I completely forgot until I happened to see a poster for it today – the 1972 Paramount film The Man, a film that was way ahead of its time when it was released, practically considered a preposterous fantasy movie.
The film, which was based on a popular best seller by Irving Wallace, was about the first black President of the United States. In it, the current President and the Speaker of the House are both killed in a plane crash, and the Vice President is so ill that he turns down the position of President, knowing that he won’t live out the rest of his term. Therefore the next person in secession is the President Pro Temore of the Senate, who’s a black man played by James Earl Jones.
Not surprisingly a lot of people get apoplectic at the idea of a black man as President, and thus scheme, plot and strategize to bring him down. (Not unlike what’s happening today…).
The funny thing though about The Man was that it was originally made as a TV movie for ABC. But by the time it was ready, the “blaxploitation” film craze was in full bloom, and the studio decided that they had a big money maker on their hands, and released it theatrically instead, with no changes or additional scenes to flesh it out.
The film even fade outs at convenient 15-minute intervals for commercial breaks.
It’s never been released on DVD, though I’m sure there might be some bootleg copies out there. I haven’t seen it in ages, and considering what’s happened over the decades since it first came out, it probably won’t hold up as it will be pretty dated now, but still it worth a look don’t you think?