Black Gunn


1h 34m 1972
Black Gunn

Brief Synopsis

Film about racial tension in L.A., as nightclub boss Jim Brown avenges his brother's death by leading black Vietnam veteran activists against the white mobsters who are responsible.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Action
Crime
Release Date
Dec 1972
Premiere Information
New York opening: 20 Dec 1972
Production Company
Champion Production Company; World Arts Media Film Productions Associates (UK) Ltd.; World Film Services, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
Hollywood, California, United States; Hollywood--Paramount Studios, California, United States; London--Twickenham Film Studios, England, Great Britain; Los Angeles, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Synopsis

Successful entrepreneur Gunn lives with his girl friend Judith and his younger brother Scott on an estate attached to The Gunn Club, his nightclub that caters exclusively to blacks. Righteous and naïve, Scott has joined the Black Action Group (BAG), a group of militants and returning Vietnam War veterans. One night, the group robs an East Los Angeles mob syndicate betting parlor for money to purchase weapons and absconds with incriminating daily payoff records. During the heist, one BAG member is shot and killed. Later, when Scott attempts to hide the money in a vault at The Gunn Club, Gunn catches his brother and questions him. Scott defends BAG's actions as necessary to stop the white power establishment from oppressing blacks, vowing to use the money to bomb banks and wealthy white homes. Seeing the payoff books, Gunn realizes that his brother is in deep trouble with the mob, but agrees to hold both the money and books for safekeeping. Meanwhile, mob leader Laurento promotes Russ Capelli, a used car dealership owner and minor mob figure, to West Coast mob chief and charges him with managing psychotic hit man Ray Kriley, who has been assigned to find the payoff books at any price. Knowing that the robbers were black, Kriley, Rico and two other thugs beat a regular black informant, parking attendant Sam Green, for information, but Sam refuses to divulge the truth. The gang then badgers a white prostitute who services the black community for names in connection with the robbery. Realizing she is holding back and that her regular customers are returning veterans and militants, they go to the BAG storefront office. When his demands for the money and the books are met with silence by BAG leader Seth and others, Kriley threatens a young boy, then flees as BAG militants fire their guns after him. Soon after, black homicide detective Lt. Hopper and his white associate, Cassidy, arrive at the Gunn home to question Scott. Learning from his club host Larry that the police are waiting, Gunn convinces his brother to go into hiding, then obstinately refuses to answer the policemen's questions about the robbery and murder. At the club later, white congressman Carl Adams and several guests, including wealthy socialite Toni Lombardo, ask for a table but are tactfully refused by Gunn, who suggests that all the empty tables are reserved. Mentioning that Lt. Hopper sent him, Adams gains entrance and talks alone with Gunn about the increased tension in his district over the recent robbery, trying to pressure Gunn into resolving the issue with the mob. Suddenly Frank, a white guest in the Adams' party, accosts Judith, prompting Gunn to ask Adams and his friends to leave. Later, Gunn retires to a lounge room where Toni is waiting to seduce him under the pretense of apologizing for Frank's behavior. As Gunn tries to deflect her advances, Kriley and his thugs burst in holding Larry at gunpoint, demanding that Gunn leave with them. Gunn, whose house is filled with various antique firearms, pulls out a shotgun hidden in his desk and shoots at Kriley and his thugs, who flee. The next morning, Gunn finds that the mob has mortally wounded Scott and left him to die on the front lawn. Determined to avenge his brother's murder, Gunn hands the mob money over to BAG members and offers to team up with them. Believing that a drug dealer probably informed the mob about Scott's location in exchange for money, Gunn and the BAG militia grip dealer Jimpy in a choke hold until he divulges that Kriley is responsible for Scott's death and that he is a regular at the Hollywood Park Racetrack. Soon after, Gunn spots Kriley at the track and chases him to an apartment, where Gunn beats him unconscious. His own shirt ripped to shreds, Gunn takes one of Kriley's and flees just as the police arrive. Learning from Judith that the police have staked out his home, Gunn arranges to meet her at her apartment, where she undresses him and finds a slip of paper belonging to Kriley in his shirt. The date and time on the paper match a fundraiser Adams had invited him to for later that day. After determining from county records that the house at which the party is being held belongs to Laurento, Gunn arrives there and deduces that Toni, who claims it is her home, is Laurento's niece. Gunn offers to give her the books in trade for Scott's murderer, but Toni refuses, prompting Gunn to hold Frank under water, until he finally names Capelli and his location at the San Pedro docks. Arriving at the mob warehouse hours later, Seth and the militia wait outside as Gunn sneaks in and spots Capelli counting a drug shipment. After shooting one of the gangster's thugs, Gunn holds Capelli at gunpoint, but is soon tackled to the ground by Capelli's men. Meanwhile, Hopper and Cassidy, who have followed Gunn to the location, offer to "unofficially" work with the BAG militia to stop the mobsters. Stealthily moving between warehouse boxes, the men soon find Capelli threatening to blind Gunn with a blow torch, prompting the BAG gunmen and the two officers to begin a shootout with the mobster. Within minutes half the BAG gunmen are killed and the remaining men are easily outnumbered by Capelli's crew. Gunn risks his life to help the injured Seth, but as they drive through mob gunfire, the car flips over. After narrowly escaping before the car explodes in flames, mortally wounded Seth takes the wheel of a large truck while Gunn shoots a machine gun from the truck's bed. Gunn finally hurls a barrel of flammable liquid from the back of the truck at Capelli and lights it, sending the gangster to a fiery death. Later at the Gunn Club estate, Judith is tending to her lover's wounds when Hopper comes to take Gunn in on minor charges. Hopper, who respects Gunn's courage, tells Judith that Gunn has "got it together," to which Judith replies, "No, but he's getting it together."

