I love Pam Grier. Saw this video for this song I really dig and it reminded me why she's so great.
So who was Pam Grier? In the Philippines at one time movies would be made and it was where basically any movie about Vietnam was actually filmed. So it became this odd thing with movies being made there on the cheap. Lots of movies about women in prison, later more actionsploitation films and Namsploitation films. Anyhow during one of these waves Pam was in several films and went from there to starring in a bunch of blacksploitation movies in the states.
The thing is she was actually a fine actress. And while part of the presence comes from just how movies were being made at the time a lot of her charm as an actress was her own. You look at the films she made early on and she would jump around doing different characters even though you could tell they really wanted to nail her down to one thing so they could keep selling the same picture. Like one of the women in prison movies she did they could only talk her in to doing it cause they would let her be this villainous guard.
Watch Foxy Brown or Coffy if you want to get one image of her work in the 70s or Women in Cages or The Big Bird Cage for another. Really though these are all good films, the Big Bird Cage is surprisingly good really. It's about Pam Grier and Sid Haig breaking these women out of this oppressive women's prison and it's directed by Jack Hill. Jack Hill's really great too, look up his movies while you're at it.
Anyhow later Grier had more success in the mainstream film world and brought Jackie Brown to life for Tarantino. Tarantino of course is a big Hollywood director who has always profusely shown his love of exploitation films in a number of ways. Possibly his most notable attempt would be releasing a nazisploitation film that people actually went to the theater to see. But after that film she's seen continued interest and appreciation for her earlier films.