Foxy Brown Movie Poster 
 

fter a multi-coloured, shimmering, silhouetted Bond-esque opening, we see Link (Antonio Fargas) walking down the street being followed by two white men in a car who seem to be ready to do him harm.

He stops at a hotdog stand and, just as the men get out of the car and menacingly make their way over to him, a police car pulls up and two policemen get out.

Link is saved – for the moment.

He calls his sister, Foxy Brown (Pam Grier) from the phone box right next to the hotdog stand (obviously staying in full view of the policemen, to avoid getting attacked). She agrees to come and collect him. The policemen eventually leave despite Link’s attempts to get them to stay, but just as the men go to attack him, Foxy appears in her car. She hits one of the men, and just after Link jumps in, the other man jumps onto the bonnet. Foxy gets rid of him by screeching to a halt by the nearby dock, and the man plunges into the water...

At home, Foxy demands an explanation from Link. He explains that he’s been working as a number runner, and he had to borrow money from some loan sharks – he owes them $20,000. When Foxy criticises him, Link points out that at least he isn’t a police informant like Foxy’s boyfriend. (Although he isn’t a police informant – he’s actually an undercover policeman.) “He’s probably at the bottom of the river, polluting it with his feet in a bucket of cement,” Link says. He also points out that at least he’s not dealing cocaine anymore. Foxy agrees to let him stay at her place, as long as he doesn’t have anything to do with hustling.

The two men who failed to get Link are being berated by Steve Elias (Peter Brown), a gangster. They are being watched by a mysterious figure in a chair, who turns out to be Miss Katherine (Katheryn Loder), the ‘mob boss’. The men tell Steve and Miss Katherine that “a broad” was involved with Link’s escape. Miss Katherine tells them that they’d better get Link, or else. The men leave, and Steve and Miss Katherine share a kiss.

Foxy goes to hospital to see her boyfriend, Dalton Ford (Terry Carter). He is having facial surgery to give him a new identity after a case he was involved with – infiltrating a gang of drug dealers - collapsed. This is the same gang, in fact, that Link owes money to. Just as Dalton and Foxy are about to make love, they are interrupted by a maid who is intent on giving Dalton a bed bath (this is comic relief).

She calls him by his ‘new’ (witness protection) name, Mike Anderson. After the bed bath, he has his facial bandages removed, and he looks significantly different to before. The police officer who is there to give Dalton / Mike his new ID is a friend who used to work with him, and he tells Dalton / Mike not to worry about anything. He can go about his daily life again and no-one will know who he is. Dalton / Mike even has a letter from the Chief of Police thanking him for everything, even though the undercover operation went on for three years and the case still fell apart.

Foxy says that the only way to deal with drug dealers is with “a bullet in the gut”. Dalton / Mike is let out for a few hours to acclimatise to being out in the open after his operation.

Sure enough, out in the big wide world Dalton / Mike and Foxy walk about virtually unrecognised. Foxy sees an old friend – Oscar (Bob Minor), who is dressed as an old crippled wino on the street. He is part of a trap to get a drug dealer, who walks around the corner and is attacked by Oscar and another couple of men. After a protracted street-fight the drug dealer is bundled away into a car. Oscar explains that he is a prominent member of the “Anti-Slavery Committee”, a community group dedicated to ridding the streets of drug dealers and other degenerates. They set up the Committee to compensate for the fact that the police are corrupt, and allow drug dealers to carry on dealing while they turn a blind eye. Foxy comments that vigilantism is “as American as Apple Pie”.

Back at Foxy’s place, Link is talking to his girlfriend Deb on the phone, and henchmen from the ‘mob’ are looking for him. They’ve already visited Deb. Dalton / Mike and Foxy arrive back, and Link finds Dalton / Mike familiar somehow. He goes out for a walk, and when he returns he finds a newspaper clipping of Dalton in Foxy’s things. He realises that Dalton IS Mike, and that if he was to tip off the mob, they may let him off the $20,000 that he owes them…

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Written By: Jimmy Green [Contact]

“Foxy Brown” was made the year after “Coffy”, and is a far inferior film. Everything that made ““Coffy” good has been amplified here, at the expense of realism and style, and comes across as an attempt to capitalise on that film’s success.

Although “Coffy” may not have been the best film ever made, it had an emotional realism and at least allowed viewers to suspend their disbelief.

