My predilection for Blaxploitation movies was the catalyst for Netflix suggesting that I watch 1969’s Slaves, but after watching the film, I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy something much different than a Blaxploitation flick. The movie starred Ossie Davis as a Bible-thumbing “good” slave named Luke who is sold to a ruthless Mississippi plantation owner named MacKay (Stephen Boyd). Luke transforms from a “yassa masta” type of slave to a rabble rousing, revolt-inspiring man. MacKay’s slave mistress Cassy is played by Dionne Warwick.
Davis has numerous bellowing speeches about slavery, Christianity and his identity as a man. This is not at all a Blaxploitation movie. The cinematography alone in the first 10 minutes lets you know that. And Dionne Warwick??? Honey. Her wardrobe is ridic. She is a 26/27 year old slave and has been “with” MacKay for nine years. She is his “African” plaything. She sleeps in the big house in his bed. She is draped in beautiful, traditional, billowing, African garb of many textures and colors. Cassy is adorned with elaborate afro wigs and jewelry from various parts of the globe. I would wear pretty much everything she rocked in this. And Ms. Warwick is downright gorgeous in this movie. Those cheekbones and eyelashes are putting in work.
It’s an intense film. MacKay has a really interesting speech about the psychological side of slavery that Stephen Boyd executes to perfection. There’s a pre-sex scene between Cassy and MacKay that is quite disturbing. (Random Aside: MacKay looks like a cross between Rhett Butler and Robin Thicke.)
After I watched the film, I looked online to find out more about it and reviews and such. I found out that it is not available on VHS or DVD and that it originally had an X rating (It has an NR rating now). There’s really nothing X-rated about it. Aside from some nipples shown and some kinky/sick antics between Cassy and MacKay, there is nothing overtly sexual about it. But maybe the interracial aspect was enough to garner an X rating at the time.
Point being, you should check out this movie. Click here to peep the (grainy) trailer!