|"Look Mayor, you've been hunting black folks for so long,|
we just wanted to see what it'd be like to hunt white folks."
aka Boss, The Boss, The Black Bounty Killer
dir. Jack Arnold
Starring: Fred Williamson, D'Urville Martin, R.G. Armstrong, William Smith, Carmen Hayworth, Barbara Leigh
Review By Greg Klymkiw
Boss (Fred Williamson), a tough, tall and lean African-American cowboy, counts his reward money, pockets it obligingly, then flashes a big smile at the racist lawman who grudgingly had to pay it out. "I wants to thank ya, Sheriff," says our title character. "Sorry, we ain't got time to stay for supper, but we got us more whities to catch."
And so begins Boss Nigger, one of the best westerns of the 70s. Boss and his trusty, wiseacre sidekick Amos (D'Urville Martin) ride off into the picturesque natural beauty of New Mexico in search of their next easy kill - always wanted, dead or alive and yes, always of the White Trash Caucasian Persuasion.
Now if you saw Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained and thought the idea of an African-American bounty hunter was original, just remind yourself that QT's entire output has been steeped in ripping off, or rather, referencing the works of older films he revered as being cooler than cool.
And don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the Jamie Foxx/Christoph Waltz western bloodbath, but Boss Nigger is the real thing.
|JED: Go ahead and kill me, Nigger!|
BOSS: That's "Mr. Nigger" to you!
JED: Then go to Hell, Mr. Nigger!
BOSS: To Hell is where you're going!
|How can anyone not like a film wherein|
Fred Williamson goes at it with William Smith?
Boss and Amos waste no time in posting the new laws of the town which all include hefty fines for spitting, cussing, shooting and worst of all, using the word "nigger". Many townspeople are shocked by this and would just as soon put up with the Status Quo, but some, like the sexy schoolteacher Miss Pruitt (Barbara Leigh) are relieved that law has come to their town. She even develops a mad crush on the muscular, leather-adorned Boss Nigger.
In addition to their shenanigans in town, the Boss and Amos wreak havoc upon the huge gang of cutthroats and Boss Nigger reigns solidly as a violent, action-packed western of the highest order.
Jack Arnold's helmsmanship is first-rate, the fisticuffs, shootouts and explosions are taut and engaging and Fred Williamson's writing equally so.
The dialogue is especially ripe and you'll feel like delivering a standing ovation when the prim, proper schoolmarm Miss Pruitt begs Boss to take her along when he leaves town after tidying up his business. Williamson, always the King of Cool, writes himself one of the best lines in movie history. Bidding the sexy schoolteacher farewell, he says:
"Lady, a Black Man's got enough trouble in this world without a White woman following him around."
Enough trouble, indeed!
Boss Nigger (with the title Boss) is playing at the 2014 FantAsia International Film Festival in Montreal.