Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Melinda" adventure produced by blacks

Cleveland Press August 16, 1972

"Melinda" is a movie written, produced and directed by blacks but director Pervis Atkins is quick to deny that it is a black film.

"It's just a film, an action adventure film which is the kind of movies happen to like," Atkins explained during a visit to Cleveland yesterday.

"THE IMPORTANT thing about this movie is that it is I the first time a picture of this sort has been developed by and with a major company (MGM) in the manner that employed blacks in the essential areas of producing, writing and directing."

'Melinda." which will be released here in September, is a crime yarn with plenty of action, mayhem and sex. The principals are black but I could be any race.

Atkins is a former Rams football star who got into the talent agency business and who now has produced his first movie.

"I REPRESENTED the director but he was in New York and I was battling with the studio for him. Then someone said that if I'm so smart why didn't I procure the movie.

"I have options on some other properties, a couple of them that would make good family movies. I want to make those most because the family is so important to the internal state of this I country. Look around you. You're lucky to see a family that has stayed together as a family unit.

"I have one story about a couple of kids growing up. They don't have to be black. When l tell my associates that they think I'm crazy.

"I want to make black movies if t.hey work better with blacks, but it doesn't have to be that way.

"But 'Melinda' is an action film which is the kind I always like to go to. I saw all the James Bond movies. I'm identified with Bond. Any you know 'The Magnificent Seven'? I'm identified with the guy that threw the knifes.

"And there was a time when I was identified with Marion Motely," the ex-football player added.

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STRATFORD IN RUSSIA: The Stratford National Theater of Canada which regularly presents the summer Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, will tour Europe this winter. The tour will include several Russian cities.

The company will tour from Jan. 16 through Mar. 5 with appearances in Copenhagen, Hamburg, Warsaw, Krakow, Poland, Leningrad and Moscow.

The touring productions will be "King Lear," which is currently playing at the festival, and a new production of "The Taming of the Shrew." "Shrew" will be presented at the 1973 Stratford Festival.

SHORT SUBJECTS: Production will begin early next year on "The Godfather (Part Two)" starring Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, son of Don Vito Corleone. "Godfather" author Mario Puzo is writing the script and Francis Ford Coppola will be back as director. The New York premiere is already set for Mar. 24, 1974.

The company that made "Blacula," a black version of Dracula, has announced production of "Blackenstein (The Black Frankenstein)."

Another old musical will be revived on Broadway, this one the 1919 hit, "Irene." Debbie Reynolds, Patsy Kelly and Billy DeWolfe will co-star in the new version set to open Jan. 8.