"White Man, White Woman, Black Baby!"
Hallmark Releasing Corp., the small Boston-based outfit that first released Last House on the Left and Mark of the Devil, specialized in cutting-edge exploitation sold with such outrageously over-the-top ad campaigns ("Itís Only a Movie... Only a Movie...Only a Movie...") that their films always got noticed. Yet Born Black ó which Hallmark released in partnership with American Internationalófell through the cracks. Despite typically rude advertising ("Your Baby is Black! The Authenticated Medical Phenomenon!!, it received only limited bookings, and is virtually forgotten today. Which isnít terribly surprising since the punchline to this Euro oddity is... well, way too unsanitary to be sexy.
Lily-white Jenny is an adorable blonde slut that works at a German bar available for "private parties." Her "special sleeping partner" is Harry, a black trumpet player who also works there. They casually make love, then get ready for a soiree wealthy white industrialist Werner Jansen is throwing for a handful of middle-aged business associates. Leaving their wives behind at Wernerís ultra-elegant mansion, the men go hooker-happy at the bar, with Wemer and Jenny getting it on in a back room ("Harry, Jansen wants to ball me, okay?"). Come dawn, Werner slinks back home, climbs into the sack, and makes insincere love to his "faithful, devoted, lovely and loyal" and utterly Caucasian wife, Elisabeth.
Nine months later, Elisabeth gives birth. Jo a black baby. All of which is shown in hideously blunt, right-there-in-your-face, birth-of-a-baby footage. (Which was dutifully hyped in Hallmarkís advertising: "Witness the Actual Birth! White Mother! Black Baby!") Naturally, Elisabeth is a tad surprised when a nurse hands her the little black infant: "This isnít my child!" Werner, however, is downright appalled and immediately begins divorce proceedings: "Elisabeth, of all people, with a Negro!"
But Elisabeth didnít cheat on her husband which, of course, begs the obvious: how the hell did something like this happen?
Well... Born Black is German Euro sleaze, not a medical textbook, so the very vague answer it provides not only suggests that sperm has a nasty sense of humor, but raises about four thousand additional questions, the most immediate being, "Doesnít anyone bathe over there?" More to the point, it creates the unfortunate implication that skin color can be passed along like some sexually transmitted disease. Itís something Born Blackís advertising capitalized on by showing pictures of Harry, Jenny, Werner, and Elisabeth with captions reading: "The Donor, The Carrier, The Transmitter, The Recipient." Ye-gods! Worse, however, is that the whole damn thing is supposed to be legit. Yup, itís "Based on a True Incident and Only the Names and Places have been Altered!" Hey, they wouldnít lie about a thing like that, honest From a 35mm "ltís-been-medically-proven!" letterboxed print. ó Dribblejuice
1969/72 Germany / ItalyColor:
Gunther SchrammOther cast:
Michael Hinz , Piera Koser, Elisabeth FantiDirected by:
Rolf von Sydow