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Cornbread, Earl And Me

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    Scyther
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  • Cornbread, Earl And Me



    Released by: Olive Films
    Released on: June 21st, 2016
    Director: Joseph Manduke
    Cast: Rosalind Cash, Bernie Casey, Laurence Fishburne, Keith Wilkes
    Year: 1975
    Purchase from Amazon

    The Movie

    This 1975 film from director Joseph Manduke is based upon a Ronald Fair novel by the name of Hog Butcher, and has a lot in common with another drama from the 70s often lumped in with the Blaxploitation genre, the excellent Cooley High.

    Cornbread, Earl and Me tells the story of a young man with a promising college basketball career who tragically becomes a victim of mistaken identity by police investigating a crime. The titular "Cornbread" is shot down in the street in front of numerous witnesses, yet the embarrassed authorities do everything they can to suppress the truth from coming out in court. This includes the physical harassment and threatening of just about anyone who was there during the incident, while the pressure mounts and mounts as Cornbread's family seeks justice.

    Keith Wilkes plays Cornbread, but the film's real story centers around his parents, aunt and idealistic young cousin, played by Laurence Fishburne. The stunning Rosalind Cash co-stars as Fishburne's mother, a struggling single parent who does her best to protect her son from both the police and his own grief at losing Cornbread. She's only one part of what truly is an all star cast for Manduke's film, which includes Thalmus Rasulala, Antonio Fargas, Bernie Casey and Moses Gunn.

    It's easy to root for Cornbread's family in the film, as they continually have to fight against seemingly insurmountable odds from the police. The performances are often affable, and powerful when they need to be, tying once again into the Cooley High balancing act of high drama with low-key, local hijinks. Fishburne is particularly great here, showing early signs of the charisma which would make him a star. Cornbread, Earl and Me also benefits from a wonderful funk/soul soundtrack from jazz legend Donald Byrd and The Blackbyrds, with plenty of moments of slow drama during the court room scenes and up tempo, grooving numbers for the scenes where Cornbread is playing basketball.

    Cornbread, Earl and Me may have been marketed as a Blaxploitation film in the American International trailer, but Manduke's film is very much a heavy, emotionally charged piece, which-especially given today's tumultuous political climate-resonates just as loudly today as it did some forty plus years ago.

    Video/Audio/Extras

    Olive Films brings forth their usual standards of quality to this release of Cornbread, Earl and Me presenting the film in AVC encoded 1080p. The colors are bright and nicely saturated and the print itself still have healthy amounts of grain. It's a tad bit dark during the night sequences, but it's not too bad, while there's no evidence of artifacts or any other sorts of damage to be seen.

    The audio on the DTS-HD Mono track is nicely rendered and audible throughout, including the inclusion of error free subtitles. Byrd's score is nicely balanced to the dialog, and only jumps up when it needs to, during some of the more action-intensive scenes.

    Olive, as usual, doesn't add any extras other than the trailer, but regardless of this fact, Cornbread, Earl and Me looks quite good.

    The Final Word

    Just look at that cast! If you consider yourself a fan of black cinema from the 70s, and are cool with taking a break from all the shootouts and action set pieces, than Cornbread, Earl and Me is a great way to relax on a rainy afternoon.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!



















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