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Review: Black Wax (MVDvisual)

Black Wax
Black Wax
4.5 stars

Starring: Gil Scott-Heron

Directed: Robert Mugge

Release Date: November 13, 2015

Run Time: 79 Minutes

Format: Blu-Ray Color: Color

Audio: English Subtitles:

Distributor: MVDvisual

BLACK WAX is a musical-political entertainment film produced and directed by Robert Mugge in 1982. It was the first American film to be fully funded by Britain’s then-brand-new Channel 4 Television and also likely the first film to use Steadicam from first frame to last. BLACK WAX centers on the late African American poet-singer-songwriter Gil Scott-Heron – the man Melody Maker called “the most dangerous musician alive” and many dubbed the forefather of rap music – and his 10-piece Midnight Band.
It was filmed entirely on location in Washington, D.C., primarily at the Wax Museum Nightclub (now defunct). Songs performed by the band include such potent political numbers as “Winter in America,” “Alien,” “Johannesburg,” “Storm Music,” “Waiting for the Axe to Fall,” “Gun,” and “‘B’ Movie” (a scathing analysis of how and why Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States). Between songs, Mr. Scott-Heron is shown reciting his equally powerful poems (“Paint it Black,” “Black History,” “Billy Green is Dead,” The H2O-Gate Blues,” and “Whitey on the Moon”), leading the camera on a unique tour of Washington, D.C. (from the monuments of official Washington through the minority neighborhoods that make up most of the rest), and finally confronting the “ghosts of America’s past” (life-sized wax figures of John Wayne, Uncle Sam, Neil Armstrong, Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, four U.S. Presidents, and black leaders from W.E.B. Du Bois to Martin Luther King).
This is Mr. Scott-Heron at the absolute peak of his powers. The politics is always entertaining, and the entertainment is nothing if not political.


Audio Language: English

The Sound Quality is pretty good for an older film. No distortion and the music sounds great.

Rating: 4.5 stars


Picture Quality

Disc Format: Blu-Ray

The Picture Quality is pretty good for what it is. 16MM Film converted to HD. No grain but we do get dirt and your typical film wear.

Rating: 4 stars

Note: Equipment used to watch the film can be found below

Theatrical release Date: January 12, 1983 (USA)
Disc release Date: November 13, 2015 (USA)
  • 9-minute BLACK WAX out-take titled ‘Is That Jazz?’


My Thoughts

Black Wax is Part Documentary and part Music Concert. Majority of this film is music but we also get Gil Scott walking the streets of DC and on stage talking about the subject matter of his music and life along with Poems. A Side note to this film is this is the first production to utilize the Steadicam from beginning to the end.

Overall the Film was good watch, The music was good and Loved the story telling. One thing I wish to be better would be I would have liked to hear more on the Life of Gil Scott but other than that its enjoyable. Great music with subject matter, story and meaning. Whats not to like? I found my self enjoying the music that I’ve never heard before and Gil Scott has a great voice and he is a good writer as that is showcased in his poems and music.

With that said I give this Film a 4.5 out of 5. If you like 70’s blues, music, or Gil Scott I would pick this up on Blu-Ray and or DVD. Check it out, pick it up.


Rating – 5 Star System




4.5 stars
4 stars
4.5 stars


Buy Film

Shows Region B Only but is false as its region free
Prices are posted at time of review and most likely before release.
Prices will or could have changed after this review.


This Film was Played on the listed Equipment below

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My Setup

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