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White Mama (1980)

A poor, elderly white woman living in a tenement in a black ghetto is befriended by a neighborhood boy, and the two of them form a mutually beneficial relationship: he provides her ... See full summary »

Director:

Jackie Cooper
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bette Davis ... Adele Malone
Ernest Harden Jr. ... B.T. Williamson
Eileen Heckart ... Three Bag Lady
Virginia Capers ... Gorilla Sydney
Anne Ramsey ... Heavy Charm
Lurene Tuttle ... Mrs. McIntyre
Tony Burton ... Black Fighter
Peg Shirley ... Judge Alice Quentin
Ernie Hudson ... Counsellor
Dan Mason ... Father Gannon
Vincent Schiavelli ... Medic
Cheryl Harvey Cheryl Harvey ... Probabtion Woman
Jesse D. Goins ... Intern
John Hancock ... Tall Black Man
Lanyard A. Williams Lanyard A. Williams ... Young Man
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Storyline

A poor, elderly white woman living in a tenement in a black ghetto is befriended by a neighborhood boy, and the two of them form a mutually beneficial relationship: he provides her companionship and protection, and she becomes the mother he never had. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A proud widow. A frightened homeless kid. Nobody cared about them until they cared enough to fight for each other.

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 March 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Biala mama See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tomorrow Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

White Mama will adapt on stage in 2018. See more »

Quotes

Adele Malone: [talking to B.T. Williamson] You can be anything you want to be, if you're willing to work for it.
See more »

Connections

Featured in No Small Parts: Anne Ramsey (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Love, though not exactly the traditional kind.
4 January 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

When the film begins, Adele (Bette Davis) is taking in a VERY unusual sort of border--a teen* who is being placed in her care for probation! This old white lady is doing this because she needs the income and her new roommate, B.T. (Ernest Harden, Jr.) is about as much unlike her as possible. He's a black street-wise teenager and their personalities are certainly different. While I would never call Adele tender towards B.T., she does later come to really care for the kid and pushes him to be a better person. She is horrified when B.T. takes up boxing...but it does help pay the bills. Later, after she's helped B.T. to get on his feet, it's now turn for him to help her when she is dispossessed from her home...but Adele has a very hard time asking for or accepting help.

The film is not perfect--especially since I think they could have worked a bit more at relationship building. But the story is unique and it's nice to see Davis in one of her nice, non-cringeworthy** roles later in her career.

*B.T. is supposed to be 16. The actor was 28 and looked at the least, about 23. This was bad casting or they should have just had the character be in his 20s.

**Late in their careers, Bette Davis and her arch-rival, Joan Crawford, would appear in ANYTHING as long as the check cleared. Both claimed they needed the money but based on some of these films I have a hard time believing they needed money THAT badly.


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