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Cast: Mario Van Peebles, Khleo Thomas, T.K. Carter, Ossie Davis


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Director Mario Van Peebles' lovingly made homage to his legendary filmmaker father Melvin Van Peebles' career-defining independent feature Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song arrives on DVD in fine form from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the image is generally stable despite some minor evidence of edge-enhancement


Director Mario Van Peebles' lovingly made homage to his legendary filmmaker father Melvin Van Peebles' career-defining independent feature Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song arrives on DVD in fine form from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the image is generally stable despite some minor evidence of edge-enhancement. Colors are evenly balanced and blacks solid. Audio is presented in closed-captioned English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and rings through clearly without any distortion or hiss. Optional French, Portuguese, and Spanish subtitles are also accessible. For those who know and love the film that inspired Baadasssss!, Columbia TriStar has opted to include some truly captivating bonus materials that involve both generations of Van Peebles. A lively and informative audio commentary track features both Melvin and Mario, opening with the father giving his son's film a heartfelt blessing and going on to discuss the numerous parallels shared by Baadasssss! and Sweetback. Of course, Melvin offers a wealth of information regarding the production of his pioneering film, and it's fun to hear the interaction between father and son as they discuss their experiences making each other's respective films. A featurette entitled "The Birth of Black Cinema" puts Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song in a historical perspective through interviews with such filmmakers as Michael Mann, Ossie Davis, and John Singleton as well as Melvin's original crew, and it also discusses the political climate that fed the need for such a film with such figures as Bill Cosby and Melvin Van Peebles biographer Sandra Ruch. Footage from the premiere of Baadasssss! finds the cast and crew discussing their experiences making the film, and a half-hour-long question and answer session with Melvin gives the filmmaker ample time to discuss his career leading up to Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, the need for more complexity in black film, and the revelation that his original film is actually a springboard for a trilogy that has since never been completed. The session is very informative, with Melvin fielding numerous questions from the audience before wrapping things up. A collection of poster art for Baadasssss! offers some impressive artwork, and a handful of previews for other Columbia TriStar titles round out the features nicely.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Honoring his father even by using the same number of superfluous letters in his title, Mario Van Peebles has assembled one of the most bracing films about guerilla filmmaking ever committed to celluloid. Not only that, but as a witness to and subsequent reenactor of the events in the film, Van Peebles brings a gritty authenticity to BAADASSSSS! that makes it a 1970s time capsule on par with a film like Boogie Nights. Van Peebles is unflinching in his portrayal of father Melvin's struggles to bring the granddaddy of blaxploitation films to the big screen, which manifested themselves in such a dramatic physical way that the elder Van Peebles almost lost his eyesight. The fact that Mario plays Melvin heightens the intensity, as the role requires him to relive childhood traumas from the perspective of the man doing the traumatizing. In fact, the film gives the phrases "labor of love" and "project close to my heart" entirely new meanings. It's as much an achievement in mature filmmaking for Mario Van Peebles as Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song was for Melvin, since Mario had not directed a film in five years, and had never directed a film with any acclaim, possibly excepting New Jack City. The scenes of the patchwork crew scrambling through locations without permits and scaling all heights to finish on schedule are priceless bits of urban filmmaking lore. It's also interesting to see an early incarnation of Earth, Wind & Fire agreeing to record the soundtrack for shockingly low pay.
Entertainment Weekly - Owen Gleiberman
The beauty of Baadasssss! is the way Mario Van Peebles salutes his father's truth by coaxing it into legend.
The New Yorker - David Denby
Mario Van Peebles creates what can only be called a lucid fantasia; the movie quickly reaches a pitch of manic activity and stays there. It’s an exhausting, and exhaustingly pleasurable, entertainment.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary with Mario and Melvin Van Peebles; Featurette: "The Birth of Black Cinema"; Featurette: "The Premiere"; American Cinematheque Q & A with Melvin Van Peebles; Poster explorations; Previews

