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Goodbye Uncle Tom - DVD - Blue Underground Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
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Written by Jay Creepy   
Monday, 03 March 2014
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DVD Cover Art for Goodbye Uncle Tom from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema
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AKA: Addio zio Tom, Farewell Uncle Tom, les negriers, Farvel onkel Tom, Adios tio Tom, ajjo manniskan, Cargasiason noire pour negriers, Les negriers, antio theie Tom, Zio Tom, Jacopetti's Uncle Tom, White Devil Black Hell, Uncle Tom, Addio Onkel Tom

Directed by:
Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi
Written by:
Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi
Produced by:
Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi
Cinematography by:
Claudio Cirillo, Antonio Climati, Benito Frattari
Editing by:
Franco Prosperi, Gualtiero Jacopetti
Music by:
Riz Ortolani
Cast:
Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi, Dick Gregory, Edward Mannix
Year:
1971
Country:
Italy
Language:
English Dubbed
Color:
Color
Runtime:
2h 3min

Distributor: Blue Underground

What a bizarre film this is.  I know that's not the way I usually open a review but Goodbye Uncle Tom is in a world of its own.   It's a world where a two man Italian film crew can travel by helicopter to the slave plantations of years ago, circle the fields and tracks scaring the Massa's horses, making cows run, until finally settling by a huge plantation house.  In the early seventies, America is on the brink of a race war so they have travelled in time to find out how things got this bad.  (It's worth noting that this supposed 'uncut' print of the film via Blue Underground misses a lot of the important news footage, etcetera, found at the beginning and end of the original language version which hammers home this point).

In this world the Italian journalists have arrived to document the slave trade, warts and all, from the white owners, the slavers and finally the slaves themselves.  What is it like to exist in this realm of history?

For instance, we have a senator sat passing chicken to two nude "negro" children under his table.  Men talk to the POV camera with obviously false sideburns about a white God, how other faces are stupid, especially the negro men, and of course they are very "smelly" too.  A proud woman speaks up and states how she has much sympathy for negroes and proclaims she will write a book called Uncle Tom's Cabin.  This lady is Harriet Beecher Stowe, and there are many real people portrayed in this movie, though quite simply written in some cases to be there and not totally accurate.  Oh come on, what were we expecting?  A serious breakdown of this era?  Actually, fairly close as we'll see soon.

The narrator takes us through a brief civil war fight, followed by the aftermath, how the newly freed ex-slaves were employed at 75 cents a day to retrieve the remains of soldiers and bury them in many graves.  Here we are onboard a slave ship with three hundred and twenty shackled captives.  Obligatory abuse follows, such as salt water showers via a bucket, diarrhoea dribbling down legs, feeding time of molasses and beef by wooden spoons and the joyful scene of a slave refusing food so he has his teeth hammered out.

Onshore all cargo has to be quarantined.  Ill or epileptic slaves are either put into cages or hung upside down for treatments.  A rough bath and greasing follows.  They all have their heads shaved -- zoom camera to a bleeding scalp.  Inspections of penis' and scrotum's causes a negro to laugh like a full-on retard when the doctor who calls himself a “vet” tells him he's rather big.  Last but not least comes a cheeks-apart enema to howls of, “Ooh Ooh Ooh!” then the fresh arrivals are fed slop from troughs.

“Look at dem, they'll gobble anything you give 'em,” says a whip carrying ginger Massa, who then explains his support of castration to stop so many “pups.”  Soon the two filmmakers are taken along by a group of white men to a barn where women and children stay . They are made to film countless rapes as the children watch as almost romantic music plays over the soundtrack.

A slave trader is interviewed.  “What they need is a good master,” he explains how the various prices work as a naked woman giggles by his side.  He meets with Charlie, another trader and then shoots him, much to the horror of the film makers.  He then takes all of Charlie's stock.  Feeling unsafe the two Italian's retreat.

Cut to a little white girl leading a chained negro boy along like a pet dog and we're in the 'big privileged house' as negro women clean endlessly muttering about sore hands.  "There's frikkin' babies and toddlers everywhere!"  Some of the girl's are having fun bouncing about and there's a nude kid swinging from the ceiling!  It's chaos!  We then realised the Jacobs cracker's we were munching at the time of watching this must be laced with something or other.  Was this happening?  Oh yes, it was and it's only the start of the madness... well until Mr. Thackery breaks down the liabilities of slaves and Americans, if you have too many in your home.  And of course we have the Rev. Stringfellow who states, “God decreed slavery should be honoured!”

“No!  Not my balls!” screams a bloke punished for touching boys, by having them chopped off as a huge crowd laughs.  “Nigger's don't feel nothing.” says a laughing woman.

