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The Monkey Hu$tle (1976)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | December 1976 (USA)
A new highway threatens a Chicago neighborhood, so to protest the residents throw a block party.

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Writers:

(screenplay) (as Charles Johnson), (story)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Kirk Calloway ...
Baby 'D
...
Player
...
Tiny (as Donn Harper)
Lynn Caridine ...
Jan-Jan
Patricia McCaskill ...
Shirl
Lynn Harris ...
Sweet Potatoe
...
Goldie
...
Mama
...
Win
...
Vi
Fuddle Bagley ...
Mr. Molet
Frank Rice ...
The Black Knight
...
Joe (as Carl Crudup)
Duchyll Martin Smith ...
Beatrice (as Duchyll Smith)
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Storyline

A new highway threatens a Chicago neighborhood, so to protest the residents throw a block party.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It ain't legal an it sure ain't safe...but it do seem worthwhile! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

December 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Monkey Hustle  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In the beginning of the film, when Foxx steals the quart of milk, the carton is closed. While running across the street, the carton of milk is suddenly open when Foxx has not had sufficient time to open it. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Arthur's Kids: A Conversation with Arthur Marks (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
I like the Monkey Hustle!
5 November 2007 | by See all my reviews

I think that Monkey Hustle is a very misunderstood film, mostly because of a misleading ad campaign that tried (and still tries, via the VHS and DVD packaging) to sell it as a plot-driven scam flick, a black version of The Sting. That's not what this is. Daddy Fox, the con man character is only a character in an ensemble. This film is much more like Car Wash--a group of disparate characters in a common place interacting. Except in this case the common place is a neighborhood instead of a place of business. Although "Monkey Hustle" is a term coined by Daddy Fox in an early scene,it doesn't only refer to con games--it also refers to the way all the characters are hustling for love, for success, or for respect. The direction is loose and the performances are almost universally winning. Yaphett Kotto is amusingly verbose as Fox and Rudy Ray Moore is hilariously--and purposefully-- over the top as numbers runner Goldie.

Now, I'm not saying that this was a great film, but it is a lot better than its rep, and certainly not the total artistic failure it is often represented as. One thing that holds the film back is that it does seem to be lacking a few necessary scenes near the end that would explain how Goldie and the Fox stopped the Freeway expansion. There are scenes that obviously lead up to that missing climax (with lots of knowing winks and secret smiles), and scenes after it is announced that the freeway project has been canceled (characters giving each other the "high sign")--but nothing about how the heroes made it happen!

However, plot is not a big part of this kind of movie. No, the most important element "Car Wash" had that "Monkey Hustle" lacked was a really great soundtrack of classic tunes to tie things together. "Monkey Hustle" is noticeably music-lite for its genre. There is one decent tune--the title track--and it gets played a lot. But lots of scenes cry out for music, and the ones that get it have to make due with endless variations of this same theme. I predict that if AIP had sprung for a funky soundtrack like the producers of Car Wash did, and the filmmakers had come up with even five or seven more minutes of action to explain the ending, "Monkey Hustle" would be seen as a minor classic of the 70's black film era. It never would have been a "Cooley High," but it could have at least been a little brother to "Car Wash" (and it is a HELL of a lot better than "Thank God It's Friday").


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