The Candy Tangerine Man (1975)


Here’s a perfect example of spectacular marketing at work.  I mean…  You’ve got a rhyme that uses the word “jive”.  Not to mentioned “bad” has two extra A’s for effect.  And this fella is a cat.  I like cats.

Also, this is a fuckin’ for real 1970s blaxploitation action flick with crime and racists cops and a fuckin’ pimp.

The Candy Tangerine Man is a favorite of the genre for Quentin Tarantino (becauseofcourseitis) and Samuel L. Jackson (because he’s a bad motherfucker).  The former stating that the director, Matt Cimber, made some of his more favorite films.  I think it is also extremely important to discuss Mr. Cimber.

Matt Cimber is pretty well noted for making not only The Candy Tangerine Man, but also the film that accompanied it on the Vinegar Syndrom Blu-Ray/DVD release, Lady Cocoa.  However, Cimber made some other movies of note.  In the early 70s, he made some exploitation movies of a different kind – sex education films.  Most notably of these are Black is Beautiful (aka Africanus Sexualis) and The Sexually Liberated Female.  In the mid-70s, he made his more action-oriented blaxploitation flicks (which this week’s feature is a part of), but in the 80s, he was a part of a couple other interesting projects.

In 1982, he made the movie Butterfly starring Pia Zadora.  The movie was nominated for three Golden Globes, two of which were for acting.  Zadora for a best newcomer category and Orson Motherfuckin’ Welles for Best Support Actor.  The film, though, would also get nominated for a shit ton of Razzies, the bad movie equivalent of the Oscars, probably because the movie got nominated for the Golden Globes before anyone had actually seen it.  This was a relatively interesting award show controversy that might just be more interesting than the 2016 Oscars ending with the wrong movie being named Best Picture.  Simply put, Zadora’s husband flew a bunch of the Hollywood Foreign Press, the committee that awards the Globes, to Las Vegas to see her sing -when she won an award for a movie that no one had yet seen, it raised some eyebrows that it was bought by her husband.

The other thing Cimber did in the 80s of note was as creator and director of  a bunch of episodes of GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.  Which now makes me wonder exactly how much inspiration Marc Maron took from Cimber in the Netflix series GLOW.  Did Matt Cimber ask people about cunt-punches?

I sure hope so.

The movie opens with “The Black Baron” (our star, John Daniels) talking to a new prostitute he is trying to recruit.  He’s promising her happiness, and money.  He’s sweet talking her and when his proposal for setting her up with something respectable after she retires from turning tricks, she says she is good with hairstyles and can start a hair place, he’s like, “Whatever, bitch.”  And you know what that gets him?

Her ass.  She fucks him.  Makes me wonder if I’m going about things the wrong way.  Maybe I should be like, “Whatever, bitch” whenever bitches tell me shit they want to do with their lives.  I bet my dick would be constantly wet.

After the opening credits, the Baron drops off one of his bitches to make him some money.  He cruises through the streets of Los Angeles in a sweet ass Rolls Royce.  The theme song tells us that nobody knows the double life of the “Tangerine Man”.  By night, he’s a bad ass pimp, but day he has a loving wife and two kids.

As the Baron drives around to get his money from one of his bitches, a couple cops are on a stakeout trying to entrap him with a man dressed as a hooker.  He quickly finds the dude’s dick and squeezes his balls and kicks him out of the Rolls.  Later, the Baron goes to see one of his girls who has a problem.  Well, three problems.  Three white dudes with real problems with black guys jump the Baron and try to cut him up.  One guy gets punched through the fuckin’ window into the pool.  The second guy gets a piece of the broken glass tossed into his throat (presumably killing him).  The third guy gets punched into the pool to join his friend (who is also presumably dead because he’s faced down in the water).  After he gets rid of the dudes, he just tells the girl that she can call a dude to help her clean the place up because it’s bad for business, and he’ll see her tomorrow night when she turns in her money.

