In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb ruben brandt poster

Ruben Brandt, Collector

The film is lighthearted but not frivolous, and the animation - a mix of computer-generated and hand-drawn - is so innovative and fun it's always…

Thumb wandering earth poster 2

The Wandering Earth

I can't think of another recent computer-graphics-driven blockbuster that left me feeling this giddy because of its creators' consummate attention to detail and infectious can-do…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

Interview with Yaphet Kotto

"You know what this black woman told me today?" Yaphet Kotto said. "She said my movie was the first time in the movies she ever saw a black man take a black woman out on a date. Dinner, romantic music, the whole thing."

Kotto smiled, "You know what it's usually like," he said. "It's just rape her, beat her up, take her into the back room. The so-called black movies today are mostly junk and rip-offs. They pander to violence, sex and obscenity and say they're telling it like it is. I can't dig that. A movie like 'Sweet Sweetback' degrades black women."

Advertisement

Kotto was defending his new film, "The Limit," which he produced, directed and stars in, and which opened Friday at the Woods. "It is pure entertainment," he said. "I got a lot of criticism from my friends who said I had to put a message in. I have a beach scene, and they said, man, you can't have a beach scene. It's not relevant. What the hell is this? Are they telling me black people don't go to the BEACH?"

The movie stars Kotto as a California highway patrolman who gets mixed up with a motorcycle gang. There's a lot of action, including a spectacular motorcycle chase scene, and when Kotto describes it he shakes his head in wonderment:

"We had this great stunt driver," he said. "Tony Brubaker. He's coming down the hill and this yellow car comes out of nowhere. You know what Tony does? He sees it coming and he doesn't stop! He lands right on top of it. It's in the film. Of course we paid for the cat's car, and he just stayed there all day watching us shoot - he and his wife and kid and his yellow car."

At 32, Kotto is one of the best of the young black actors. He stepped into James Earl Jones' Broadway lead in "The Great White Hope" for eight months; he's done a lot of television, and he's made such movies as "Man and Boy," "Five Card Stud" and "The Liberation of L.B. Jones."

He decided at 16 that he wanted to be an actor. "Right away I knew I would have to learn something about diction and speech," he said. "I spoke in this very hip Harlem way . . . so I tape-recorded all of John Cameron Swayze's newscasts and imitated them." Within two years, he had won the lead in a Boston production of "Othello," the first of some 70 stage roles.

What he plans to do next is a remake of "Of Mice and Men."

"I'm doing it with Sammy Davis Jr.," he said. "We're still debating over who will be Lon Chaney Jr. and who will be Burgess Meredith," he grinned. "And you know what else I'd like to be in a remake of? 'East of Eden.' Can you dig THAT black, man?"

Advertisement

Popular Blog Posts

Robert Mitchum: "One of the greatest movie stars was Rin Tin Tin. It can't be too much of a trick."

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- He arrives dressed in an elegant dark blue pinstripe suit, but he will not be mistaken for a b...

The Best Current Source for Streaming Classic Movies is ... Amazon Prime?

With FilmStruck gone and no real alternative filling the void at present, Amazon is in a prime position to grab up fa...

Albert Finney: 1936-2019

A tribute to Albert Finney.

Danson's Racist 'Humor' Appalls Crowd at Roast

NEW YORK It's a tradition of the celebrity roasts at the Friar's Club that everything goes - that no joke is in such ...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus