The Killing Floor, an essential piece of Black, labor, and cinematic history, is now available on Blu-ray following a 4K restoration.
It may have take the UCLA Film & Television Archive but the 1985 Sundance Special Jury Prize winner is now available on both Blu-ray and DVD for the first time in North America. This is also another one of those parts of history in which I knew nothing about while growing up. To be fair, I did grow up in Kentucky.
A Black sharecropper, Frank Custer (Damien Leake), from Mississippi gets a job on “the killing floor” of a meetpacking plant. He’s one of many thousands to make the journey north during World War I. All of them were looking for the racial equality that could not be found in the South. Frank also manages to succeed in getting his wife Mattie (Alfre Woodard) and family to relocate up north. Things get dire when Frank starts speaking out in favor of the union and his friends soon turn on him.
- Introduction by director Bill Duke
- Q&A with Damien Leake and Elsa Rassbach
- The Making of The Killing Floor: Pandemic Era Conversations with Damien Leake, Clarence Felder and Bill Duke
- Interview with producer-writer Elsa Rassbach
- Booklet with new essays by Professor James R. Barrett, University of Illinois and Professor Joe William Trotter, Jr., Carnegie Mellon University
DIRECTOR: Bill Duke
SCREENWRITER: Leslie Lee
CAST: Damien Leake, Alfre Woodard, Clarence Felder, Moses Gunn, Dennis Farina, Ernest Rayford