The Baron hits up a club where a rival pimp, Dusty, has a new Native American girl that the Baron wants to recruit from him.  Dusty doesn’t want to actually sell her, so they play pool for her.  Dusty runs the table, but scratches on the last ball.  The Baron leaves with the new girl while Dusty laments over the bush league mistake he made.

As the Baron leaves, some of the white dudes hanging out with Dusty follow and try to trap him in the alley to get the girl back and get rid of him.  They didn’t expect for him to have machine guns behind the lights on the front of his Rolls.  He kills the guys trying to trap him which draws the attention of an Italian mob boss.  The Baron takes the Indian girl to the bus station and gives her a bunch of cash to have her get on the bus and go back to New Mexico.  The cops who tried to entrap him show up again assuming that he was using the girl for solicitation, because naturally that’s gotta be what a well dressed black man would be doing in a Rolls Royce.

Oh, and they do tell him that they have three dead dudes in the pool at the one bitch’s place and the two guys blown up in the previous scene.  They’re pretty sure that he did that, but they let him go because he reminds him of the cop he put the literal squeeze on earlier.  Oops.

Later that night, the Baron returns home to his “regular” life as Ron Lewis, loving husband and father.  He explains to his wife he was late due to a meeting with a client.  Apparently, his cover is that he travels for work.  His wife gives him a laundry list of things he needs to help her with over the weekend.  We then see Ron doing his regular duties as a homeowner and husband.  He has to mow the lawn, be a dad, be married to a super hot lady named Clarisse (played my Marilyn Joi – who was “Synne” in Black Samurai).  Geez, his life sucks.

Elsewhere, it’s Sunday night and the Baron’s bitches are just hanging out at one of his places in the city.  The girls are starting to get real curious about where the Baron goes on weekends.  After all, it’s only natural.  Bitches be curious.

Some guys bust into the place and demand to see the Baron.  The girls, who were just trying to figure out where he goes, don’t know nuthin’.  They just bitches.  Anyway, the main guy asking the questions takes one of the girls, and rapes her at knife point and cuts her fuckin’ tit off!  Who does that?

No, really.  Who does that?  I’ll tell you who.  This guy:

The Baron finds out that one of his girls got her tits cut off by a madman.  Not only that, but all the girls have split on him.  ALSO, the man is looking for him.  All in all, this ain’t a good Monday morning.  I kinda feel like he could look at one of those Garfield posters about Mondays being so blah and be like, “I feel ya brutha.”

However, he takes it real cool like.  I mean I guess you can’t be called “the Baron” without taking shit pretty cool in the face of adversity.

I can tell you what he does do, though.  He goes over to the joint his bitches were at the night before when they are attacked and ask them what the fuck is up with them quitting.  Like, how fucking dare these bitches stop workin’ the streets after a madman found them and cut the tits off one of them?

Anyway, the bitches tell Baron that they now work for Dusty.  It’s not that they don’t want to work for him, it’s just they ain’t so sure about the whole business with getting cut up and shit.  Baron tells them not to worry because they won’t have to work for Dusty anymore either because he’s gonna put ’em out of business.

And that’s what he does.  He goes right over to Dusty’s place and starts beating the shit out of everyone.  Including cutting off the dude’s hand who cut up his bitch.  Oh, I should mention the method he chose to cut the dude’s hand off…?  The fucking garbage disposal in the sink.  That was fucking bad ass.

That is a ton of hair on that chick.

The Baron goes to a club and sees a dancer who has all the hair named Sugar.  Anyway, he offers her $20,000 to help him out with an issue.  His buddy, Maurice, procured $250k worth of negotiable bonds.  Since Sugar fucks a banker for money, he asks her to use him to get these bonds cashed.

This is a bit of a strange stretch of the movie.  We’ve gone from the Baron being chased by cops to one of his chicks being mutilated by a rival, now to this scheme to cash in these bonds.  It almost feels like this should have been the “A” plot all along, but it wasn’t introduced to us until halfway through the movie.  It’s also funny what the dancer does for the banker guy so he can get his jollies – he’s a “piss freak”.  He pays her to piss on him.  It’s a bizarre thing to throw in.  In all, this portion of the movie almost turns this into a “slice of life” type of movie with these characters with kinks and personalities that are too strange to make up so they almost have to be real people.

