Producer and star John Daniels played the lead in several Blaxploitation potboilers in the mid-70s – including The Black Godfather and The Candy Tangerine Man (1975). Here he plays Mike Barnett, a down-and-out music promoter who manages a group of women singers and wants to crack the tough, closed world of the music industry. He’s a lovable loser without a chance.
Except for serendipity – Barnett lucks out because Arnold Stanfield Stone (John F. Goff) – the bigoted president of a music company – needs to satisfy a federal equal opportunity clause concerning black executives, so he underwrites Mike’s company as a tax write-off.
Of course, Mike Barnett is unaware of his token status, so he uses Stone’s money to buy a recording studio and acquire new vocalists.
It’s an engaging premise and a nice touch to see a person who has been conditioned to regard himself as a loser suddenly perk up and strive for excellence.
Writer-director Bernie Rollins is most adept at small moments to which he brings poignancy and laughter that override the bitterness and sarcasm. At its best, Getting Over is naive, sardonic and heartwarming, with moments that are essentially better than the whole.
Besides its technical problems, the most annoying aspect of the film – which is a universal fantasy about losers who become winners – is near the end when the adolescent Penny (Donniece Jackson) uses a dishonest ploy to insure the success of the new musical group The Love Machine.
Getting Over is peopled with some lovable characters, and unlike “traditional” Blaxploitation films, it doesn’t pander to officious white stereotypes. The greedy, bad folks are both black and white.
It also features the all-female singing group The Love Machine, who operate on high octane. Lead singer Sandra Sully is terrific.
It’s an engaging movie with many technical flaws and some traces of amateurism, but they are overcome by the film’s good-natured, energetic optimism.
Arnold Stanfield Stone
John F. Goff
Deff Jeff Marvelous
Dap Sugar Willie
Floyd ‘Wildcat’ Chatman
Zulu La Peer
David Raynr (as David Hubbard)
Joseph A. Hubbard Jr