Car Wash (film)

Car Wash (film)

name=Car Wash
caption = The movie poster for the film "Car Wash"
writer=Joel Schumacher
starring=Franklyn Ajaye
Ivan Dixon
Richard Pryor
George Carlin
Danny DeVito
Bill Duke
Antonio Fargas
director=Michael Schultz
music=Norman Whitfield | distributor=Universal Pictures
released= October 22 1976
runtime=97 min.
awards= Academy Award for Best Picture (nominated) (1977)
producer=Art Linson
Gary Stromberg
budget= |

"Car Wash" is a 1976 comedy film produced by Universal Pictures. It was directed by Michael Schultz from a screenplay by Joel Schumacher. The film starred Franklyn Ajaye, Ivan Dixon, Darrow Igus, James Spinks, Bill Duke, Melanie Mayron, and Antonio Fargas, and is a comedy about a "day-in-the-life" of a Los Angeles, California car wash, its employees, and its owner, Mr. B (Sully Boyar). Car Wash is a collective and populist film about the spirit of community.


While the film features a group of very well-defined characters throughout the course of the film that are characterized by their actions, three persons stand out: Sully Boyar, Mr. B (capital), Bill Duke, Duane "Abdullah" (revolution) and Ivan Dixon, Lonnie (kindness.) Other standout characters included Richard Pryor as Rich Daddy Rich, the Pointer Sisters as "The Wilson Sisters" supporting Daddy Rich's character, George Carlin as a taxi cab driver looking for Marleen (Lauren Jones), a "tall black blonde" hooker who skipped on her fare, and Irwin Corey who may be the 'mysterious pop bottle bomber'. The greed and neglect of the lustful and amiable car wash owner is contrasted with the anger and resentment of the dry and humorless political activist. In the middle comes the ex-convict who ultimately will settle things on the film's central issue: work. We cannot forget most of the issues referred to in the film in a casual way, as we normally do in daily life, and related to the multiple characters: love, religion, prostitution, parenthood, homosexuality, social climbing, class rejection, money, class struggle, sex, and above all, music, which is the unifying element. Norman Whitfield did such a good job, that he not only established the rhythm of the action, but its atmosphere, tone and feel. It generates such positive energy, that in the end all of the virtues that appear combined with the vices of the fast, consumerist and violent urban life, as well as the suffering of some of the characters, come to the fore: love, compassion, tolerance, patience, solidarity, friendship, happiness. That makes 'Car Wash' a joyful and universal parable of survival in the latter days of capitalism. And that is not an easy achievement for a little film, directed by an African-American and aimed at a very reduced population.


Other supporting actors included: Richard Brestoff, Michael Fennell (the boy on the skateboard), Arthur French, Lorraine Gary, Leonard Jackson, DeWayne Jessie, Lauren Jones, Jack Kehoe, Henry Kingi, Clarence Muse, Garrett Morris, Leon Pinkney, Pepe Serna, James Spinks, Ray Vitte, Ren Woods, Antonie Becker, Erin Blunt, Otis Sistrunk, Tim Thomerson and Jason Bernard. (The film also featured the vocals of local L.A. disc jockeys Jay Butler, J. J. Jackson, Rod McGrew, Sarina C. Grant, and Cleveland's Billy Bass, all heard in the background of the film on the fictional "KGYS" radio station.)


When the film was originally released, it received mediocre reviews and was not considered a major success. Since its initial release it has had a small but constant following which continues today as a cult film. In 1977 the film won Best Music Award and Technical Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival plus a nomination for Golden Palm. In the same year it was nominated for Golden Globe, plus it won a Grammy for Best Album of Original Score written for a Motion Picture or Television Special.


"", recorded by Rose Royce, was a major success, yielding three Billboard R&B Top Ten singles, "Car Wash", "I Wanna Get Next to You", and "I'm Going Down". The "Car Wash" title track, written and produced by Norman Whitfield, was a #1 hit and was one of the biggest hit singles of the Disco era.

Alternate ending

Some early DVD and VHS versions of this movie have an alternate ending from the original theatrical release. The original version has Marsha the cashier being picked up by her "hot date," but when she walks out, her "date" is sitting with his girlfriend in the front seat while Marsha's actual date is seated in the back of the white 1975 Buick LeSabre convertible. She realizes she was chosen as a blind date.


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