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|Directed by||D'Urville Martin|
|Screenplay by||Jerry Jones|
|Story by||Rudy Ray Moore|
|Produced by||Rudy Ray Moore|
|Starring||Rudy Ray Moore|
|Cinematography||Nicholas Josef von Sternberg|
|Edited by||Rex Lipton|
|Music by||Arthur G. Wright|
|Distributed by||Dimension Pictures|
|Box office||$12 million|
Dolemite is a 1975 American blaxploitation crime comedy film and is also the name of its principal character, played by Rudy Ray Moore, who co-wrote the film and its soundtrack. Moore, who started his career as a stand-up comedian in the late 1960s, heard a rhymed toast about an urban hero named Dolemite from a regular at the record store where he worked, and decided to adopt the persona as an alter ego in his act.
Dolemite is a pimp, comedian, and nightclub owner who is serving twenty years in prison after being set up by a rival, Willie Green (D'Urville Martin), and framed by detectives Mitchell and White, at the direction of the mayor (Hy Pyke). Released by the governor (thanks to lobbying by fellow pimp "Queen Bee" (Lady Reed)), Dolemite is freed in order to discover the source of the out of control drug problem in the "Fourth Ward" of the city, and take revenge on the corruption that put him in prison. He rekindles his reputation on the streets, while trying to get back his "Total Experience" club from the hands of Willie Green. He enlists the help of Queen Bee, and his stable of kung fu trained prostitutes to settle the score, while an undercover FBI agent (Jerry Jones) lurks in the shadows overlooking the proceedings.
- Rudy Ray Moore as Dolemite
- Lady Reed as Queen Bee
- D'Urville Martin as Willie Green
- West Gale as Reverend Gibbs
- John Kerry as Mitchell
- Jerry Jones as Blakely
- Vainus Rackstraw as Creeper
Moore first developed the character of Dolemite in his stand-up comedy routines, and the character later appeared on Moore’s 1970 debut album, Eat Out More Often, which reached the top 25 on the Billboard 200. He released several more comedy albums using this persona. In 1975, Moore decided to create a film about Dolemite, paying for most of the production out of his own pocket, and using many of his friends and fellow comedians as cast and crew. The film was directed by D'Urville Martin, who appears as the villain Willie Green.
Dolemite was released to DVD on September 13, 2005 by Xenon Pictures and also as part of a boxed set (The Dolemite Collection) on the same date. A widescreen, high definition remastered version, from an original print of the film, was released on Blu-ray disc on April 26, 2016 by Vinegar Syndrome. The prior VHS and DVD releases from the early-1990s were incorrectly transferred with an open matte, which revealed the boom mic at the top of the frame frequently (with the correct matte in a theatrical presentation, this area would have been covered). Over the years, the appearance of the boom mic due to the oversight during the VHS and DVD transfer was the source of amusement by viewers, and in acknowledgement of this, the Blu-ray also features an open matte version as an alternate "boom mic" presentation.
A sequel, The Human Tornado, was released in 1976. A second sequel, The Return of Dolemite, was released in 2002 and was later re-titled The Dolemite Explosion for DVD release. A quasi-sequel, Shaolin Dolemite, starring Rudy Ray Moore as Monk Ru-Dee, was released in 1999.
The action comedy movie Black Dynamite (2009) is not a direct sequel, but is loosely based on and parodies Dolemite.
In popular culture
Snoop Dogg mentions Dolemite in his final verse on Dr. Dre's 1992 single "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang", and the character has also been name dropped in songs by Wu Tang Clan, Eazy-E, Beastie Boys, Lupe Fiasco, and A$AP Rocky. Additionally, a number of rappers, including Too $hort, Luther Campbell, Big Daddy Kane, and Del the Funky Homosapien have given testimony to Moore's influence on them and on rap generally.
A biographical film about Moore and the making of Dolemite, titled Dolemite Is My Name and starring Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore, was released theatrically and on Netflix in October 2019.
Schoolly D's "Signifying Rapper" was inspired by Moore's version.
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- Galuppo, Mia (June 7, 2018). "Eddie Murphy to Star as Rudy Ray Moore for Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
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