PHOTOS: Fall movie sneaks 2013

Frank Ward, the godfather of the underworld who became the film's protector, was murdered in his car while "The Mack" was in production.

Both Campus and Mitchell cringe when the term "blaxploitation" is used to describe "The Mack" because, Mitchell said, "it doesn't glorify" the underworld lifestyle.

"It's about a guy who sort of struggles with maturity and gets his comeuppance," Mitchell said. "He finds out he's not meant for this. I think it's a movie that is really about these questions of black masculinity: Do you take the easy way out and become this horrible kind of mutation of free enterprise, or do you try to sort of stand up and take the nationalist route and help your people?

"The Mack," Mitchell said, "is a pretty compelling piece of filmmaking. The interplay between Max Julien and Richard Pryor is something to watch. I think in emotional terms, there is a lot going on in the movie. It's an important movie."

susan.king@latimes.com

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'The Mack'

Where: Leo S. Bing Theater, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.

When: Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Admission: $5-$10

Information: http://www.lacma/org.event/mack