It Played Detroit – Fight For Your Life
(Note the tape on the V turned into an A on the title card…)
Fight For Your Life is clearly one of the least PC films ever to be made in the history of Exploitation, but in this case the budget led to a very harsh experience instead of just your usual action filled ride. William Sanderson’s performance may have been a little too extreme to talk about for years, and considering his entrance into the professional acting world by the time he appeared in Blade Runner it’s understandable, but it still remains one of his best. Starring Robert Judd as the father of a family that gets attacked and held hostage by three escaped convicts led by Sanderson, it mainly takes place in a house, but the explosive acting seriously makes this an essential view for those who can seriously take a lot of language that goes on in the film. It’s not for everyone, but some might like it.
Due to the racial tension, especially by Sanderson’s bigoted Jessie Lee Cain character, this was a seriously hard to program film Distributed through William Mishkin, and in the Commentary on the DVD, Writer Straw Weisman even said that they “Played the Race Card” in the Exploitation game with this film. It played to explosive audiences on 42’nd Street, but outside NYC, it had some trouble creating a word of mouth sensation that many had to wait for VHS to see what the talk was all about.
In Detroit, this played under it’s Stayin’ Alive title, one of several that tried to make the film play outside of it’s Deuce environment, only at two Metro Drive Ins – it did not even play a Downtown Detroit Screen! This was from the Detroit News’ 11/10/78 issue