That’s not something I really expect from a blaxploitation movie about a pimp on a revenge trip.

So while the Baron waits for a transaction to be made so he can get those bonds cashed, the cops show up to bust him on some bullshit charge.  They cuff the Baron to his steering wheel while they go inside to lean on the banker who is helping to cash the bonds.  We don’t learn what they say to the banker or if the banker says anything to them.  It just fades to the Baron being released from being busted.  When he gets back to his home base, he finds out that the cutter dude whose hand he fucked up in the garbage disposal came looking from him and beat Maurice to death.  Not only that, but he finds Sugar and the banker dead in an apparent murder-suicide.

…and he’s all out of bubblegum.

Alright, long story short…  The lady who was going to be the legal cover for Baron to cash those bonds has ripped him off.  He learns she’s gone to the Italian mob guy who was trying to get rid of the Baron earlier, and is apparently behind pretty much all his troubles.  He then shows up to fuck ’em up.  However, the cops also know he’s going to be there, because they used the Indian girl from earlier to lead him there.

Wasting no time from when he walks through the door, the Baron just starts laying down the gunfire.  He shoots everyone – some of them multiple times.  It’s all done in slow motion in what almost comes out like a nightmare.

The Baron leaves quick and the cops show up to see the massacre.  A car chase breaks out.  The cops nearly go over the edge of a cliff.  The Baron says he is going to let them go if they tell him where the girl went that stole his big score.  Naturally, when he said he’d “let them go”, he meant over the cliff.  Where their car blows up.  And they die.

He tracks down his money, and goes home to his family.  He claims he’s got all the time in the world to do all the handiwork his wife needs done around the house.  They leave the kids playing in the front yard near the street so they can go inside and fuck like crazy.

This is a weird movie.  It’s advertised in the trailers like the Baron killed the cops by accident, but that’s not really how it goes down.  For the most part, he’s just hustling and doing his day-to-day thing.  He pisses off a rival and shenanigans occur.  The cops were always there waiting to bust him, but their deaths weren’t so much the fault of the Baron as much as it was a result of a chase and the inability to stay on the road.

There’s also a bit of a plot problem – as in there is no real plot.  I joked that this movie turned into more of a “slice of life” type of movie.  The Baron is just going about his business until that Indian girl came into the picture.  It seemed like a fairly insignificant moment to see him find a girl who hadn’t be turned out yet and, then, essentially, save her from the streets only for it to become a massively important thing.  When you thought you’d see the Baron be something of a decent guy to that girl, it only led to him becoming fiercely protective to the point of straight murder.

Yet, this is an undeniably interesting and fun movie to watch.  John Daniels is pretty damn good, and frighteningly natural, as the no-nonsense Baron.  He’s also naturally likable.  While he did lay down the law to his girls quite often, even to the point of being stern enough to scare them into obedience, you didn’t think of him as a “bad” guy.  You get a slight impression, at least, that he was good family man too.  Yes, he fucked chicks on the side despite having a fine piece of ass at home, but you get the impression when he gave it all up, he was nothing but okay with it.

Look, they can’t all be Shaft, or Superfly, or Coffey, or Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.  Hell, they can’t even all be Blacula or Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde.  But you can also say that about a lot of shit.  This isn’t among the very best blaxploitation I’ve ever seen, but it is certainly damn interesting.  Even for cheap entertainment, it’s actually somewhat well made (from what remains of the print this disc is culled from – which is in really bad shape).

I’m glad I know this movie.

So that does it for this week.  Next week, I’m going to look at another Vinegar Syndrome release from the 70s that contains prostitution, mob assassinations, seduction, and drugs, but has a real jaunty and fun looking cover – 1979’s Malibu High!

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