6.9/10
328
7 user 14 critic

The Cool World (1963)

Filmmaker Shirley Clarke ("The Connection") directs this powerful, stark semi-documentary look at the horrors of Harlem ghetto slum life filled with drugs, violence, human misery, and a ... See full summary »

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rony Clanton ...
Duke (as Hampton Clanton)
Carl Lee ...
Priest
Yolanda Rodríguez ...
Luanne
...
Blood (as Clarence Williams)
Gary Bolling ...
Littleman
Bostic Felton ...
Rod
...
Mrs. Custis
John Marriott ...
Hurst
Georgia Burke ...
Grandma
Marilyn Cox ...
Miss Dewpoint
Jerome Raphael ...
Mr. Shapiro
...
Con-man
Joe Dennis ...
Douglas Thurston (as Joseph Dennis)
Ronald Perry ...
Savage
Bruce Edwards ...
Warrior
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Storyline

Filmmaker Shirley Clarke ("The Connection") directs this powerful, stark semi-documentary look at the horrors of Harlem ghetto slum life filled with drugs, violence, human misery, and a sense of despair due to the racial prejudices of American society. There is no patronizing of the black race in this cinematic cry for justice. A fifteen-year-old boy called Duke is ambitious to buy a "piece" (a gun) from an adult racketeer named Priest, to become president of the gang to which he belongs, and to return them to active "bopping" (gang fighting) which has declined in Harlem. It is a clearly patent allegory of an attempt by Duke to attain manhood and identity in the only way accessible to him - the antisocial one. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

These are the ones who play it cool, and find out about life and love before they're in high school ! This is the picture that explodes like a time bomb In the face of a city! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 February 1965 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Die lässige Welt  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

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User Reviews

 
This is a film that should be recognized immediately.
29 June 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film is a tremendous achievement. It is unbelievable to me that it is not being preserved and protected by those who have the power to do so. It absolutely SHOULD be available on video and it should be regularly mentioned in discussions of the great films of the "American New Wave". The previous commenter was absolutely right to compare it to a Cassavettes picture because it has a very similar feel, in that it seems not so much like a movie with a narrative, but just a "snippet" of a time, almost taken randomly for two hours. We get all kinds of wonderful experiences in that two hours, including 1960's Harlem, disillusioned youth run amok, gritty street fare, etc. Not to mention the music in the film(a fantastic jazz soundtrack). This is a very valuable film, and the fact that it is directed by a woman is significant, as this seems to be an under-appreciated voice in American cinema. Criterion, let's get it together and get this available for people to see. OK?


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