Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sykes-A-Delic Falana-Vision!

Dummy death by farm mulcher and a full-monty Lola Falana are just two of the reasons to sit through director William Wyler's final film, THE LIBERATION OF L.B. JONES (1970).

But our favorite moment occurs at the 43-minute mark. For those of you who have never seen the film, allow us to bring you up to spoiler-free speed: Lord Byron Jones (Roscoe Lee Browne), the prosperous undertaker for the black population of a small Tennessee town, is a deeply troubled man.

He's just filed for divorce from his much younger, hot-to-trot wife Emma (Falana)...

...who has been getting it on with redneck deputy Willie Joe Worth (Anthony Zerbe) and is now pregnant with the dumb cracker's kid.

Knowing that all hell is about to break loose -- and possibly lead to his untimely demise -- L.B. tries to enjoy a stiff drink at a local bar...

...when sweet young thing Jelly (Brenda Sykes) starts dancing for him in a way that suggests her potential availability as the next Mrs. Lord Byron Jones.

Poor L.B. enjoys the show for about five seconds...

...and then starts to catch glimpses of Emma shaking in front of him instead of Jelly.

In a sequence guaranteed to elicit howls of laughter from modern audiences, editor Carl Kress quick-cuts between Jelly and Emma as they dance for the now thoroughly depressed L.B.

The frame grabs above were sourced from a Columbia VHS tape, purchased two decades ago at a Record Explosion in midtown Manhattan and unearthed last year during our move to the new Temple, but THE LIBERATION OF L.B. JONES is now available as a Sony Screen Classics MOD.

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