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mario Van Peebles Melvin Van Peebles
Khleo Thomas Mario
T.K. Carter Bill Cosby
Ossie Davis Granddad
Nia Long Sandra
David Alan Grier Clyde Houston
Paul Rodriguez Jose Garcia
Rainn Wilson Bill Harris
Joy Bryant Priscilla
Joan Blair Brenda
Penny Bae Bridges Megan
Terry Crews Big T
Kate Krystowiak Moonbeam
Jazsmin Lewis Working Girl
Saul Rubinek Howie
Karimah Westbrook Ginney
Vincent Schiavelli Jerry
Len Lesser Manny Goldberg,Mort Goldberg
Sally Struthers Roz
Adam West Bert
Ralph P. Martin Tommy David
Robert Peters Bob Maxwell
Glenn Plummer Angry Brother
Khalil Kain Maurice
Pamela Gordon Ethel
Wesley Jonathan Panther
Joseph Culp Attorney
John Singleton Detroit J
Mandela Van Peebles Angel Muse
E.J. Callahan Bartender
Keith Diamond Large Brother
Don Dowe Officer
Brent Schaffer Panther
Brian "Skinny B" Lewis Panther
Mickey Mello David
Christopher Michael Journalist
Tyrone M. Mitchell Man
Alan James Morgan Josh
David Alan Smith Brewster
Nathan Wetherington Jimmy
Robin McLiam Wilson Excited Lady
Paul Roach Pimpy Paul
Marley Van Peebles Trick or Treater
Maya Van Peebles Trick or Treater
Bridget Avildsen Trick or Treater
Craig Jones Trick or Treater
Anthony Rodriguez Fernando
Thomas Longo Camera Assistant
Robert Yosses Script Supervisor
Danny Hebert Crew Member
Michele Hill Biker Girl
Les Miller Nora
Robert Primes Union Thug
Buzzxsassy Union Thug
Rey Diogo Union Thug

Technical Credits
Mario Van Peebles Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Tyler Bates Score Composer
Jorge Gonzalez Borrelli Art Director
Anya Colloff Casting
Ian Dodd Camera Operator
Kokeeta Douglas Makeup
José Garcia Consultant/advisor
Bruce Gillies Asst. Director,Producer
Nneka Goforth Editor
Dennis Haggerty Co-producer,Screenwriter
Tobie Haggerty Executive Producer
Ipostini Casting
Michael Mann Executive Producer
Amy McIntyre-Britt Casting
Anthony Miller Editor
Alan Muraoka Production Designer
Michael O'Connor Cinematographer
Jerry Offsay Executive Producer
David Parker Sound Mixer,Sound/Sound Designer
Chris Parker Musical Direction/Supervision
Robert Primes Cinematographer
Galit Reuben Set Decoration/Design
G. Marq Roswell Co-producer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Kara Saun Costumes/Costume Designer
Brian Slack Sound/Sound Designer
Adam Swart Musical Direction/Supervision
Garth Trinidad Musical Direction/Supervision
Tal Vigderson Co-producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Start [:10]
2. Street Brother [4:59]
3. Going Independent [5:02]
4. Clyde Houston [4:03]
5. The Business [4:48]
6. Greenlight [3:01]
7. Location Scouting [5:17]
8. Auditions [4:49]
9. The Crew [4:27]
10. More Bad News [4:08]
11. 1st Day of Shooting [3:43]
12. Speech Lessons [4:54]
13. Sweetback [4:43]
14. Mario [4:47]
15. Prop Malfunction [3:16]
16. Reality Check [4:49]
17. "Fun Is the Enemy" [5:01]
18. "Time Is of the Essence" [3:41]
19. The Screening [5:32]
20. Rated? [3:20]
21. Distribution [2:25]
22. The Message [1:23]
23. Soundtrack [1:09]
24. World Premiere [1:23]
25. Last Showing [2:58]
26. Redemption [3:41]
27. Sold Out [1:09]
28. True Story [3:19]


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