If He Hollers, Let Him Go! (1968)

111 mins | Drama | 2 October 1968

Director:

Charles Martin

Writer:

Charles Martin

Cinematographer:

William W. Spencer

Production Designer:

James Sullivan

Production Company:

Forward Films
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HISTORY

The 9 Feb 1968 DV announced the upcoming production, provisionally titled Night Hunt. Filmmaker Charles Martin was considering singer Dionne Warwick for a major role. Weeks later, the 14 Mar 1968 Los Angeles Sentinel reported that Martin chose actress-singer Barbara McNair for the part, marking her screen debut. Night Hunt was the first project by the newly-formed Forward Films, Inc. The 14 Feb 1968 DV noted that Martin was establishing his base of operations at Samuel Goldwyn Studios in West Hollywood, CA.
       The 26 Feb 1968 DV stated that songwriter Sammy Fain was contracted to provide four new songs for the film, in addition to the musical score. Although Fain collaborated on two songs with Martin, the score was completed by Harry Sukman.
       Principal photography began 22 Mar 1968, according to that day’s DV. Charles Martin celebrated the event by throwing a cocktail party for the cast, crew, and press, as noted in the 28 Mar 1968 Los Angeles Sentinel.
       Cast members included Marvin Paige (18 Mar 1968 DV), Philip Marshak (1 Apr 1968 DV), George Sawaya (3 Apr 1968 DV), and Patrick Hawley (23 Apr 1968 DV).
       The 1 Apr 1968 DV reported that Barbara McNair performed a nude scene during the first week of filming. Co-star Raymond St. Jacques claimed that the sequence was completed in one take. As stated in the 10 May 1968 issue, lead actress Dana Wynter and co-star Mimi Gibson were required to ... More Less

