Black Belt Jones (1974)

R | 85 or 87 mins | Comedy-drama | 28 January 1974

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HISTORY

       A 7 Sep 1973 DV news item reported that filming had completed in Los Angeles, CA.
       A Warner Bros., Inc., press release from AMPAS library files announced that actors Jim Kelly and Gloria Hendry would promote the film on separate cross-country tours, stopping in U.S. cities including Philadelphia, PA; Columbus, OH; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; Miami, FL; and New Orleans, LA.
       Critical reception was mostly negative, though 9 Feb 1974 LAHExam and 21 Jan 1974 HR reviews lauded Gloria Hendry’s performance, and the 21 Jan 1974 DV review praised Malik Carter’s “imposing screen presence.”

      The following acknowledgments appear in the end credit crawl: "The producers wish to extend their thanks to the following companies for their assistance. Akai America Ltd.; American Sportsman, Inc.; British Motor Car Ltd.; Falstaff Brewing Co.; Ford Motor Company; Polaroid Land Corporation; Rolex Corporation; Samsonite; Schenley Distillers Corp.; Total Fit of California, ... More Less

       A 7 Sep 1973 DV news item reported that filming had completed in Los Angeles, CA.
       A Warner Bros., Inc., press release from AMPAS library files announced that actors Jim Kelly and Gloria Hendry would promote the film on separate cross-country tours, stopping in U.S. cities including Philadelphia, PA; Columbus, OH; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; Miami, FL; and New Orleans, LA.
       Critical reception was mostly negative, though 9 Feb 1974 LAHExam and 21 Jan 1974 HR reviews lauded Gloria Hendry’s performance, and the 21 Jan 1974 DV review praised Malik Carter’s “imposing screen presence.”

      The following acknowledgments appear in the end credit crawl: "The producers wish to extend their thanks to the following companies for their assistance. Akai America Ltd.; American Sportsman, Inc.; British Motor Car Ltd.; Falstaff Brewing Co.; Ford Motor Company; Polaroid Land Corporation; Rolex Corporation; Samsonite; Schenley Distillers Corp.; Total Fit of California, Inc."
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Sep 1973.
---
Box Office
5 Nov 1973.
---
Box Office
28 Jan 1974
p. 4660.
Daily Variety
7 Sep 1973.
---
Daily Variety
21 Jan 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 1974
p. 3, 21.
LAHExam
9 Feb 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Feb 1974.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
30 Jan 1974.
---
New York Times
29 Jan 1974
p. 21.
Variety
30 Jan 1974
p. 11.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT

PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Weintraub-Heller Production
A Sequoia Films Inc. Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir/Unit prod mgr
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Spec const
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost stylist
MUSIC
Orig score comp and cond
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd eff
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles, opticals & processing
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prods
Loc mgr
Transportation
Scr supv
Prod secy
Prod's secy
Prod asst
Prod supv
STAND INS
Fight coord
SOURCES
MUSIC
Theme from BLACK BELT JONES performed and composed by Dennis Coffy, arranged by Dennis Coffy & Mike Theodore, courtesy of Sussex Records.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 January 1974
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 28 January 1974
Los Angeles opening: 6 February 1974
Production Date:
ended early September 1973 in Los Angeles, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros., Inc.
Copyright Date:
16 January 1974
Copyright Number:
LP43788
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
CFI Color
gauge
16mm
Widescreen/ratio
1.33:1
Duration(in mins):
85 or 87
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
23807
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Southern California, police detective Tom Roberts listens to audio surveillance of a blackmail attempt taking place inside the Del Orso winery. When Ellis, Roberts’s informant inside the winery, pays for a set of incriminating photographs kept in a secret compartment inside a wine barrel, he is strangled by a gangster named “Blue Eyes,” who works for mafia boss Don Steffano. Hoping to find another way to obtain the photographs, Roberts asks Black Belt Jones, an African American karate expert, to break into Del Orso, but Black Belt refuses, arguing that the winery is too heavily guarded. Meanwhile, Steffano learns about the local government’s plans to build a new civic center covering eight city blocks. In the center of the proposed site, however, is a karate school owned by Wesley “Pop” Byrd, Black Belt’s mentor, and Steffano decides to buy the building, knowing the government will pay a hefty price for it. At the Hip Pocket, a pool hall owned by an African American gangster named Pinky, Blue Eyes and his partner, Emilio “Big Tuna” Tunasari, remind Pinky about the $250,000 he owes to Steffano. When Pinky says he can’t pay, Blue Eyes gives him another option: Pinky must acquire Pop’s karate school for Steffano. Later, Pinky and his henchmen barge into Pop’s school, but when they break the rules of the establishment by not removing their shoes, the karate students use their fighting skills to kick the intruders out. That day, Toppy, a karate instructor, asks Pop why Pinky came by, and Pop confesses that he owes Pinky money from gambling. Having heard about the fight, Black Belt helps Toppy fend off Pinky’s men when they return ... +