“Foxy Brown”, right from the start, puts its cards on the table. This isn’t an expose of a kind of ‘real life’ like “Superfly” (1972), or even a straightforward wish-fulfilment revenge fantasy like it’s predecessor “Coffy”. It’s aiming for a much wider audience, and this is very clear - the opening credits are very Bond-esque (as already noted), from the dancing silhouettes to the final image of Foxy adopting a shooting position and firing a pistol at the camera. Other attempts to ‘go Hollywood’ include the villain in the film sitting in a big swivel armchair, with her back to the camera when we first meet her (she’s only missing a fluffy cat to stroke).

There doesn’t seem to be a five minute period that goes by without either a fist-fight, a car chase or a shooting. Foxy’s love interest has undergone “plastic surgery” as part of a witness protection type deal to change his appearance. There is a comic maid character who slaps the love interest in a ‘delicate place’ for laughs.

This film goes for the lowest common denominator, and subverts everything about “Coffy”. Why do I keep referencing “Coffy”? Well, not only do they share the same star (Pam Grier), a very similar type of supporting cast (Sid Haig and the usual white villains), the same writer-director (Jack Hill) and the same studio (AIP), but Foxy Brown was originally written as a sequel to “Coffy”. It’s original title was “Burn, Coffy, Burn”. However, someone at the AIP marketing department decided that sequels weren’t making any money, so the script was slightly changed: the name Coffy was switched to Foxy Brown. Other than that, according to Jack Hill there were no other changes. (In the first film, Coffy mentioned another sister and a never-do-well brother. Cue Coffy’s – I mean, Foxy’s - ‘brother’ Antonio Fargas, following his cameo (ironically enough, as an informant) in “Shaft” (1971).)

Anyway, the fact is that where “Coffy” had slick, realistic visuals, this is ‘Bond-wannabe’-lite. Where “Coffy” had a sense of women taking control despite all the odds, this has vicious images of Pam Grier being raped and having someone whip her around the neck and drag her across the floor (do we really need to see these things?). Where the prostitutes in “Coffy” were manipulating the men for their own ends, Claudia – a prostitute in “Foxy Brown” – is unnaturally thin and unhealthy looking, being used by others and threatened. This may very well be a more realistic view of the realities of prostitution, but here, amongst all the Bond-influenced tomfoolery, it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

Similarly, the film seems to want to set itself up as a ‘realistic’ representation of life, no less than in the exchange between one of the henchmen, Bunyon, and Steve. Steve wants to know how Dalton / Mike survived when Bunyon was sent to kill him: Bunyon replies “I zapped him between the (shoulder) blades! He fell, just like in the movies!” Steve replies “Just like in the movies? And then he probably got up again, stupid, just like in the movies!” Does this film really think that it’s able to comment on violence in films being inaccurate, when one of the set pieces involves a man being chased by a plane and then cut in half?

Where the politics of “Coffy” were subtle and integral to the plot, here they just seem ‘soapboxish’ – in particular, the scene where Link justifies his hustling to Foxy: “I’m a black man! And I don’t know how to sing, and I don’t know how to dance, and I don’t know how to preach in no congregation. I’m too small to be a football hero, and I’m too ugly to be elected Mayor. But I watch TV, and I see all them people in all them fine homes they live in, and all them nice cars they drive, and I get all full of ambition. Now you tell me what I’m supposed to do with all this ambition I got.” This is a partial paraphrase from “Superfly” (1972), when Eddie (Carl Lee) is talking to Priest (Ron O’Neal) about whether they should take the deal from the cops or not. It doesn’t really lead anywhere; in fact, it seems to be a justification to why most of the Black characters in the film are criminals (or vigilantes).

There could be an enjoyable streak to this film, if it didn’t seem to be so anti-women in places. Where Coffy had the title character treated in a way where we felt her pain, or we could at least empathise with her position, the rather gruesome treatment Pam Grier gets in this film distances us from the character. The balancing act Coffy had with a comic book mentality against suspension of disbelief is here overbalanced and lands squarely in the middle of exploitative masochism. Are we supposed to empathise with Foxy in this film as she is whipped around the neck in the same way that we did when Vitroni spat on Coffy, and we felt repulsed?

This film seems to revel in its unpleasantness much more, because what happens is so much more extreme. The fact that the only time we see a full view of Pam Grier’s breasts in this film is just after she has been raped, and it’s as she is trying to escape from being tied up on a bed, tells a lot about how we are supposed to be positioned as viewers.
It’s a shame that the film took that route, rather than being a decent sequel (in all but name).

