The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Savage! (1973)

"Savage!" (1973) was an action movie filmed in the Philippines and stars James Iglehart, Carol Speed, Lada Edmund Jr., and Vic Diaz. Cirio H. Santiago was responsible for the direction, and Ed Medard wrote the screenplay. Roger Corman's New World Pictures distributed the movie, and Santiago and Corman produced the film together.

In the early 70s, Corman produced many films in the Philippines. In particular, exploitation films were the primary genre. For example, Pam Grier's career started in exploitation movies such as "The Big Doll House" and "Women in Cages," both released in 1971. 

"Savage!" was the first to incorporate a black lead actor as part of the marketing and hero of the story in these exploitation-style movies. James Iglehart spent some time playing minor-league baseball for the  Pittsburgh Pirates before transitioning to acting. He started in T.V. shows and landed his first movie role in "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" in 1970. "Savage!" was the first of several leading parts in his career, where he eventually started acting in blaxploitation-style martial arts movies. In addition, Carol Speed appeared in several films and T.V. shows before earning her role in "Savage!" However, she was familiar with Corman's work as she starred in "The Big Bird Cage" with Pam Grier. In 1973, Speed was in "The Mack" with Max Julian, a few shows, and T.V. movies.

"Savage!" is a solid B-Movie with a touch of the blaxploitation flavor. Don Julian composed the incredibly underrated soundtrack with several cuts used in hip-hop samples. The "T.N.T. Jackson" soundtrack also used a few songs from the "Savage!" soundtrack. The movie has plenty of action and isn't gory like many exploitation films during this period. While the producers made the movie in the Philippines, the story occurs in Central or South America.

Director: Cirio H. Santiago
Writer: Ed Medard

Starring James Iglehart, Carol Speed, Lada Edmund Jr., Sally Jordan, Vic Diaz, Aura Aurea, Eddie Gutierrez, Ken Metcalfe, Rosanna Ortiz

James Iglehart stars as a criminal on the run who finds him between two warring factions in a tropical nation's bloody conflict. While there, he meets two American women (Carol Speed and Lada Edmund Jr.) who will help him. Together, all three assist the rebel army while trying to escape the country themselves.