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 ...
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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 vengeance, he rises to power in New York City's Harlem. Angry at the racist society around him, both criminal and straight, he sees the acquisition of power as the solution to his rage. He performs a free-lance hit on a Mob contract to attract the attention of the head of a Mafia family. Reluctantly accepted into 'The Family,' he grows increasingly autonomous and aggressive, eventually starting a gang war. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Hail the mighty Williamson for defining the "blaction" era.
BLACK CAESAR is only the first half in the gangster epic of Tommy Gibbs (Fred Williamson). It has attitude, and comes up strong in detailing the urbanized ghetto culture in a gritty style. Compare this to THE GODFATHER, if you will, because there isn't a lot going on here that its second-half sequel HELL UP IN HARLEM actually offers much more to the story (Maltin, take note of this!). Both films gave Williamson the spotlight he deserved in show business with his mean, dirty style of action-packed influence. This one's just warming up. Best scene to remember: Gibbs putting on the shoe polish of a white man's face to resemble Al Jolson, only in beating the living daylights out of him as he shouts "Mammy! Mammy!". As you'd normally expect for a "blaction" classic, it's pure entertainment, and James Brown's soul music score (absent in the sequel) is the best I've heard. There is a call for examination on Gibbs' "superior" gang who wants to rule over the opposing race, a plot that sometimes goes overboard and needs to be studied. You need to check out and watch BOTH of these titles simultaneously to avoid instant confusion, letting them stick together into a three-hour movie on its own.
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