This is one to pick up if you fancy it, but don’t knock yourself out.


Rewind Factor: 7

Many of the actors and directors of these classics quite rightly utterly despise the term 'blaxploitation'. "We don't understand [the word] 'Blaxploitation.' I think it was created out of ignorance. None of us [actors] was exploited. Our checks cleared. They audiences weren't being exploited - they were entertained by what they saw, strong black heroes." -Fred 'Hammer' Williamson.

Jack Hill (writer-director) was unhappy with the film. “To me, Foxy Brown was kind of a desperation project that I really didn’t have enough time to do. I just threw everything in. Some things I put in just to spite the company…The notorious scene where she presents the severed penis was an idea that I never really thought they’d go for. I was so annoyed by the attitude that AIP had toward the picture, the kind of stuff they wanted, and the kind of fighting that I was having to do (to stop it being a straightforward formulaic action film) that I suggested (the severed penis) almost as a sarcastic thing. They bought it and I was stuck with it. I must say, I’ve been ashamed of it ever since.”

Peter Brown (Steve Elias in the film) hated it – he described it several years later as an “awful piece of sh*t” when talking to writer-director Jack Hill.

The rapper Foxy Brown took her name from this film.

AIP wanted to cut the scene with the call girl Claudia (Juanita Brown) and her ex-husband and child as it wasn’t necessary to the plot. They didn’t feel that it was action-packed enough (despite being one of the more realistic elements of the film), and Jack Hill had to argue to keep it in. In interviews, he has implied that he offered them some more violent material to balance keeping the scene in, which they accepted.

When Quentin Tarantino adapted Elmore Leonard’s book “Rum Punch” for the screen into the film “Jackie Brown”, he changed the name of the character Jackie Burke to Jackie Brown as an homage to this film. He also cast Pam Grier as Jackie Brown, and used the same font as “Foxy Brown” in “Jackie Brown” and on the promotional material.

This was the last time that Jack Hill and Pam Grier worked together.

The picture that you have on the home page for Foxy Brown shows Pam Grier with another actor. You have him listed as Antonio Fargas, but it's really Terry Carter from the McCloud TV show. [Thanks to Tom]

Do you know some Foxy Brown trivia that we could add? [Please send it in]


I was hoping you guys could contact the producers to verify the locations. From looking at certain scenes where there are mountains and hills these physical landmarks highly resemble the communities of Pacoima and Lake View Terrace in the City of Los Angeles. Another suspect location could be the Baldwin Hills area. If these are not the communities then maybe the Cities of El Monte, Arcadia, or Azusa can be other locations. I want to visit the locations and check out the development on the locations since then. [Thanks to Jesse]


Can you help? Do you know any of the Los Angeles, S. California filming locations used for Foxy Brown? [Please send them in]

Foxy Brown DVD  Foxy Brown on DVD?
 
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[16:9 -Widescreen Enhanced][STEREO or SURROUND]Trailer, Commentary
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Foxy Brown Soundtrack

Good, although not the best '70s black film soundtrack'. It doesn't rank with "Trouble Man", "Coffy", "Superfly", "Blacula" and "Shaft" (the best of the '70s black film' soundtracks). Not really very memorable. (Willie Hutch also did the score for "The Mack", which was better than this.)

Track listing:

1. Chase
2. Theme of Foxy Brown
3. Overture of Foxy Brown
4. Hospital Prelude of Love Theme
5. Give Me Some of That Good Old Love
6. Out There
7. Foxy Lady
8. You Sure Know How to Love Your Man
9. Have You Ever Asked Yourself Why (All About Money Game)
10. Ain't That (Mellow, Mellow)
11. Whatever You Do (Do It Good)

Soundtrack Available: On CD

 


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"Don’t mess aroun’ with…Foxy Brown. She’s the meanest chick in town!"

 
Foxy Brown Picture
The things Pam Grier had to do to get the role...
Foxy Brown Picture
Grier and Fargas

Foxy Brown Movie Details
Year:
1974
Studio:
AIP
Director:
Jack Hill
Starring:
Pam Grier, Antonio Fargas, Peter Brown, Terry Carter, Katheryn Loder, Harry Holcombe, Sid Haig, Juanita Brown
--
Genre:
Action
  
+
Some interesting moments, good to watch to see what "Coffy Part 2" might have been, and a reasonable generic action film.
-
Too mysogynistic, some lame plot devices, trying too hard to appeal to a mass audience at the expense of actually being GOOD.

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