Crew

Howard Bud Alper

Sound Mixer

Nick Antista

Leadman

Gene Ashbrook

Boom man

Terry Ballard

Props Master

Franklin Coen

Associate Producer

Franklin Coen

Screenwriter

David De Wilde

Supervising Film Editor

Robert Dearberg

Dial Editor

Jack Deshields

Art Director

George Dibie

Lighting

Joe Florence

2d Assistant Director

Ruby Ford

Hairdresser

Vince Garcia

Cable man

Tom Garth

Assistant Props master

Jack Gereghty

Stills man

Laurie Gilbert

Assistant Editor

Frank Griffin

Makeup

Ken Hale

1st Assistant Camera

Jack Harmon

Loc Assistant

Clyde Hart

Key grip

Robert Hartford-davis

From an Original story by

John Heyman

Producer

Bud Howe

Best Boy

Gerry Humphries

Dubbing mixer

Saul Kahan

Unit Publicist

Cheryl Kearney

Set Decoration

Richard H. Kline

Director of Photography

Les Kovacs

Best Boy

Leonard Kwit

Assistant Editor

Peter Lennard

Dubbing Editor

Joe Lombardi

Effects

Paul Lombardi

Effects

Sam Manners

Executive in charge of prod

Sam Manners

Production Manager

Wally Mccovey

Electrician

Margaret Miller

Assistant Editor

Paul Nuckles

Coordinator

Robin O'donahue

Assistant

Tony Osborne

Music comp and Arrangements

Lou Perry

Casting

Norman Priggen

Producer

Ronnie Rondell

Chief stunt artist

Monette Beth Rosen

Secretary

Della Ross

Script Supervisor

Ed Sands

U.S. attorney

Alfred Schultz

Transportation

Eric H. Senat

Associate Producer

Robert Shearer

Based on an Original Screenplay by

Harold Shiffman

2d Assistant Camera

Pat Somerset

Film Editor

Max Stein

1st Assistant Director

Bob Thomas

Camera Operator

Varnell Thomas

Swingman

Twickenham Film Studios London, England

Rec at

Thomas Welsh

Wardrobe

Natalie C. Welton

Prod Secretary

Bill Whitten

Jim Brown's Wardrobe

Film Details

MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Action
Crime
Release Date
Dec 1972
Premiere Information
New York opening: 20 Dec 1972
Production Company
Champion Production Company; World Arts Media Film Productions Associates (UK) Ltd.; World Film Services, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
Hollywood, California, United States; Hollywood--Paramount Studios, California, United States; London--Twickenham Film Studios, England, Great Britain; Los Angeles, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Onscreen credits for producers John Heyman and Norman Priggen read: "Produced by John Heyman and Norman Priggen for Champion Production Company." Location shooting for the film took place in Los Angeles with additional shooting at Paramount Studios.        According to a January 5, 1972 Hollywood Reporter article, British director Robert Hartford-Davis originally conceived of the story for the film based on the black power movement in contemporary Britain and hired Robert Shearer to write the screenplay. The film's copyright holders, World Film Services, Ltd., a London-based company headed by producer John Heyman, and World Arts Media Film Productions Associates (UK) Ltd., apparently owned the rights to the story and, according to some news items, were involved in financing the film, but neither company was listed onscreen.
       Black Gunn was the first American feature-length film for Hartford-Davis and marked the film debuts of American baseball star Vida Blue and NFL football player Gene Washington. Although a July 31, 1972 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that Heyman was considering a sequel to Black Gunn, the sequel was never made.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1972

Released in United States 1995

Released in United States 1972

Released in United States 1995 (Shown in New York City (Film Forum) as part of program "Blaxploitation, Baby!" June 23 - August 10, 1995.)