Rich women sit and talk, trying to skirt around the fact their husbands are “having time” with “negresses.”  They also discuss how the new “pups” are getting “rosey” and lighter.  Must be the surroundings, they conclude.  Then comes a scene in which a thirteen-year-old girl comes to one of our Italian filmmakers in his room, hands him a whip with a cheeky grin suggesting he make her tender, all the while he struggles with temptations as she undresses and kneels on the bed.  She's all, “Play with me Massa,” and “I prefer white men, Massa, they aren't as big,” “Massa.”  He naturally gives in.

Onto the huge markets, many products are dressed smartly, some are reduced in prices, it seems better to buy in bulk as well.  There's a gang of black children on large weigh scales.  Nude kids are being bathed nearby.  The market general is a black midget with a whip and a top-hat.  He shows off his “half-nigger” women at approximately $5,000 each.  There's basically bare tits all over the place.  Topless girls dance in another room with a clown faced dude for no reason at all.  All smiling ear to ear.  “Dey like it dis way.”  Behind door number three is, surprise, surprise, nude children painted gold and silver, apart from their heads. $3,000 each.  This room is overseen by a skinny camp white man.

Why is this happening to our eyes?  My Horror Soulmate and me exchanged worried looks.  Have we gone to another place in our minds?  Oh, now there's a massive fat man oiling down totally naked young girls whilst in another room a teacher gives lessons on how slaves must speak to their owners.  “Thank you master.  Please master.” they all repeat like a mantra.  “Never look a white man in the eye.” is a strict rule as well.

The duo of bewildered Italians interview a negro who smiles because he's had a series of good masters.  “We are valuable items.  I'm worth two thousand dollars. Imagine a fool master whipping a two thousand dollar slave.  I don't pay taxes, I'm housed by my master, and at times of war I'm not even obligated to military service.”  This angers our filmmakers who storm off.  “All the tormented slaves in this country and we have to run into that puppet!”

Religion is next.  There's a priest giving out wafers to blacks and whites.  My Horror Soulmate noticed that his lips do not move whilst mumbling his prayers (hehehe).  Meanwhile there's a psychedelic  African ceremony watched by a smirking bald white man.

Professor Sam Cartright really lays on his part of the film thickly, about why a negro is a subhuman species.  From the animal nose to the smell of sweat and the smaller cranium to the white man.  To him they aren't human at all, just creatures.  He even puts muzzles on them in case they “devour their own excrement.”  In a totally incredible scene, he feeds a gaggle of men who are on the ground, missing legs and arms like some hellish vision from Fellini!  “They are neither man nor beast.”  If you think that sounds bad then wait until you watch the breeding farm up next.

Goodbye Uncle Tom is misunderstood.  It's a fantastic film which, I suppose, goes a bit over-the-top in parts, but is not afraid to show the complete graphic history of this darkness.  It's violent, it's offensive, but unlike Hollywood films this baby doesn't pull no punches!  It's effect is being rated more in later years.  Instead of being attacked like it was on it's original release back in the seventies, people are seeing how the makers weren't trying to be racist (of course they were indeed out to make money and the duo acquired a lot of money making Mondo films).  There is a huge message in Goodbye Uncle Tom.  I think the website Afrostyly, sums up perfectly, “...hard but realistic movie about slavery.  Sensitive people should abstain

The often repeated marching band theme is incredibly catchy and you'll be whistling along.  The dubbing on this version is comical -- sheer entertainment.  Most white men sound like Mr. Crabb from Spongebob Squarepants and the black men sound like Patrick from the same show.

As the film closes, we return to present day (well, 1970ish) and a black man reads The Confessions of Nat Turner, whilst on a beach muttering, “Pink bastards!” as whiteys get in his way.  There are intercut scenes of bloodshed as militant groups hack up white families (oh and swing the doll of a baby into the wall).  Quotes from the book are stated over the massacres.  And so concludes a brave shot at an ugly subject.

The creators are also guilty of Mondo Cane and Africa Addio, but the ambition and budget (not to mention the multitude of people) of
Goodbye Uncle Tom means that this is their masterpiece.  Such a shame it has been lambasted so many times, over the years by people who see it only as racist or exploitation.  Watched properly and it's a balanced statement, a probably realistic view of how it was for men and women sold as slaves, compacted into a short length of time.  The dubbed version doesn't do it much justice, removing the important beginning as I stated earlier and making every black man chat like a hillbilly, but at least it's gore and sleaze is intact enough.

Blue Underground have chucked on a commentary by Giampaolo Lomi, and some Behind The Scenes footage for this amongst standard extras.

 

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

Goodbye Uncle Tom DVD Screenshot from Blue Underground on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 DVD: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
 Region: NTSC R0
 Audio: Dolby Digital Mono


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - Theatrical Trailer
 - Behind The Scenes 8mm footage with audio commentary
 - Behind the Scenes Still Gallery
 - Poster and Still Gallery

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 March 2014 )
 
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