Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Heroin King Of Baltimore - The Rise And Fall Of Melvin Williams" DVD

This skimpy, amateurish documentary is centered around a single interview with Melvin Williams, who gathered considerable wealth as a gambler and drug dealer from the sixties to the eighties. He also reportedly was instrumental in stopping the violent riots that went down in Baltimore after the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968. So Williams' street cred is impeccable. His insight into underworld dealings is expert and experienced, so it's good to see him here lecturing inner-city kids on the futility of drug trafficking and gang activity.

To flesh and illustrate out this hour-long doc, the director wisely uses dramatic recreations. There are also other interviews with associates and those around Melvin in his heyday. The quality of the recording seems pretty sketchy (like it was recorded from TV), and the main point of this seems to be a cash-in to appeal to the whole urban thug mentality, from someone who did it way back before it was "cool". I lost interest pretty fast, though I give total respect to Williams, who is quite the survivor.

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