Matt Cimber would have been noted by pop culture junkies for just two things. He was the last husband of Jayne Mansfield (The Girl Can’t Help It) and the creator of G.L.O.W. (the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling). But that wasn’t enough for Cimber since like all residents of Southern California, he wanted to direct. During the early ’70s, if you wanted to produce an independent film that had a chance of find a welcoming audience, there was immediate results in black action films. This was the era that made Pam Grier, Jim Brown and Fred Williamson. Inner city theaters were eager for films that would appeal to their audience. They weren’t going to run The Apple Dumpling Gang after Three the Hard Way. Cimber made The Candy Tangerine Man as a pleaser for a crowd eager for Pimpstastic crisis.
Ron Lewis (John Daniels) seems likes a cool family man living in the suburbs. He has a nice yard and doesn’t cause any trouble with the neighbors. Little do they know that as darkness arrives, Ron heads into Los Angeles and transforms into Black Baron, a pimp with a massive stable of hookers working the Sunset Strip. He keeps an eye on his employees driving around in his two-tone Rolls Royce. He knows how to keep his ladies working the corners without slacking off. They have to give him his cut of $200 a night or he’ll cut them. They make their quota like all good independent contractors. Like any business, there are rivals jealous of his success and ready for a hostile takeover. In this case its another pimp and a mobster ready to grab his workforce. They are extremely hostile in the takeover. But Baron isn’t going to just head back to the suburbs and grab a job at Ace Hardware. Things get bloody and bullets fly as the Baron proves you don’t mess with a man in fine threads.
The Candy Tangerine Man is an uneven film. The acting is all over the place. Daniels comes out the best as the lead. He has no problem going from family man to handing out pimp justice. There’s a feeling that there were two different director of photography on the film. Certain scene have a fine cinematic look with proper lighting and blocking. Others appear to have been set up in the frame like your great aunt’s snapshots. Maybe this is just part of the joy of shooting a low budget film where sometimes you can set a scene right and others times you’re under the gun and fit all the actors into the frame. Not like this movie was going to be spending any of its budget on a Best Cinematography Oscar campaign. This movie was made from audience wanting a tale of pimps versus mobsters with a few crooked cops. The film provides what it promises.
The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfers have platter scratches and other debris since they original negatives were lost. But these are films where roughness adds character to the film. You do get to see plenty of detail as Baron cruises Sunset Strip including Dean Martin’s old nightspot. The audio is mono for both movies.
DVD has all the features of the Blu-ray in standard definition.
Introduction from Matt Cimber (4:12) has the director explain how he knew a guy who was like the Baron.
Lady Cocoa (91 minutes) is another production from Cimber that came out in 1975. This time he works with Lola Falana, the Las Vegas sensation and a lady that hung with the Rat Pack. She plays a prisoner who has decided to fink out her old lover to the law. The law hides her out at a Nevada casino while getting things lined up. However she’s such a brat that it feels like her protection might just toss her to the hitman on her trail. This film has a higher production standard. It also features NFL Hall of Famer and Coca-Cola legend Mean Joe Greene. There’s a director’s commentary featuring Cimber and actor John Goff. They talk about both films. Cimber put together a fine double feature with Tangerine and Cocoa.
Vinegar Syndrome presents The Candy Tangerine Man. Directed by: Matt Cimber. Screenplay by: Mikel Angel. Starring: John Daniels, Eli Haines and Tom Hankason. Running Time: 92 minutes. Rated: R. Released: July 26, 2016.
Tags: Lady Cocoa, The Candy Tangerine Man, Vinegar Syndrome