Melinda (1972)

The idea of Metro Goldwyn Mayer dipping its toe into the blaxploitation genre may at first sound strange, but actually MGM did this several times, most notably with the “Shaft” films. But while the “Shaft” films are well know to this day, “Melinda” has been all but forgotten today. It doesn’t take long upon watching it to figure out why. The first third of the movie is incredibly slow and dull. The next two-thirds has a bit more speed and action, but too little and too late. Director Hugh A. Robertson was obviously hampered by a poor screenplay, but he was also obviously restricted with a limited amount of money, since the movie looks more like an effort for television than for the silver screen. But that’s not to say that Robertson should be totally absolved of fault. There are some very poorly directed sequences, and his instructions to the movie’s star Calvin Lockhart make the talented actor’s character come across as selfish, obnoxious, and cruel. I have a feeling that even the target audience at the time found this a sub par effort, though I’ll admit I have seen much worse 1970s blaxploitation films.