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
I Had Forgotten How Good This Movie Actually Is!!!!
I had this movie on homemade VHS for a while and just received the DVD.
Mesmerizing!!! Beautifully Filmed! Hats off to Bill Duke - another very distinguished African-American director!! Once you get past the fact that the movie is FILLED with phenomenal performances from the likes of Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, Tim Roth, Vanessa Williams. Queen Latifah, Loretta Devine, Clarence Williams III, and of course, Miss Cicely Tyson you also discover a gem of a movie.
It follows the exploits of a 30s Harlem gangster Bumpy Johnson. Fishburne reminds you of why he is such a charismatic actor. His performance here is one you can watch over and over again. Of course the movie may have been exaggerated but what movie isn't?! It is a very stylized presentation and the obvious attention to detail to create the look and the feel of the period help intensify the viewing experience.
I am quite proud of the production and highly recommend it become part of your movie collection. Notwitstanding that is a worthy project, there are treasures of performances here that warrant attention.
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