Dolemite Is My Name Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Los Angeles, 1970 Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) works at a record store in the ghetto. Rudy comes from a poor family, his stepfather beat him, and Rudy dreamed that when he grows up, he will become famous. It does not matter who exactly he will be – a singer or a comic artist. But he will definitely become famous.

Unfortunately, his hopes did not come true for a long time. Rudy is forty-three years old, and all he has achieved is a manager’s job in a seedy store. But he still does not leave attempts to break somewhere, for which he conducts an entertainer at a local music club. However, the owner of the club allows him to occupy the attention of the public for no more than a couple of minutes, and, let’s be honest, during these two minutes Rudy manages to utter only a few old mossy jokes, so he will not see glory.

At some point, a half-mad homeless beggar comes to the store where Moore works, who, with a funny recitative, gives out all sorts of obscenities about the funny African dude Dolemite, who had everyone and spit everyone in a well-known place.

Rudy was interested in this recitative, and he went to a local homeless place with a bunch of one-dollar bills and a bottle of whiskey – to record the recitative on a tape recorder. At home, he processed it all, heavily redid it, and as a result received material for his own performance – now Rudy will portray Dolemite himself. For this character, he chose the appropriate entourage: a colorful pimp outfit, Rudy also pulled an afro wig over his head.

The audience of the music club Dolemite immediately fell in love with it. A funny recitative full of obscenities – that was exactly what we needed!

Rudy’s popularity is growing rapidly, and he decides to record a record with his recitatives accompanied by musical accompaniment. He has no money for a studio, and then he makes a live recording in his own house, where he invites a sound engineer and guests for extras.

But even after Moore gains popularity and hits the charts, he will not stop: his bright dream is to make a film with himself in the lead role. A film for his own, black, audience. No studio will cooperate with him, but Rudy again decides to do everything on his own.


This is the true story of Rudy Ray Moore, who performed under the stage name Dolemite. He was, to a certain extent, a cult character who influenced many black stand-up comedians, such as the same Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock, and the work of some film directors – for example, the same Quentin Tarantino has references to the style of films of that era “blacksploitation”. “(films for blacks, shot by blacks) – well, he is also called one of the fathers of rap, because it was Moore who came up with that very obscene recitative in African American slang, full of obscenities, in which all sorts of physiology are necessarily mentioned.

Eddie Murphy had the idea for this movie for many years. Back in the early 2000s, he told screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski about his project – they, by the way, wrote scripts for such biopics as “The Man in the Moon”, “Ed Wood” and “The People vs. Larry Flynt”.

Murphy even managed to meet Rudy Ray Moore himself (who lived to be 81 years old and died in 2009), and he really liked the idea that Murphy would embody him in a movie, and Rudy told Eddie many stories from his life: some of them later entered the script.

However, not a single studio agreed to finance the project: Eddie Murphy himself had long fallen out of the Hollywood “stars” cage, and the absolutely wildest failure of “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” ($ 7 million in worldwide fees with a budget of $ 100 million) could not be forgiven him, and besides , the interestingness of the personality of Dolemite as such among the studio bosses was under a big question: “Who is this and who knows him?” the bosses asked.

As a result, Murphy with Alexander and Karaszewski’s history with Dolemite was practically the same as that of Rudy Ray Moore himself, only Murphy did not embark on any adventures, but waited until Netflix became interested in this project, which financed the creation pictures – to show it to their viewers without theatrical release. The film had a very modest budget, Murphy and the writers invested their own money in the project, and many celebrities, apparently, starred in the film either for meager fees, or even for free – out of respect for Rudy Ray Moore himself and Eddie Murphy.

Needless to say, the film did well. There was no hard pressure from Hollywood studios, the little-known director Craig Brewer directed the picture (he also directs Coming to America 2 with Murphy and Snipes), so Eddie Murphy made the picture exactly the way he wanted to do it.

And what did he get out of it? In my opinion, the film turned out to be very good, even excellent! And note that I am not interested in this kind of humor at all, and the real film “Dolemite”, the scenes from which are quite carefully recreated in the film (at the end they just show short episodes from the original film), is, of course, a very specific trash- rasshrash. You can get your impression from the trailer for the original 1975 film.

But it was just interesting for me to look at this from the point of view of a cultural phenomenon: how this type of humor was born, well, and how rap recitatives appeared from this, from which then a whole huge layer of modern culture arose, and not only American, but already practically worldwide.

