Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings, The (1976)
“You only gotta pretend! And they don’t know we’re pretending, so we’s one up on ’em!”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
He argues that while “it starts out as an interesting look at exploitation of blacks by blacks and a sharp leftist political satire (‘Seize the means of production’ is Bingo’s motto),” it “unfortunately dissolves into a familiar farce” — though I don’t quite agree with this assessment. Rather, director John Badham — working from a script by Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins from a novel by William Brashler — affectionately but incisively shows the resilience and creativity of those forced to play for the Negro Leagues (which finally folded in 1948, more or less, due to integration).
According to one historian in a fascinating short documentary on the topic:
This film most certainly gets that playful and creative energy across. Williams and Jones are both excellent in leading roles, and Richard Pryor has fun in what is essentially an extended cameo role as a player determined to convince the White leagues that he is Cuban so he can play with them.
Note: Be sure to watch director John Badham describing the film in his appearance on Trailers from Hell.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments: