The story of a group of friends in turn of the century New York, from their early days as street hoods to their rise in the world of organized crime. As their crime empire expands, they ... See full summary »
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
Among many 1930s cultural references sprinkled in the film, one occurs during the scene when Lucky and Dutch are discussing business in a car. At the end of the ride Dutch says: "I'm going to the library. I'm going to take out that book "How to #*%& friends and irritate people." Here he is making a reference to the popular self-help book by Dale Carnegie "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Published in 1936 and an instant best-seller, the book would have been discussed widely in social circles during the time of the film, hence why Lucky smirked when he heard the joke. See more »
The big gunfight where Madame Queen is nearly killed was not filmed in Harlem, but on S. LaSalle St. in Chicago. Several other shots are not Harlem. See more »
I remember the days when you could get a guy hit for 40 bucks.
We live in inflationary times
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"Hoodlum" is a film that deserved much better. Bill Duke, its talented director, gives us a picture of what the Harlem of the thirties was like. In fact, "Hoodlum" suffers when it's compared to Coppola's "The Cotton Club". Mr. Duke, an actor himself, was able to amass a great cast and he got performances that are amazing from this first rate ensemble.
The cast headed by the brilliant Laurence Fishburn is amazing. Mr. Fishburn is basically the whole reason for watching the film. His Bumpy Johnson is a larger than life figure in that era. Tim Roth also is quite amazing as Dutch Schultz, a white man who saw the hidden treasures of the black community of Harlem and tried to capitalize in that world. Andy Garcia plays Lucky Luciano, an Italian man who also was instrumental in the criminal activities one sees in the film.
Also in the cast, Vanessa Williams, Cicely Tyson, Loretta Devine, William Atherton, Queen Latifah, and the rest, respond well to Mr. Duke's command.
The film is entertaining and will not disappoint fans of the genre, or of Mr. Duke.
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