Release dateUS July 1, 1975 WriterJerry Jones (screenplay), Rudy Ray Moore (original adaptation)
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Dolemite is a 1975 American blaxploitation feature film, and is also the name of its principal character, played by Rudy Ray Moore, who co-wrote the film and its soundtrack. Moore, who started his career as a stand-up comedian in the late 1960s, heard around that time a rhymed toast by a local homeless man about an urban hero named Dolemite, and decided to adopt the persona of Dolemite as an alter ego in his act.
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Moore featured the character of Dolemite on his 1970 debut album, Eat Out More Often, which reached the top 25 on the Billboard 200. He released several more comedy albums using this persona. In 1975, Moore decided to create a film about Dolemite, using many of his friends and fellow comedians as cast and crew. The film was directed by D'Urville Martin, who appears as the villain Willie Green.
Dolemite is a pimp and nightclub owner who is serving 20 years in prison after being set up by a rival, Willie Green. One day, his friend and fellow pimp Queen Bee helps him get out of jail, and plots with him to get revenge on Green.
Dolemite (Rudy Ray Moore): the protagonist of the movie. In the beginning of the movie, Dolemite is in prison on a bogus charge, having been framed by his rival Willie Green. He is later pardoned and released. Throughout the movie, Dolemite attempts to rekindle his reputation on the streets and reclaim his club, "The Total Experience".
Queen Bee (Lady Reed) runs a whorehouse of which Dolemite is referenced as the part-time owner on several occasions throughout the movie. Queen Bee is the only woman in Dolemite's household whom Dolemite speaks to as an equal.
Willie Green (D'Urville Martin): the antagonist. Willie Green is seen in the initial flashback as having a leading part in framing Dolemite. Green takes over Dolemite's club, "The Total Experience", while Dolemite is serving hard time. Green and the city's mayor, Mayor Daley, are in business together: Daley makes sure Green runs his operation with impunity, in return for Green getting black votes for the mayor's upcoming re-election.
Reverend Gibbs (West Gale): a black separatist, the Reverend leads a radical church in the "Fourth Ward." He tips off Dolemite regarding who set him up two years prior, as well as who is selling drugs to the community.
Mitchell (John Kerry): a corrupt detective who, under the direction of Mayor Daley and Willie Green, frames Dolemite and sends him to prison. When Dolemite is released, Mitchell and his partner White attempt to frame him again.
Blakely (Jerry Jones): an FBI agent who lurks in the shadows, and knows why Dolemite is out on the street. When the time comes, Blakely apprehends the corrupt detectives Mitchell and White and the corrupt mayor.
Creeper (Vainus Rackstraw): better known as the Hamburger Pimp, he is recognized by his dingy "white-T", characteristic pimp stroll, and constant begging for spare change and free food. The Creeper takes Dolemite to his humble abode and is assassinated after explaining the murder of Dolemite's nephew Little Jimmy.
A sequel, The Human Tornado, was released in 1976. A second sequel, The Return of Dolemite, was released in 2002 and was later renamed The Dolemite Explosion for DVD release. A quasi-sequel, Shaolin Dolemite, starring Rudy Ray Moore as Monk Ru-Dee, was released in 1999.
Dolemite was released to DVD on September 13, 2005 by Xenon Pictures and also as part of a box set (The Dolemite Collection) on the same date. A widescreen, high definition remastered version, from an original print of the film, was released to Blu-ray disc on April 26, 2016 by cult film preservationists Vinegar Syndrome. The Blu-ray also featured the previously released open matte version as an extra.
The character Dolemite is mentioned in songs released by Snoop Doggy Dogg.