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Black Caesar (1973)

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Writer/Director Larry Cohen Rating:9.0/10 (3 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by frankasu03 on November 14th, 2015:Find all reviews by frankasu03
Acting as a perfect companion to the "Hell Up In Harlem" commentary, the Director's commentary for 'Caesar' is every bit as entertaining and revealing. Larry Cohen puts on another clinic in "low budget" filmmaking, revealing the ways he was able to bring a $450,000 "AIP" production in under budget. How "under?" About $150,000 "under." Sure, Larry admits to pocketing the difference. But, in those days, that's really how a Director made a living. Whether Larry was more lucky than skillful is up to the viewer. But, he managed to film most of the scenes on his own property in Beverly Hills and in his own Mother's Apartment in Manhattan. He fondly recalls leaving the camera equipment in his mother's place in between shooting days, and launching her fur coats onto 57th street below. Larry's genuine fear that a rogue taxi would abscond with those expensive minks is very real. More fascinating stories follow, especially with regards to his leading man, "The Hammer" Fred Williamson, who had a penchant for the ladies and took every opportunity to present his conquests to Larry each morning prior to filmming. The most engaging element of the commentary comes from Cohen's experience in finding a suitable composer for the soundtrack. After Stevie Wonder found the "audio" of the film (seriously) too violent, the "Godfather of Soul" offered his services to "Black Caesar." The problem: every song delivered was longer than what each scene required, a near-disaster averted with some careful editing by Cohen. There is more to mine in this concentrated hour and a half of "Blacksploitation" tell-all, but the coup de grace might be Larry's ability to avoid a shakedown by the Harlem gangsters surrounding his shoot. He simply gave them "cameos." Problem solved. Larry Cohen is not just lucky, he's damn good. 9/10