Richard Pryor’s Forgotten Film ‘Some Kind of Hero” Coming to Blu-ray & DVD in Sept.
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Richard Pryor’s Forgotten Film ‘Some Kind of Hero” Coming to Blu-ray & DVD in Sept.

nullI’m not exactly

sure why Richard Pryor’s 1982 Paramount film, "Some Kind of Hero," rarely gets mentioned,

if it’s even remembered at all. Granted it’s not perfect, and it suffers from inconsistent

shifts in tone, but it’s never less than interesting, and provides Pryor with one

of his more fascinating characters. Although it was compromised in the studio process.

The film

gave Pryor some opportunities to explore his acting chops, and one feels that if

the studio hadn’t gotten so chicken about the film, it might have been regarded

as one of Pryor’s best.

Directed by

Michael Pressman, Pryor plays a soldier fighting in the Vietnam War in the 1970’s

who is captured by the Viet Cong, and winds up being a prisoner of war for

several years. After returning to the States, he’s hailed as a war hero by the pubic and the media, but finds that he cannot adjust to life back home. Even worse, his wife has left him for another man, his mother is ill, and he can’t find of a job, despite being

an American hero and all that.

The only

person he meets who his sympathetic to his plight is a hooker played by Margot Kidder; eventually, they have an affair. And later, in desperation, Pryor turns to

a life of crime, only to run afoul of the mob, who plan to double cross him.

The film was reportedly intended to be a straight drama, but once Pryor signed on to play the lead, the studio then insisted that more comedy bits be added; understandable, giving that Pryor was

then perhaps the biggest comedy star in the movies at that time.

But the

result short changes the film, and what could have been a serious, penetrating character

study of a black man trying to find his place in the world, gets undercut by the

comedy bits. Admittedly, some of the comedy is funny (how could it not

be, with one of the greatest comedy geniuses ever), but sometimes the fit isn’t all that convincing.

Yesterday, Olive Films announced that they will be releasing "Some Kind of

Hero" for the first time on blu-ray and DVD in September – one of several black films

that the label will also be releasing that month.

But how obscure

is "Some Kind of Hero"? All I could find was a very short 30 second trailer, which is

not great, as well as a film clip with the first 3 minutes of the film, although with a Russian

narration. So between the two I picked the Russian clip. 

Enjoy:

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