FANDOM


Pro This page is a good article. Please help improving this article to become a featured article. Pro
Milk & Mocha
Milk and Mocha

Genre

Action, blaxploitation

Directed by

Herbert S. Hosen

Produced by

Herbert S. Hosen

Written by

Marion McFein

Starring

Suzette Kasey, Susy Williams, Anatole Bircamp, Asianna Jewel, Ali Salman

Music by

Chanoch Black

Studio

Liberal Arts logo

Release date(s)

1973

Running time

87 min.

Country, language

Brunant,
English

Milk & Mocha (aka Fight, Angels, Fight!; Dutch: Vurige wraakengelen[1]) is a 1973 Brunanter action film with elements of blaxploitation, starring Suzette Kasey and Susy Williams as a pair of black and white female vigilantes.

It was written, produced and directed by Herbert S. Hosen in September 1972, just weeks before he died from a heart disease, then edited by his assistant Abe Costello to be released at the beginning of the following year by Liberal Arts. At the 1973 Rosetown Film Festival Milk & Mocha posthumously won Hosen a Barker Award for Best Director, the only Barker he ever received.

Plot Edit

The story is set in the Arabian Quarter in Koningstad. Mohini Mocha (Suzette Kasey) is the strikingly beautiful North-African girlfriend of the neighborhood's biggest drug dealer, Mr. White (played by Anatole Bircamp), and she's just ran off with 40,000 Th. of his money. Trixie Milk (Susy Williams) is an attractive and athletic white model who's not hesitant to use her sexuality to seek revenge for her younger sister getting hooked on White's drugs.

Milk decides to infiltrate Mr. White's business by posing as a prostitute to his associate, pimp Sultan Grand (Ali Salman). She runs into Mocha, who's being hunted down by White's thugs. Milk gets caught up in the battle, forcing Mocha and her to flee together. So begins their fight against Mr. White and his syndicate, aided by the beautiful young lesbian Cookie Fortune (Asianna Jewel). Eventually, the two put aside their differences long enough to save their skins and get what they both want.

Background and themes Edit

« I wanted to create a strong but feminine black heroine.  »

Milk & Mocha was made while across the world black emancipation movements and second-wave feminism were all prevalent. Filmmaker Herbert S. Hosen claimed it made him feel the desire to create a coloured heroine who appealed to women through a combination of alluring femininity and macho strength, though some critics have accused him of tapping into, in his eyes, just another exploitable subject.

The film depicts both a harsh neighborhood as well as a united community whose members, of different ethnicity, help one another. Milk and Mocha’s relationship can be considered a more progressive look at black and white relations at the time. In the end it emphasizes their equality and mutual respect.

Blaxploitation Edit

Herbert S. Hosen

Filmmaker Herbert S. Hosen was accused by some critics of exploiting black culture.

Suzette Kasey

Model Suzette Kasey, whose race proved both a blessing and a curse, became a pop culture icon.

1969 Type 270 roadster

Several Berbia Type 270 sports cars were used in the film.

Regardless of Hosen's intentions, Milk & Mocha is the first - if not the only - example of Brunanter blaxploitation cinema.

Blaxploitation, a portmanteau of the words 'black' and 'exploitation', is a film genre which emerged in the United States in the 1970s.[2] It is considered an ethnic sub-genre of the general category of exploitation films. Blaxploitation films were originally made specifically for an urban black audience, although the genre's audience appeal soon broadened to cross racial and ethnic lines. Blaxploitation films were the first to regularly feature soundtracks of funk and soul music as well as primarily black casts.

Although the film contains themes relating to the black and feminist movements, it appeals to the general public who enjoys action movies, perhaps helped by the fact that, for a blaxploitation film, Milk & Mocha was comparatively modest, containing no nudity or explicit sex. Lead actress Suzette Kasey refused to do nude scenes, striving to separate herself from the hypersexuality of other, international black heroines. Kasey’s opinion was that “sex is more interesting when you don’t show everything at once”. Her character flaunts her sexuality through her appearance, while managing to remain an autonomous and strong female protagonist.

Feminism Edit

While Milk and Mocha are both feminine and fashionable, at the same time they are talented in combat and driving even more so than the men in the film. They are seen as a strong, assertive, and combative women who are able to both appeal to men and defeat them physically.

Although Milk and Mocha’s characters and relationships are in keeping with feminist principles, the portrayal of Cookie Fortune is less groundbreaking and even downright offensive. After all, she is presented as a hypersexual lesbian and her character displays many negative traits such as her constant lust and obsession with sex. Consequently, the film’s homophobic treatment of Cookie hints at anti-feminism. In defense Hosen stated that the message he would like the film to portray, would be more centered towards race equality rather than gender.

Production notes Edit

« Kasey's appearance had enchanted me.  »

Suzette Kasey, an exotic fashion model without any acting experience, caught the attention of director-producer Herbert S. Hosen searching for a coloured heroine, saying her appearance had "enchanted" him. Just like her character, Kasey came from humble, working-class roots and grew up in the Arabian Quarter. Her mother owned a beauty salon and her father worked at a railroad station. After earning a degree at Carrington College, Kasey became a model; her race proved both a blessing and a curse. Hosen was against the outfits that the wardrobe department chose for Mocha, feeling that they were too trendy and specific to the time period, and within a few years would cause the film to look dated and obsolete. Since the film's release, however, not only Mocha's ascent into pop culture, but also the '70s nostalgia movement that started in the mid-1990s, have proved the late director wrong.

The role of Milk was written by Hosen (under the alias of Marion McFein) specifically for long-time collaborator Susy Williams, whom on set Hosen referred to as "one of my many muses". Still, the studio found her a bit too old, which explains why a younger image of her from Hosen's The Icy Living Dead was re-used for the official Milk & Mocha poster.

Several Berbia Type 270 sports cars, one coupe and some soft tops, are used in the film.

Soundtrack Edit

The score is composed by Chanoch Black, whose distinctive original compositions, containing strings, wind instruments and whistling permeate the film. The use of unconventional instruments such as bouzouki and ocarina create an exotic tone. The soundtrack album was released in the summer of 1973 and proved quite popular. This film score is considered Black's true breakthrough, even though he had composed music for movies since 1964.

Reception Edit

Barker Award

At the 1973 RFF Hosen was posthumously awarded the Best Director prize for Milk & Mocha.

« Affirms the gifts of movie maker Herb Hosen.  »

Milk & Mocha opened to mixed critical reception, though it was praised early on for its portrayal of strong and independent women in leading roles. Additionally, the film is found unique for its daring establishment of drug dealers and pimps as villains. It is also notable in its then unfashionable anti-drug message.

One major critic was very positive and called it "an exceptionally well-made action flick" and wrote: "From start to finish this fast-moving Liberal Arts' release is shrewdly calculated and affirms the gifts of movie maker Herb Hosen in bringing just enough style and meaning to the exploitation picture. In her first starring role Suzette Kasey more than makes up for her lack of acting experience by her dazzling looks, sultry personality, and unwavering poise.”

With an increased attention for the film caused by Hosen's early death, the film was however a box office success and earned Hosen posthumously the Barker Award for Best Director at the 1973 Rosetown International Film Festival, where it received a standing ovation in honor of the deceased director. It was the first and only Barker he ever won.

Filmmaker Abe Costello, Hosen's protege, has stated that the character of Mocha has become something of a female empowerment symbol that seems to transcend the time period of the film.

References and notes Edit

  1. The Dutch title Vurige wraakengelen translates as 'fiery avenging angels' in English.
  2. Source: 'Blaxploitation' article on Wikipedia.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.