Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi's FAREWELL UNCLE TOM opened in three New York City theaters on October 27, 1972.
It’s Hysteric, Not Historic
by Kathleen Carroll
“Farewell Uncle Tom,” at the Cinerama, RKO 59th St. and 86th St. Twin II, is purportedly an “inquest,” or an on-the-spot investigation of slavery in this country.
This investigation is conducted by those cinematic muckrakers, the creators of “Mondo Cane,” Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi. Posing as visiting journalists of the period, the filmmakers pretend to interview everyone from a slave breeder to Harriet Beecher Stowe. After confiding that she intends to write a book, she tells the “European” journalists: “I think I’ll call it ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin.’”
Having recreated our shady past in gross, stomach-turning detail, Jacopetti and Prosperi have the conceit to add a musical score that is pure Fellini. They claim that their film is based entirely on historical fact. But don’t be fooled. These two care nothing for historical accuracy.
What interests them is the hysterical fact, some sensational revelation that can startle or arouse.
What is so loathsome about their style of filmmaking is that they have the gall to pretend that their vulgar exposés are done for humanitarian purposes, when the only thing that appears to interest them is inciting an audience. Do yourself a favor: miss this movie.
(Daily News, 10/28/1972, p.2)