In Southern California, police detective Tom Roberts listens to audio surveillance of a blackmail attempt taking place inside the Del Orso winery. When Ellis, Roberts’s informant inside the winery, pays for a set of incriminating photographs kept in a secret compartment inside a wine barrel, he is strangled by a gangster named “Blue Eyes,” who works for mafia boss Don Steffano. Hoping to find another way to obtain the photographs, Roberts asks Black Belt Jones, an African American karate expert, to break into Del Orso, but Black Belt refuses, arguing that the winery is too heavily guarded. Meanwhile, Steffano learns about the local government’s plans to build a new civic center covering eight city blocks. In the center of the proposed site, however, is a karate school owned by Wesley “Pop” Byrd, Black Belt’s mentor, and Steffano decides to buy the building, knowing the government will pay a hefty price for it. At the Hip Pocket, a pool hall owned by an African American gangster named Pinky, Blue Eyes and his partner, Emilio “Big Tuna” Tunasari, remind Pinky about the $250,000 he owes to Steffano. When Pinky says he can’t pay, Blue Eyes gives him another option: Pinky must acquire Pop’s karate school for Steffano. Later, Pinky and his henchmen barge into Pop’s school, but when they break the rules of the establishment by not removing their shoes, the karate students use their fighting skills to kick the intruders out. That day, Toppy, a karate instructor, asks Pop why Pinky came by, and Pop confesses that he owes Pinky money from gambling. Having heard about the fight, Black Belt helps Toppy fend off Pinky’s men when they return that night. Later, finding Pop at a poker game, Pinky holds him at gunpoint and demands the $11,000 that Pop owes him or, in lieu of the money, the deed to his karate school. Pop says he can’t sign over the deed, as it belongs to someone named Sydney. Trying to beat more information out of him, one of Pinky’s cohorts accidentally kills Pop. Later, Sydney Frasier, Pop’s daughter and the rightful owner of the karate school, appears at Pop’s funeral, and Black Belt orders Quincy, a young karate student, to escort Sydney safely back to her hotel. Meanwhile, Pinky calls in his “Bogarts,” thugs from San Francisco, California, to help him find Sydney. However, Sydney willingly appears at the Hip Pocket and beats Pinky’s men, displaying her own expertise in karate. Afterward, Sydney eats lunch at Black Belt’s house and confesses that she is jealous that Black Belt got to know her father, as Sydney last saw him when she was only five years old. Pinky goes to the karate school with his Bogarts, and, this time, the students lose the fight. As Toppy cowers on the floor, Pinky lies, saying that Pop owed him $250,000 and promised to give Pinky the karate school if he couldn’t pay. Demanding the money or the deed, Pinky’s crew takes Quincy hostage on their way out. Learning of Quincy’s abduction, Sydney proposes that they give up the school to save him, but Black Belt rejects the idea; instead, he devises a scheme to steal $250,000 from Steffano’s secret hiding place at the Del Orso winery. Roberts agrees to pay Black Belt a large sum if he can retrieve the incriminating photographs, as well as the cash, from Del Orso. Soon after, Black Belt, Toppy, Sydney, and some of Black Belt’s acrobatics students, sneak into the Del Orso winery while Steffano hosts a luncheon there. Black Belt’s crew fights its way past numerous security guards, finds Steffano’s secret compartment, and escapes Del Orso unscathed. Black Belt provides Pinky with $250,000 worth of Steffano’s marked bills, but Pinky fails to release Quincy, so Sydney and Black Belt fight Pinky’s men to save their friend. Later, Black Belt anonymously calls Big Tuna, alerting him that Pinky is about to repay Steffano with the mafia boss’s own money. However, when Pinky is accused of robbery upon delivering the $250,000 in marked bills, he convinces Steffano that Black Belt framed him. At the beach, Black Belt asks Sydney out on a date, and, after they pretend to physically fight each other, they kiss. Later that day, Pinky, Big Tuna, and their crews surround Black Belt’s house. Commandeering a car, Black Belt and Sydney escape, but the gangsters give chase. After driving into a gated parking lot filled with sanitation trucks, Sydney and Black Belt get out and fight Steffano, Pinky, and their collective gangs. Having trapped their enemies inside a garbage truck, Black Belt and Sydney drive away, as Roberts arrives with several police cars to arrest the gangsters. +

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

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