Watch the full film on the
Welcome to Fandor. Watch thousands of award-winning films online. ×
Click here to take a look at our newly redesigned movie page.

Black Wax1983

  • 4.5
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 ten-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. Transferred to HD from the original 16mm film and lovingly restored.

Copy embed code




Member Reviews (5)

top reviewer

Not really a doc, which is what I'd hoped for. Would like to know more about Scott-Heron. Some great performances though.

Concert, commentary, poetry. This is a great film. Man does that music ever groove. The message was never delivered any more effectively. His statement that we don't have a real president in the white house is as true as it was with Reagan.

A magical re-release of a lost classic. For fans of Godard's late sixties messes (One Plus One, Made in America) and thoughtfully filmed concert films (Stop Making Sense, The Last Waltz.) I loved it so much, I immediately watched it again back to back.

Black Wax is a must for any teacher of poetry. Scott and Mugge collaborate on an effective piece of art that scatters the the boundaries of music and poetry. Shamefully though, this film proves timeless even in 2018.

Awesome feature. I love how Gil Scott-Heron uses dialogue to inform and engage with his audience. His performances are mindful of the all-encompassing impact he hopes to have in connecting with the people.