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 ...
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Sequel to Cotton comes to Harlem. Another bad influence is hitting Harlem and Gravedigger and Coffin Ed are the two cops who will stop it. Charleston Blue was a prohibition era black ... See full summary »
Raymond St. Jacques,
Peter De Anda
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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>
The first blaxploitation film? An action-comedy from the era thats actually funny
"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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