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Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970)

R | | Action, Comedy | 27 May 1970 (USA)
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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 ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(based upon the novel by), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Raymond St. Jacques ...
...
Rev. Deke O'Malley
Judy Pace ...
Iris
...
Uncle Budd / Booker Washington Sims
Emily Yancy ...
Mabel
...
Capt. Bryce
Lou Jacobi ...
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:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(DeLuxe Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

During the car chase, the mirror on the driver's side of the police car gets shot off. Once the police car collides with the watermelon cart a few seconds later, the mirror reappears. See more »

Quotes

Iris: They say the badder the woman, the better the smell. Come sniff.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inspector Coliandro: Magia nera (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Down in my Soul
Music by Galt MacDermot
Lyrics by William Dumaresq
Sung by Leata Galloway
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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