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Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970)

R | | Action, Comedy | 27 May 1970 (USA)
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 »

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(based upon the novel by), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Rev. Deke O'Malley
Judy Pace ...
Iris
...
Uncle Budd / Booker Washington Sims
Emily Yancy ...
Mabel
...
Capt. Bryce
...
Goodman
...
Lt. Anderson
...
Calhoun
Mabel Robinson ...
Billie
Dick Sabol ...
Jarema
...
Lo Boy
Teddy Wilson ...
Barry (as Theodore Wilson)
Maxwell Glanville ...
Caspar
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Storyline

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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Introducing COFFIN ED and GRAVEDIGGER, two detectives only a mother could love.

Genres:

Action | Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 May 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Algodón en Harlem  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(DeLuxe Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Released the same day as Watermelon Man (1970), which also starred Godfrey Cambridge. See more »

Goofs

When Jarema puts on the paper bag, there is only one hole cut out - for his nose. Moments later, when he runs out into the hall, the bag now has eyeholes as well. See more »

Quotes

Gravedigger Jones: Any black man might rat on Whitey. I might myself.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Harlem Aria (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Ain't Now, But it's Gona Be
Music by Galt MacDermot
Lyrics by Ossie Davis
Sung by Melba Moore
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The first blaxploitation film? An action-comedy from the era thats actually funny
31 July 2007 | by (Worcester, MA) – See all my reviews

"Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" is usually credited as the first blaxploitation film. Its really shouldn't be for several reasons. First off, its a more serious urban drama. And plus, "Cotton Comes to Harlem" was released a year earlier. "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" is an important and influential film no doubt, but its not a very good one. In fact, I've yet to meet anyone who's actually made it through the whole thing. On the other hand, "Cotton Comes to Harlem" is just as funny and exciting today as when it came out, despite a few dated elements that some will find politically incorrect. Please, credit either this or "Shaft" as the first blaxploitation film, because "Sweet Sweetback" is really lame.

One of the films strengths is the chemistry between the stars. As Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed, Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques make a great team that plays off each other perfectly. Plus, Calvin Lockhart plays one of the sleaziest and pathetic film villains of the era and Judy Pace is absolutely beautiful. The direction by Ossie Davis keeps this film moving at a very quick pace. Granted, he never tops the first twenty minutes for excitement (the car chase early on is amazing), but the rest of the film is quite good when viewed on its own. This is a film that exists to entertain and does so very well. Its as exciting as "Shaft" and as funny as "Dolemite", only this time the laughs are intentional. (7/10)


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