The 9 Feb 1968 DV announced the upcoming production, provisionally titled Night Hunt. Filmmaker Charles Martin was considering singer Dionne Warwick for a major role. Weeks later, the 14 Mar 1968 Los Angeles Sentinel reported that Martin chose actress-singer Barbara McNair for the part, marking her screen debut. Night Hunt was the first project by the newly-formed Forward Films, Inc. The 14 Feb 1968 DV noted that Martin was establishing his base of operations at Samuel Goldwyn Studios in West Hollywood, CA.
       The 26 Feb 1968 DV stated that songwriter Sammy Fain was contracted to provide four new songs for the film, in addition to the musical score. Although Fain collaborated on two songs with Martin, the score was completed by Harry Sukman.
       Principal photography began 22 Mar 1968, according to that day’s DV. Charles Martin celebrated the event by throwing a cocktail party for the cast, crew, and press, as noted in the 28 Mar 1968 Los Angeles Sentinel.
       Cast members included Marvin Paige (18 Mar 1968 DV), Philip Marshak (1 Apr 1968 DV), George Sawaya (3 Apr 1968 DV), and Patrick Hawley (23 Apr 1968 DV).
       The 1 Apr 1968 DV reported that Barbara McNair performed a nude scene during the first week of filming. Co-star Raymond St. Jacques claimed that the sequence was completed in one take. As stated in the 10 May 1968 issue, lead actress Dana Wynter and co-star Mimi Gibson were required to appear in “semi-nudes” with actors Kevin McCarthy and Royal Dano, respectively. The 9 Apr 1968 DV noted that McNair postponed a photographic session for Playboy magazine to attend the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated five days earlier. According to the 27 Jan 1969 LAT, the magazine ultimately published still photographs of McNair’s nude sequence. A news item in the 19 Apr 1968 DV reported that production was completed within twenty-five days.
       The 17 Sep 1968 DV announced the film’s world premiere under its official title, If He Hollers, Let Him Go! The event was scheduled for 3 Oct 1968 at the Boyd Theatre in Philadelphia, PA. Openings in Los Angeles and New York City followed on 9 Oct 1968. Initial reviews were generally scathing, exemplified by the 10 Oct 1968 LAT, which described the film as an unintended “hilarious comedy about race relations.” The National Catholic Office for Motion Pictures (NCOMP) gave the picture a “C” (condemned) rating, dismissing it as “a cheap exploitation of explicit sex and brutality under the guise of a story about racism and justice.”
       Charles Martin countered with a full-page advertisement in the 17 Oct 1968 DV, quoting a positive review from the Boston Herald Traveler. Another such advertisement followed in the next day’s issue, featuring critical acclaim for Raymond St. Jacques and Barbara McNair.
       St. Jacques defended the picture in the 8 Dec 1968 NYT, saying it was “extremely relevant to black people.” McNair told the 22 Sep 1968 LAT that changes were made to the screenplay during production to create a more realistic portrayal of African Americans and contemporary race relations. As noted in the 16 Nov 1970 DV, McNair’s performance earned her an Image Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
       Public response to the film was enthusiastic, evidenced by the 23 Oct 1968 DV, which estimated opening-week receipts at $1 million. The 2 Oct 1968 Var anticipated that the production would recover its negative costs by the end of the third week. That same issue also reported Raymond St. Jacques’s confrontation with a hotel doorman during a recent promotional visit to Boston, MA. St. Jacques had to be physically restrained after the doorman directed a racial slur at him. The actor later demanded an apology from the hotel manager and from the city during an interview on WMEX Radio. The doorman was subsequently fired.
       The 22 Jul 1970 Var revealed that Charles Martin had filed a lawsuit against distributor Cinerama Releasing Corp., company president William R. Forman, sales executive Joseph M. Sugar, and three unidentified parties, demanding $2 million for “under-reporting of rentals” and “overcharging for direct costs,” $4 million for “deliberate fraud and conspiracy,” and $2 million for “failure to report accurately.” The filmmaker also claimed that Cinerama had agreed to pay him seventy-five percent of gross receipts following deductions for advertising, film developing and prints, shipping charges, travel costs, and post-production. The picture was still in circulation at the time, as indicated by a box-office report in the 19 Aug 1970 Var.
       According to the 29 Feb 1968 DV, Motown Records planned to release the soundtrack album. Various sources have since confirmed that it was released on Tower Records.
       The film bore no resemblance to the 1945 novel, If He Hollers Let Him Go, by Chester B. Himes.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 Feb 1968
p. 18
Daily Variety
14 Feb 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
26 Feb 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
29 Feb 1968
p. 11
Daily Variety
18 Mar 1968
p. 3
Daily Variety
22 Mar 1968
p. 22
Daily Variety
1 Apr 1968
p. 2, 4
Daily Variety
3 Apr 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
9 Apr 1968
p. 2
Daily Variety
19 Apr 1968
p. 24
Daily Variety
23 Apr 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
10 May 1968
p. 2
Daily Variety
23 May 1968
p. 27
Daily Variety
17 Sep 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
1 Oct 1968
p. 3
Daily Variety
4 Oct 1968
p. 1
Daily Variety
17 Oct 1968
p. 7
Daily Variety
18 Oct 1968
p. 7
Daily Variety
23 Oct 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
16 Nov 1970
p. 10
Los Angeles Sentinel
14 Mar 1968
Section B, p. 7
Los Angeles Sentinel
28 Mar 1968
Section B, p. 6
Los Angeles Sentinel
25 Jul 1968
Section D, p. 7
Los Angeles Times
10 Jun 1968
Section F, p. 32
Los Angeles Times
10 Feb 1968
Section I, p. 7
Los Angeles Times
23 May 1968
Section D, p. 19
Los Angeles Times
22 Sep 1968
Section C, p. 12
Los Angeles Times
4 Oct 1968
Section H, p. 14
Los Angeles Times
10 Oct 1968
Section F, p. 20
Los Angeles Times
5 Nov 1968
Section D, p. 1
Los Angeles Times
27 Jan 1969
Section G, p. 17
New York Times
9 Oct 1968
p. 41
New York Times
4 Oct 1968
p. 34
New York Times
10 Oct 1968
p. 59
New York Times
8 Dec 1968
p. 167
Variety
13 Mar 1968
p. 77
Variety
2 Oct 1968
p. 1, 56
Variety
22 Jul 1970
p. 5
Variety
19 Aug 1970
p. 12
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
1st & 2nd asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
SET DECORATOR
MUSIC
Mus comp & cond
SOUND
Sd mix
Music ed
Sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
DANCE
Choreog
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Asst to the prod
Prod asst
Casting
SOURCES
SONGS
"A Man Has To Love," "Can't Make It With the Same Man Twice," words and music by Sammy Fain and Charles Martin, sung by Barbara McNair
"So Tired," words and music by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, sung by Barbara McNair.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Night Hunt
Release Date:
2 October 1968
Premiere Information:
Philadelphia opening: 3 October 1968
Los Angeles and New York openings: 9 October 1968
Production Date:
22 March--mid April 1968
Copyright Claimant:
Forward Films
Copyright Date:
6 September 1968
Copyright Number:
LP38025
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color
Duration(in mins):
111
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After breaking out of prison where he has been serving time on trumped-up charges of rape and murder, black convict James Lake encounters wealthy Leslie Whitlock, who takes him to a mansion owned by his wife, Ellen. Whitlock plans to inherit his wife's money by bribing Lake to murder her in return for $10,000 and a means of escape, but Lake, after unsuccessfully attempting to warn Ellen of the danger she faces, flees from the house. While eluding the police, Lake recalls his past affair with Lily, a beautiful nightclub singer. Realizing that his chances of reaching safety by himself are virtually impossible, Lake returns to the mansion and forces the Whitlocks to drive him through police roadblocks and hide him in their mountain cottage. After Lake has tricked Whitlock into exposing his murderous scheme, Lake and Ellen race from the cottage and make their way to the home of Lake's brother, William. There he discovers that Lily, assuming that he would be in jail for life, has married William. Nevertheless, Lily agrees to help Lake establish his innocence. With her assistance, as well as that of his other friends, Lake traces the murdered girl's stepfather, Carl Blair, to a warehouse and forces him to confess to the brutal murder. Whitlock arrives with the police, but a gunfight breaks out, and Whitlock is killed. With Blair now arrested, Ellen pledges to use her money and influence to clear Lake's ... +


After breaking out of prison where he has been serving time on trumped-up charges of rape and murder, black convict James Lake encounters wealthy Leslie Whitlock, who takes him to a mansion owned by his wife, Ellen. Whitlock plans to inherit his wife's money by bribing Lake to murder her in return for $10,000 and a means of escape, but Lake, after unsuccessfully attempting to warn Ellen of the danger she faces, flees from the house. While eluding the police, Lake recalls his past affair with Lily, a beautiful nightclub singer. Realizing that his chances of reaching safety by himself are virtually impossible, Lake returns to the mansion and forces the Whitlocks to drive him through police roadblocks and hide him in their mountain cottage. After Lake has tricked Whitlock into exposing his murderous scheme, Lake and Ellen race from the cottage and make their way to the home of Lake's brother, William. There he discovers that Lily, assuming that he would be in jail for life, has married William. Nevertheless, Lily agrees to help Lake establish his innocence. With her assistance, as well as that of his other friends, Lake traces the murdered girl's stepfather, Carl Blair, to a warehouse and forces him to confess to the brutal murder. Whitlock arrives with the police, but a gunfight breaks out, and Whitlock is killed. With Blair now arrested, Ellen pledges to use her money and influence to clear Lake's name. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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