Blu-ray: Coffy (1973)
Pam Grier; if you can’t picture her then go now and Google her images. Google ‘Foxy Brown’. Now Google ‘Coffy’. I know she’s incredibly gorgeous but make no mistake guys and gals she’s one tough cookie, and in Jack Hill’s 1973 ‘blaxploitation’ classic she paints the screen red in this tale of pimps, pushers, revenge and LOTS of boobies.
Pam Grier plays ‘Coffy’. A tender, caring nurse by day, who is in a loving relationship with a senator and is sought after by every man that comes near her. By night she is the angel of vengeance, slaying pimps and drug dealers after the tragic loss of her younger sister at the hands of those she hunts.
Made by B-movie king Jack Hill who had previously made the marvellously grotesque ‘Spider Baby’ (also available on Arrow Films). Coffy is, in my opinion, the benchmark for the blaxploitation genre. Opening with the scene best loved by fans where Coffy poses as a junkie and offers ‘anything you like’ to a horny old pimp for some drugs, the pimp is lured to a hotel room and following the classic line ‘this is the end of your rotten life you mother fucking dope pusher’ the pimp is shot; gunned in the face at point blank range! You know what you’re in for right from the start and Coffy doesn’t let up! Hill was, in his own words, a strange choice to write and direct a blaxploitation picture having previously made bizarre films with horror legends such as Lon Chaney Jnr and Boris Karloff. Hill had, however, worked with Pam Grier already and knew she would be perfect to carry this role. Along with 1974’s Foxy Brown, Pam Grier was propelled to stardom. Her fierce temper, sultry looks and acting ability made Grier an icon of the genre and still is in demand today working with the likes of Quentin Tarantino who’s love for Coffy is so strong he cast her as the lead in 1997’s Jackie Brown.
Coffy almost resembles a parody with it’s over the top representations of black culture, pimps dressed in loud colours, theme tunes accompany characters and women are treated atrociously. Add to that the horrific violence, particularly a lynching scene! It could stand alongside films such as ‘Black Dynamite‘ or ‘I’m Gonna Git You Sucka‘ as a bit of a joke, but make no mistake, Coffy is the real thing from a time when films like this were made in all seriousness and for a serious audience. It has endless rewatch value and is a personal favourite of mine.
I highly recommend Coffy to anyone, be you a newcomer to this genre or as a fan already, you are in for loads of fun and in typical fashion Arrow Films have provided the definitive edition of this blaxploitation classic. The 1080p HD anamorphic transfer is immaculate for a film 40 years old and the HD mono sound make this the best looking and sounding version of Coffy available.
Commentary by writer/director Jack Hill – A real treat here as Hill recounts the shooting of Coffy in great detail and gives lots of fun anecdotes about the production
A TASTE OF COFFY with Jack Hill – An interview with Hill discussing his involvement with Coffy from being approached to write the film to production and the aftermath, discussing the influence Coffy had on the genre.
PAM GRIER ‘THE BADDEST CHICK IN TOWN’- A new interview with Pam Grier discussing her role in Coffy, her thoughts on female functions in the world of exploitation cinema.
BLAXPLOITATION – A video essay charting the history and development of the blaxploitation genre.
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
Booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Cullen Gallagher and a profile of Pam Grier by Yvonne D. Sims, author of Women in Blaxploitation, illustrated with archive stills and posters
A theatrical trailer and an image gallery round off this awesome package.
Review by Ramrod (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films.