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UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Hugh M. Hefner Classic American Film Program present

Solomon King

A man driving a car. Title reads: Starring Sal Watts.
January 29, 2023 - 7:00 pm
video Q&A with Belinda Burton-Watts, widow of Sal Watts.

Admission is free. No advance reservations. Free tickets must be obtained on a first come, first served basis at the box office, where seating will be assigned.

Solomon King

U.S. 1974

Independent Black action film Solomon King was the brainchild of writer, director and star, Sal Watts, an Oakland, California-based entrepreneur who mobilized his wide-ranging enterprises to realize his vision. The local artists signed to his record label provided a soundtrack of funk soul jams, his string of fashion boutiques provided the eye-catching outfits and the businesses themselves—including his restaurant—provided the locations. Along with a cast of mostly non-professional Black actors, the result is a scrappy ’70s-era time capsule of the vibrant community that made it possible. Locally produced, Solomon King is epic in scope with Watts starring as a Green Beret and CIA operative turned nightclub owner who battles a mob of mercenaries to restore the rightful Black rulers of an unnamed Middle Eastern country after a coup. In the mold of Rudy Ray Moore’s Dolemite (1975), Solomon King is infectiously entertaining with a two-fisted message of Black empowerment writ large. After one of the only surviving complete prints was discovered at the UCLA Film & Television Archive, Deaf Crocodile restored the film with the cooperation of Watts’ widow Belinda Burton-Watts, who also appears in the film. The Archive is thrilled to present Solomon King at the Billy Wilder Theater with Burton-Watts in a virtual conversation following the screening.

DCP, color, 85 min. Directors: Jack Bomay, Sal Watts. Screenwriter: Sal Watts. With: Sal Watts, “Little Jamie” Watts, Claudio Russo.

Special thanks to Dennis Bartok, Craig Roberts—Deaf Crocodile Films.