongue-in-cheek humor to let the fans know he's having fun playing cowboy. Boss Nigger lacks the iconic status of Williamson's earlier period effort The Legend of Nigger Charley, and not without reason -- for the most part, this is a standard-issue formula western dressed up with some blaxploitation gingerbread. But Williamson and his supporting cast give the picture more energy than it would likely have had with another cast, and fans of the Hammer will find it to be good, undemanding fun.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/21/2008
  • UPC: 089859058424
  • Original Release: 1974
  • Source: Vci Video
  • Region Code: 0
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Enhanced
  • Time: 1:27:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 28,734

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jerry Butler
Mike Horner
Angel Kelly
Krista Lane
Shauna McCullough
R.G. Armstrong Mayor
Carmen Hayworth Clara Mae
Barbara Leigh Miss Pruitt
D'Urville Martin Amos
William Smith Jed Clayton
Fred Williamson Boss Nigger
Don "Red" Barry
Carmen Zapata
Ben Zeller Blacksmith
Elizabeth Saxon Uppity Wife
V. Phipps-Wilson Bubbles
Philip L. Mead Mayor's Man
Technical Credits
Jack Arnold Director, Producer
Robert Caramico Cinematographer
Gene Ruggiero Editor
Fred Williamson Producer, Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Boss
1. Bounty Hunters [3:34]
2. Intro [1:59]
3. Good Samaritan [4:36]
4. Black Devils [7:49]
5. Shoe Shine! [7:20]
6. New Sheriff [8:31]
7. Shopping Spree [10:19]
8. Peeping Tom [7:21]
9. House Call [6:23]
10. Jed Clayton [14:23]
11. Recovery [10:12]
12. Comeupance [10:11]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Boss
   Play
   Scenes
   Extras
      A Conversation With Fred "The Hammer" Williamson With Joel Blumberg
      "A Boss Memory" With Producer Myrl Schreibman
      A Jack Arnold Tribute by Producer Myrl Schreibman
      Original Theatrical Trailer
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