There is a very revealing moment in the film: Moore invites friends to go to the movies for some comedy – to relax. They go to see Billy Wilder’s Front Page with Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and a very young Susan Sarendon. Friends watch this film, which is laughed at by white viewers in the hall, and do not understand anything – this is not funny at all. Where are the jokes about dicks, boobs and asses, where are the boobs and asses themselves, where are the gunfights, where is the karate, where is it all? Two white assholes talking about all sorts of nonsense – and this is a comedy?!

Black bros, Moore says after watching, need a completely different film. They need Dolemite. And we will make this film, he says.

Here we note that this type of humor gradually began to penetrate white cinema, well, and somewhere in the nineties, modern American comedies became more like “blackplotation” than old comedies with refined humor. Which, of course, from my point of view, is not very good, but since this happened, we have to put up with it.

And then there is a very fascinating story, how Moore and his friends embark on an absolutely crazy adventure: they, not understanding anything about it, make a film in which they themselves play. Moore, however, found an intelligent screenwriter, invited a group of young white lighting operators from film school and even got one “star” – the black actor D’Harville (Wesley Snipes), who played the role of an elevator operator in Roman Polansky’s “Rosemary’s Baby”, and Moore bought him by offering to direct the film.

All this is terribly reminiscent of the same Ed Wood in the style of the production, only in a purely black version and with black specifics: pimp costumes, busty-assed girls, weapons, karate at the level of Bollywood films, appropriate music and atmosphere of carbon monoxide trash.

And with this film it was the same as with Moore’s first record: all the studios refused to roll this madhouse and then Rudy himself organized the rental – directly negotiating with the owners of cinemas. And since people went there in droves, after that, a large Hollywood studio already bought the rights to rent.

It’s all very well done and fun. And it was very nice to see with what absolutely genuine enthusiasm Eddie Murphy plays Moore – he just seemed to be thirty years younger: we have Murphy from the time of “48 hours”, “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Coming to America”, and not Murphy from the days of “Daddy on duty”.

Yes, his character from the stage carries a specific vulgarity, but he does it with such enthusiasm, with such dedication and with such faith that now he will finally win the audience, that it is really very cool.

And how they got out during the shooting of the film and what ideas they came up with in order for this or that scene to “play” – that was also more than funny.

Interestingly, against the backdrop of an absolutely sparkling Murphy and all the other actors seem to be infected with this slight madness: almost all the roles are very funny. And here we should separately note Wesley Snipes, who played this D’Arville, who imagines himself to be a big star: the character turned out to be very bright and in some places even pulled the blanket of the audience’s attention over himself. But, however, he could not outshine this new Murphy.

The atmosphere of those times is very well recreated: buildings, cars, manner of dressing, hairstyles. The budget was very limited, but the picture does not look cheap at all, on the contrary – everything looks quite authentic.

I really liked it. Yes, a madhouse, but a madhouse cheerful and contagious. Plus, the music of those times is very incendiary (Moore himself sang well and recorded several records), and it’s very nice to see artists who obviously really like to act in this picture themselves, such things are always noticeable.

Now about dubbing and voice acting. I, of course, looked in the original and kept thinking how to translate all that obscene recitative that Moore carries on stage. Then I listened to the licensed dubbing. And I must say that it is very, very decently done. The translation was done by Olga Voeikova – she rather skillfully managed the text of Moore’s speeches: the words are both rhymed and do not go far from the original, without direct obscenities, but also with all sorts of “salty” words that Rudy uses. Eddie Murphy was voiced by Vasily Dakhnenko, and he did it very well. So the translation and voice acting should not spoil the impression of United Statesn viewers.

Well, here’s the real Rudy Ray Moore.

PS In some reviews, the film “Dolemite” in 1975 is called almost the first “blackplotation” film, but this is absolutely not the case. The very first film is considered to be the 1970 picture My Name is Mr. Tibbs!, and the first most significant film is Shaft in 1971, directed by Gordon Parks. Well, five years before Dolemite, several dozen films in this style were staged. They were very different in genre, there were a lot of serious dramas.


My name is Dolemite / Dolemite Is My Name movie meaning

Director: Craig Brewer Cast: Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Snoop Dogg, Cody Smith-McPhee, Craig Robinson, T.I., Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Titus Burgess, Da’Vin Joy Randolph, Barry Shebaka Henley, Steve Odenkirk

Biopic comedy, USA, 2019, 117 min.

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