Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are two black cops with a reputation for breaking the odd head. Both are annoyed at the success of the Reverend Deke O'Mailey who is selling trips ... See full summary »
A beautiful black gangster's moll flees to Harlem with a trunkload of gold after a shootout, unaware that the rest of the gang, and a few other unsavoury characters, are on her trail. A ... See full summary »
Cleopatra Jones is a United States Special Agent assigned to crack down on drug-trafficking in the U.S. and abroad. After she burns a Turkish poppy field, the notorious drug-lord Mommy is ... See full summary »
Tommy Gibbs is a tough kid, raised in the ghetto, who aspires to be a kingpin criminal. As a young boy, his leg is broken by a bad cop on the take, during a payoff gone bad. Nursing his ... See full summary »
Goldie returns from five years at the state pen and winds up king of the pimping game. Trouble comes in the form of two corrupt white cops and a crime lord who wants him to return to the ... See full summary »
Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are two black cops with a reputation for breaking the odd head. Both are annoyed at the success of the Reverend Deke O'Mailey who is selling trips back to Africa to the poor on the installment plan. When his truck is hijacked and a bale of cotton stuffed with money is lost in the chase, Harlem is turned upside down by Gravedigger and Coffin Ed, the Reverend, and the hijackers. Much of the humor is urban black, which was unusual in 1970. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Over the years, I've seen this movie on old, grainy, scratchy prints with runny color and muffled sound. I just viewed the DVD of this movie, and it's the first viewing I've had of a decent print with a decent video transfer. This has led me to revise what I long thought of the film.
First revision: I hadn't before realized how good the cinematography is. The images are detailed, well-composed, and carefully lit; the editing is sharp without being obvious.
I also hadn't recognized how good the acting is; the actors are all energetic without chewing up the scenery, they are clearly working hard to capture the right tone for the piece without looking like they're working hard.
Finally, now that I can hear all the dialog clearly, I realize, first, just how funny it is, and second, just how true to the source novel it is. Although Davis adds touches here and there, and of course some of the novel gets left out, Davis is really making a strenuous effort to remain true to the spirit of Chester Himes, one of the finest American novelists writing in the crime genre.
Because Davis pushes his characterizations perilously close to stereotypes, the film will probably never receive the recognition it deserves. I think Davis manages to restrain the stereotyping at all the right moments, and the whole film comes together beautifully. In short, this is a true classic.
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