Black Rebels/Murder In Mississippi [DVD]

Something Weird Video makes one of their bolder programming choices with this two-fer DVD featuring a pair of 1960s exploitation movies dealing with the touchy subject (both then and now) of racism. Black Rebels (a version of the 1960s juvenile delinquency exposé This Rebel Breed tricked out with some incongruous nudie sequences) and Murder in Mississippi (inspired by the same case fictionalized once again 23 years later in Mississippi Burning) are both transferred to disc in their original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The source materials for Black Rebels are a bit worn, but the photography is good and the contrast is clear and balanced on this release. Murder in Mississippi looks considerably worse, and while it doesn't seem to be the fault of the transfer, the image is impenetrably dark in spots and is hard to watch much of the time, though it's questionable if a better-looking print of the film exists. Both films are in English, and have been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, with no subtitles or multiple language options. Something Weird have included their usual array of bonus materials, including six trailers for films with a racial hook (including a trailer for This Rebel Breed under yet another alternate title, Lola's Mistake) and a curious Department of Agriculture educational film from 1937, The Negro Farmer. A collection of drive-in promotional artwork accompanied by radio spots for exploitation films rounds out the program, which should please exploitation film buffs with a taste for '60s-style controversy.
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Special Features

  • Digitally remastered
  • Theatrical trailer for Black Rebels under the alternate title Lola's Mistake
  • Bonus racially tense trailers for The Color of Her Skin, Free White and 21, High Yellow, The Hookers, and My Baby Is Black!
  • Learn how to turn a cabin into "a home to be proud of with a few cents worth of whitewash" in the 1937 U.S. Department of Agriculture short The Negro Farmer
  • Gallery of drive-in exploitation art with audio oddities


Murder in Mississippi
Veteran exploitation filmmaker Joseph P. Mawra (White Slaves of Chinatown) directed this race-baiting drive-in feature inspired by the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers later chronicled in the mainstream feature Mississippi Burning. This film, however, is pure exploitation, patterned along the lines of '60s potboilers like The Black Klansman and Girl on a Chain Gang. Derek Crane (Sin in the Suburbs) plays the racist Sheriff Engstrom, who harasses and contributes to the murders of several Northern students who come to his Georgia town in order to register black voters. Pretty Carol Lee Byrd (Sheila Britt of Come Ride the Wild Pink Horse) is kidnapped by a deputy, and when her actor brother (Dick Stone) comes to her rescue, he is set up with a black prostitute. Finally, Carol's black friend Luther (Lou Stone) gets her free, alerting the FBI as to the heinous crimes committed by Engstrom and his men. Sam Stewart, Wayne Foster, and Otis Young (The Last Detail) co-star. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

This Rebel Breed
Race hatred and drug trafficking threaten to tear apart a California high school in this teen drama. Frank White (Mark Damon) and Don Walters (Doug Hume) are a pair of undercover police officers who are sent to a high school dominated by three gangs. Don, who is white, tries to infiltrate the Anglo gang the Royals, led by Buck (Richard Rust), while Frank, who is of Hispanic and African-American heritage, is to make his way into the school's black gang, the Ebonys, while also keeping his eye on a Mexican-American club, the Caballeros. Frank soon finds he's not welcomed by the Black or Mexican gangs, and when he strikes up a friendship with Lola (Rita Moreno), a pretty Mexican-American girl, he gains a fierce enemy in her brother Manuel (Richard Laurier), one of the leaders of the Caballeros. Meanwhile, Buck and the Royals have started dealing dope as a way to make money, and he's pressuring Manuel and his gang to do the same, something Manuel fiercely opposes. Manuel is also not happy about rumors that Lola is secretly dating one of the Royals, while the Ebonys have it in for Buck when they find out the secret hidden by his sexy girlfriend, Wiggles (Dyan Cannon, then still spelling her first name "Diane"). This Rebel Breed was first released in 1960; five years later, producer William Rowland added some incongruous inserts filled with nudity and re-released the film to grindhouses and drive-ins under the titles Black Rebels, Lola's Mistake, and Three Shades of Love. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Sheila Britton - Carol Lee Byrd
  • Image coming soon
    Sam Stewart - Phil Loving
  • Image coming soon
    Otis Young - Paul Jackson
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