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Cinema Junkie Episode 180: Dolemite, Eddie Murphy, and Rudy Ray Moore

Two legacies intersect in new film that pays tribute to Blaxploitation star

Photo credit: Dimension Pictures

Rudy Ray Moore in "Dolemite" (1975). His life and the making of that film are now the subject of the new film "Dolemite is My Name" starring Eddie Murphy as Moore.

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Eddie Murphy stars in the Netflix film "Dolemite is My Name." The film introduces audiences to singer, musician, stand up comic, actor and film producer Rudy Ray Moore. Moore found success in the 1970s with a string of Blaxploitation films that began with the 1975 film "Dolemite."

I speak with award-winning comic book writer David Walker, who knew the ... Read more →

Aired: October 11, 2019 | Transcript

Rudy Ray Moore may not be a household name but all that may change with the release of "Dolemite is My Name," Eddie Murphy’s passion project about the singer, actor, stand-up comic, and film producer Rudy Ray Moore.

Two legacies have become intertwined in the new film "Dolemite is My Name:" Rudy Ray Moore and Eddie Murphy. Moore's raunchy stand-up comedy of the 1970s provided an obvious influence on Murphy and now Murphy pays his respects to Moore by bringing the story of Moore's struggle to bring the film "Dolemite" to the screen in the mid-1970s.

Photo credit: Netflix

Eddie Murphy plays Rudy Ray Moore in the Netflix movie "Dolemite is My Name."

To discuss Murphy’s new film as well as the original "Dolemite" movie and Blaxploitation cinema in general, I am turning to a trio of people that I have previously had on Cinema Junkie: David Walker, award-winning comic book writer, author, filmmaker, journalist, and educator as well as San Diego based independent filmmakers Sanns Dixon and Dante Moran.

Walker knew Moore and likes that the new film reveals a genuine affection and admiration for Moore. "Dolemite is My Name" is a supremely entertaining film about the challenges of trying to make a feature film when you have absolutely no clue how that might actually be done. Not surprisingly, the film was written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the team that also wrote "Ed Wood," a film about another man determined to make movies outside the studio system. But unlike Wood, Moore actually turned a profit and made better films as he went along.

"Dolemite Is My Name" starts streaming on Netflix on Oct. 25 and will have a limited theatrical release. Moore's films are available streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu so go check them out. But be forewarned — they are not politically correct but need to be appreciated for the time at which they were made, and for Moore's ability as an African American to get these films made and to deliver them to an eager audience.

Please note that the original trailers for "Dolemite" had to be censored for use in this podcast but you can find them online in all their original glory.

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