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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Isaac Hayes - The Black Moses of Soul
Isaac Hayes - The Black Moses of Soul
Goodtimes // Unrated // May 11, 2004
List Price: $14.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by David Walker | posted May 29, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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Isaac Hayes – The Black Moses of Soul
Before we get this show on the road, there's something you all need to know about me: I have a fairly impressive collection of bootleg videos. Now, before you go rushing off and reporting me to the authorities, let me clarify and say that the bootleg films I have are not shot-in-the-theatre-on-camcorder copies of movies like Shrek 2 or Soul Plane . Sure, I've seen those types of bootlegs, and they don't do anything for me. No, my collection is brimming with films that you can't really get on video. I'm talking about videos mastered off of scratchy 16 millimeter prints of blaxploitation flicks, and dubs of spaghetti westerns made from the Turkish video release (complete with subtitles). The picture quality on many of these films is terrible – it can almost be like you're watching the movie underwater. The colors are washed out and faded, the sound is almost always bad, and sometimes, the movie actually stops, and you can tell when someone was changing reels on the telecine (that's the machine used to transfer film to video). The only reason I have these videos in my collection is because I really want to own these movies, and no American companies have been kind enough to release them.

By now you may be wondering why I'm admitting to my collection of "gray" market videos. The reason is simple: It's important you all know that at the end of the day, things like picture, sound quality and Portuguese subtitles don't mean that much to me if I really want to see a film bad enough. Which leads us to Isaac Hayes – The Black Moses of Soul . I think it's safe to say that even if I'd bought this film from some guy running dubs of Swedish midget porn in his basement as well as the five-hour work print version of Apocalypse Now , that the quality of this film would be an issue. But considering the fact that this is a DVD you can go to a store and purchase, without any risk of being busted by the video piracy police, then we have a serious problem.

Filmed during the 1973 tour of the legendary Isaac Hayes, this concert film finds the Black Moses of Soul at the top of his game, having earlier won an Oscar for the Theme from Shaft , and laying down silky, love-making grooves with such albums as Hot Buttered Soul . By the time Hayes released his album The Movement – which this tour was in support of – he was one of the most popular performers in music (not to mention one of the baddest). To the film's credit, despite being poorly shot and terribly lit, it still manages to capture the magnitude of Hayes' charisma. As he struts the stage decked out in his gold, chain-link shirt, it's more than obvious that Hayes is indeed The Man.

Over the course of 78 minutes, Hayes performs such songs as The Doors' "Light My Fire" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," which has the singer telling a great story as an intro to the song. And while the most die-hard fans of Hayes will get some enjoyment out of this concert film, there's no getting around the inferior picture and sound quality. Sure, you might want to rent it and watch it once, but I can't imagine too may people wanting to sit through this for multiple viewings. And as if the quality of this disc wasn't bad enough, there is a break in the film, where it appears someone was changing the film reels.

Isaac Hayes: Black Moses of Soul is presented in 1:33:1 full frame, with stereo sound. What that means is that the bad picture will take up your whole screen, and the poor sound will come out of both speakers. Don't bother looking for any extras on this no-frills disc – unless you're one of those people that still considers chapters to be a special feature.


David Walker is the creator of BadAzz MoFo, a nationally published film critic, and the Writer/Director of Black Santa's Revenge with Ken Foree now on DVD [Buy it now]
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