Friday, June 8, 2012

NGoN #146: Carol Speed

While reviewing The Mack earlier this week, I was reminded of Blaxploitation and Women in Prison powerhouse Carol Speed. Speed was quite prolific in the '70s, appearing in Disco Godfather, Abby (aka Black Exorcist), Black Samson, Dynamite Brothers, Savage!, The Mack, The New Centurions, and The Big Bird Cage, not to mention roles on television and appearances in print.

Speed in the back-right, with the cast of The Big Bird Cage
It was not easy for women to be standouts in Blaxploitation. Tamara Dobson (Cleopatra Jones), Jeannie Bell (TNT Jackson), and Queen of the genre Pam Grier (Coffy, Foxy Brown, et al) stood out in starring roles, and established actresses like Eartha Kitt were unavoidable to audiences, but often support players like Speed gained less name recognition despite their influence. Like WIP and Blaxploitation colleague Juanita Brown, Speed does some heavy lifting in her films.

Black Samson

Jet magazine with Gloria Hendry and Jim Kelly

The Big Birdcage again

Abby aka Black Exorcist

6 comments:

ayeM8y said...

I'm not as familiar with Carol Speed as I am with Anitra Ford whom I've wanted to be since The Price is Right began.

Lockwood said...

Have you covered Jennette Goldstein in one of your NGoN posts? If not, she deserves a shout-out! Best known as Vasquez in Aliens, I looked her up on IMDB the other day and was startled to realize how often she's been in films I've seen without recognizing her.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Invasion of the Bee Girls was delightfully awful, and worth watching if you are a b-movie fan, or just a Ford fan. :-)

Darius Whiteplume said...

I have not. Will have to look her up though. She was kind of a Michelle Rodriguez prototype, if memory serves. I shall investigate. ;-)

Lockwood said...

Very much like MR in Aliens, but startlingly good at blending in, in other roles. Com officer in one of the Star Trek films, John Connors foster mother in Terminator II, Alice the maid in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Irish mom in Titanic. IMDB describes her as a chameleon, and I think that's apt. But I'll always think of her as that kick-ass hottie, Vasquez.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Hmm... I'll have to look her up. Sounds like a potential new obsession. :-)

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