6.8/10
367
8 user 14 critic

The Cool World (1963)

Filmmaker Shirley Clarke ("The Connection") directs this powerful, stark semi-documentary look at the horrors of Harlem ghetto slum life filled with drugs, violence, human misery, and a ... See full summary »

Director:

Shirley Clarke
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A director tries to film a group of junkies in Leach's room while they are waiting for Cowboy to bring their heroin connection.

Director: Shirley Clarke
Stars: William Redfield, Warren Finnerty, Garry Goodrow
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Black gay prostitute Jason Holliday is rigorously interviewed on his story and character, revealing nuanced truths about life and art.

Director: Shirley Clarke
Stars: Jason Holliday, Shirley Clarke, Carl Lee
Blonde Cobra (1963)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.1/10 X  

An experimental short film that variously features singing and storytelling, touching upon topics such as nations, death, religion, sex, and evil.

Director: Ken Jacobs
Stars: Ken Jacobs, Jack Smith
Animation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

New York beat cronies slumbering through Harry Smith, Burroughs and Ginsberg, University Columbia, Colombia, or the crazy is just what we need, not to "explain" tears in the fabric but to ... See full summary »

Director: Harry Smith
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Dah and Jocelyn come from Benin, Africa, to coach their rooster, "S'en fout la mort", for an illicit cock-fight in the basement of a restaurant.

Director: Claire Denis
Stars: Isaach De Bankolé, Alex Descas, Solveig Dommartin
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Puppeteer Li Tian-lu tells his life story, and through it, the story of Taiwan in the first half of the 20th century.

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Tien-Lu Li, Giong Lim, Kuei-Chung Cheng
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A short film documenting the seas and shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Directors: Jean-Daniel Pollet, Volker Schlöndorff
Comedy | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

With full disturbing and weirdo graphic plus sexual scenes, Flaming Creatures is one of most daring and controversial film of all time, According to Jack Smith's Flaming Creatures is a comedy in a haunted music studio.

Director: Jack Smith
Stars: Francis Francine, Sheila Bick, Joel Markman
Documentary | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The second stand-up performance of Richard Pryor filmed.

Director: Jeff Margolis
Stars: Richard Pryor, Patti LaBelle, Jennifer Lee Pryor
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Felicie and Charles have a serious if whirlwind holiday romance. Due to a mix-up on addresses they lose contact, and five years later at Christmas-time Felicie is living with her mother in ... See full summary »

Director: Éric Rohmer
Stars: Charlotte Véry, Frédéric van den Driessche, Michel Voletti
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The semi-autobiographical film on director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's childhood and adolescence, when he was growing up in Taiwan, living through the deaths of his father, mother and grandmother.

Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Chia-bao Chang, Neng Chang, Chih-Chen Chen
Ceddo (1977)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The Ceddo try to preserve their traditional African culture against the onslaught of Islam, Christianity, and the slave trade. When King Demba War sides with the Muslims, the Ceddo kidnap ... See full summary »

Director: Ousmane Sembene
Stars: Tabata Ndiaye, Moustapha Yade, Ismaila Diagne
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rony Clanton Rony Clanton ... Duke (as Hampton Clanton)
Carl Lee Carl Lee ... Priest
Yolanda Rodríguez Yolanda Rodríguez ... Luanne
Clarence Williams III ... Blood (as Clarence Williams)
Gary Bolling Gary Bolling ... Littleman
Bostic Felton Bostic Felton ... Rod
Gloria Foster ... Mrs. Custis
John Marriott John Marriott ... Hurst
Georgia Burke Georgia Burke ... Grandma
Marilyn Cox Marilyn Cox ... Miss Dewpoint
Jerome Raphael Jerome Raphael ... Mr. Shapiro
Mel Stewart ... Con-man
Joe Dennis Joe Dennis ... Douglas Thurston (as Joseph Dennis)
Ronald Perry Ronald Perry ... Savage
Bruce Edwards Bruce Edwards ... Warrior
Edit

Storyline

Filmmaker Shirley Clarke ("The Connection") directs this powerful, stark semi-documentary look at the horrors of Harlem ghetto slum life filled with drugs, violence, human misery, and a sense of despair due to the racial prejudices of American society. There is no patronizing of the black race in this cinematic cry for justice. A fifteen-year-old boy called Duke is ambitious to buy a "piece" (a gun) from an adult racketeer named Priest, to become president of the gang to which he belongs, and to return them to active "bopping" (gang fighting) which has declined in Harlem. It is a clearly patent allegory of an attempt by Duke to attain manhood and identity in the only way accessible to him - the antisocial one. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HOOKER! FUZZ! JUNK! RUMBLE! These are words that mean big trouble in... See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 February 1965 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Die lässige Welt See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

First-ever film credit for legendary documentary director Frederick Wiseman, who served as producer of this non-documentary feature. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

The Cool World is a shocking portrait of street life in 1960's America.
16 October 2003 | by ericcodySee all my reviews

"The Cool World", a 1963 independent film directed by Shirley Clarke is probably the most shocking, interesting, and realistic film I have ever seen. The films follows the character of Duke played by Rony Clanton. This film shows how it really was to be an African American teen growing up in urban America (Harlem, N.Y.) in the 1960's. The gun serves as a character in the film itself, for it demonstrates manhood for the character of Duke.

By no means is this film a glorification of street life that is so common today in American pop culture. The viewer will see in this film how ugly crime is especially these characters who are driven to commit crimes because of the desperate, depressed situations of the ghetto. The character of Duke searches throughout this movie for a gun to own as almost a way to arm himself against the failures that surround him daily such as rat infested tenements, garbage filled streets, drugs, pimps, prostitutes, gangs, and over zealous cops.

If John Cassevetes is considered the new phase of film making that occurred in the late 1950's with his superb film "Shadows" then Shirley Clarke is his female counterpart. Shirley Clarke masterfully merges documentary footage and Jazz music to the actual film that creates somewhat of a frightening, haunting, realistic portrait of urban America that I feel has not been seen very much in cinema since "The Cool World". It is interesting to note that actors Clarence Williams III, Antonio Fargas, Gloria Foster, and Peter De Anda who appeared in this film went on to make great strides of achievement in both film and television in the 1970's.

"The Cool World" is shown in many film festivals across the country. Unfortunately it is not on video, but someday I hope it will be for the world to see. I rate this movie **** excellent.


24 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 8 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed