Last night, I watched the 1972 documentary by Jeff Kanew, Black Rodeo. It follows the hosting of a Black rodeo in Harlem. I was sold immediately. Rodeo! Race! Cities! Weirdness!
It probably would have been a little boring (there’s only so many parents who can say that seeing this is good for their children one movie can take) if it wasn’t for two things. First, Woody Strode shows up and he’s just great. Kanew gets him to sit down for an interview and it’s just fascinating to hear him talk about both being unique in being a Black star in westerns (talking among other things of John Ford asking him to do his own stunts because who was going to be the stuntman who looked like him) and how Black rodeo operates and what it means to the community. Plus Strode has such a natural charisma anyway that it’s really quite arresting.
And then who wanders into the film but Muhammad Ali! He talks some trash, gets a bit of trash talked back to him by the cowboys, and even puts on chaps and gets on a bull! A
All in all, a pretty fun film. Kanew went on to direct….Revenge of the Nerds!
It’s not streaming, but here’s a couple of minutes of a preview.