Trouble Man (film)
Theatrical film poster
|Directed by||Ivan Dixon|
|Produced by||John D.F. Black
|Written by||John D.F. Black|
|Music by||Marvin Gaye|
|Edited by||Michael Kahn|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
Trouble Man is a 1972 Soul Cinema Classic film produced and released by 20th Century-Fox. The film stars Robert Hooks as "Mr. T.", a hard-edged private detective who tends to take justice into his own hands. It is still of note today for its successful soundtrack, written, produced and performed by Motown artist Marvin Gaye.
(Hooks' character is often referred to as the "Original Mr. T", to distinguish him from the real-life actor of the same name.)
Like Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield before him, Gaye became the next in a line of soul music stars who recorded soundtracks for films aimed at African American audiences. The Trouble Man soundtrack and single became successes for Gaye.
An inner-city point man is on the run from both the cops and the crooks in this streetwise drama. T (Robert Hooks) is a combination pool shark, private detective, and all-purpose ghetto fixer who operates out of a billiards parlor in South Central Los Angeles. T has done well for himself—he drives a fancy new car, wears expensive suits, and lives in an upscale apartment. But, he also looks out for folks on the block, has lukewarm connections with both the police and gangsters, and knows how to tell the good guys from the bad guys on either side of the law. T is approached by Chalky (Paul Winfield) and his partner, Pete (Ralph Waite), who run a floating dice game in the neighborhood. Chalky tells T they've been ripped off by a band of thieves several nights running, and they want to hire him to find out who the masked stick-up men are. T takes it as a routine assignment and is willing to do the job for the right price. However, it turns out Chalky and Pete are trying to take down rival crime kingpin Big (Julius Harris) and have pinned T with the killing of one of Big's underlings who is shot during a dice game robbery (T was present at the hold-up). T is blamed for the crime by both Big and police captain Joe Marx (Bill Smithers), setting off a series of cunning twists and confrontations T is determined to survive, at the expense of the rival groups.
- Robert Hooks as Mr. T
- Paul Winfield as Chalky Price
- Ralph Waite as Pete Cockrell
- Gordon Jump as Salter (apartment manager)
- William Smithers as Captain Joe Marx (as Bill Smithers)
- Paula Kelly as Cleo, the love interest of Mr. T
- Julius Harris as Big
- Bill Henderson as Jimmy
- Wayne Storm as Frank
- Akili Jones as Billy Chi
- Vince Howard as Preston
- Stack Pierce as Collie
- Nathaniel Taylor as one of Mr. Big's henchmen
- Lawrence Cook as Buddy (as Larry Cook)
- Virginia Capers as Macy
- Rick Ferrell as Pindar
- James "Texas Blood" Brown as Wesleyhv
- Jean Bell as Leona (woman in the pool)
The film was featured in the 1978 Michael and Harry Medved book, The Fifty Worst Films of All Time.
New York Times reviewer Vincent Canby described it as "a horrible movie, but worth thinking about."