Film Review: Petey Wheatstraw (1977)

Also known as: Petey Wheatstraw, the Devil’s Son-In-Law
Release Date: November 1977
Directed by: Cliff Roquemore
Written by: Cliff Roquemore
Music by: Nat Dove
Cast: Rudy Ray Moore, Jimmy Lynch, Leroy Daniels, G. Tito Shaw, Ernest Mayhand

Comedian International, Xenon Pictures, 94 Minutes 


“Shut up! Shut yo ugly old time ancient ass up! If you say one more word to me, I’ll have that lady take one of her titties and beat the shit outta you! And I ain’t lyin’ either!” – Petey

I love Rudy Ray Moore, as the guy has made me laugh since I was a teenager when I first discovered Dolemite. However, Petey Wheatstraw is a horrible movie that fails to even come close to the greatness of Dolemite or its sequel The Human Tornado.

In this, Moore is not Dolemite, he is essentially the same character but his name is Petey Wheatstraw. He was born during a hurricane in Miami and came out of the womb as a ten year-old boy. He is destined to become the future son-in-law of the Devil. You see, the Devil has a ugly and disgusting demon daughter and he wants Petey to marry her. The Devil uses all types of tricks to lure Petey in and Petey even gets a pimp cane that is a magical wizard’s staff.

The premise is ridiculous but sometimes, a ridiculous story can lead to awesome places. Petey Wheatstraw does not.

The film is an absolute mess. It is disjointed, confusing and half the time, you have no idea what the hell is happening. It was made by people who had no business making films on their own. Ultimately, it made me wish that Moore still had his creative partner Jerry Jones to help him reel it back in.

While Cliff Roquemore directed Moore in The Human Tornado, that film was a step down from Dolemite but it had much better writing than Petey Wheatstraw. Not only do I questions Roquemore behind the camera but I can definitely say that he shouldn’t have written this script. Moore had more movies and was more famous but he wasn’t able to tap the well for better talent going forward? Or maybe the Dolemite shtick just ran its course with Dolemite and didn’t have much life beyond one film?

I could accept The Human Tornado and the fact that Moore’s later films wouldn’t be quite on the Dolemite level but Petey Wheatstraw is unacceptable from top to bottom.

Rating: 3/10