The film focuses on the war of two gangs in 1930s Harlem for the control of illegal gaming - one headed by black strategic godfather Bumpy Johnson and another by white ruthless hothead Dutch Schultz. Negotiations proposed by white syndicate boss Lucky Luciano never get under way, blood flows and Johnson gets jailed. When Johnson is paroled, he gets the work of enforcer for mighty Stephanie "The Queen" St. Clair. She is also jailed for racketeering and when she leaves she makes him promise "no violence". Written by
Actor Clarence Williams III who plays the character Bub Hewlett in Hoodlum also plays Bumpy Johnson in the 2007 true crime drama "American Gangster". See more »
Midway through the film, shortly before a series of newspaper headline shots with large 1935 dates are shown, there is an overhead street scene shot with a series of cars parked at the curb. One is a 1939 black Buick which would not have been available for viewing for at least another few years. See more »
I really enjoyed this film. As far as crime dramas go it is up there with The Godfather to me. Laurence Fishburne was great in his role as Bumpy Johnson. Tim Roth gave a great performance also.
The film did a great job portraying the inner turmoil of people. Also it did a great job at showing the racist attitudes of the times. Example: Dutch asking his main guy, who is black to wrap up his (shultz) sandwich scraps so that he (the black guy) could take them home to feed his grandkids. Classic subtle racism.
The clothes and the music were also good for the period. One scene was even shot at the cotton club which no movie during this period is complete without.
Great Job! Great Film!
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