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Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970)

R | | Action, Comedy | 27 May 1970 (USA)
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Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are two black cops with a reputation for breaking the odd head. Both are annoyed at the success of the Reverend Deke O'Mailey who is selling trips ... See full summary »

Director:

Ossie Davis

Writers:

Chester Himes (based upon the novel by), Arnold Perl (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Godfrey Cambridge ... Grave Digger Jones
Raymond St. Jacques ... Coffin Ed Johnson
Calvin Lockhart ... Rev. Deke O'Malley
Judy Pace ... Iris
Redd Foxx ... Uncle Budd / Booker Washington Sims
Emily Yancy Emily Yancy ... Mabel
John Anderson ... Capt. Bryce
Lou Jacobi ... Goodman
Eugene Roche ... Lt. Anderson
J.D. Cannon ... Calhoun
Mabel Robinson Mabel Robinson ... Billie
Dick Sabol Dick Sabol ... Jarema
Cleavon Little ... Lo Boy
Teddy Wilson ... Barry (as Theodore Wilson)
Maxwell Glanville Maxwell Glanville ... Caspar
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Storyline

Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are two black cops with a reputation for breaking the odd head. Both are annoyed at the success of the Reverend Deke O'Mailey who is selling trips back to Africa to the poor on the installment plan. When his truck is hijacked and a bale of cotton stuffed with money is lost in the chase, Harlem is turned upside down by Gravedigger and Coffin Ed, the Reverend, and the hijackers. Much of the humor is urban black, which was unusual in 1970. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Introducing COFFIN ED and GRAVEDIGGER, two detectives only a mother could love.

Genres:

Action | Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 May 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Algodón en Harlem See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Formosa Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (DeLuxe Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film featured seven people that would later appear on Sanford and Son. They include Redd Foxx, Lou Jacobi, Wally Taylor, Helen Martin, Teddy Wilson, Emily Yancy and Judy Pace. See more »

Goofs

When Jarema puts on the paper bag, there is only one hole cut out - for his nose. Moments later, when he runs out into the hall, the bag now has eyeholes as well. See more »

Quotes

[Starts handling his revolver]
Bryce: Say, do you have to play with that thing?
Gravedigger Jones: I'm insecure, Captain.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Come Back Charleston Blue (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

The Loving Ballad
(uncredited)
Written by Galt MacDermot & William Dumaresq
Sung by Denis Dillapena
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The TRUE origin of "blaxploitation"
17 January 2001 | by TresixSee all my reviews

COTTON COMES TO HARLEM is the adaptation of Chester Himes' 1965 novel of the same title and stars Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques as his two Harlem police detectives "Gravedigger" Jones and "Coffin" Ed Johnson respectively. Their motto: "[We] may have broke some heads, but we ain't never broke no promise." Jones and Johnson are on the trail of "Reverend" Deke O'Malley (Calvin Lockhart. O'Malley is funding a "Back to Africa" cruise by taking donations from the good people of the 'hood. However, before he can make his getaway, a robbery breaks out and the money, hidden in a bale of cotton, gets lost in Harlem. This sends the cops, O'Malley and the robbers on a wild search through the New York area for the stolen loot. Redd Foxx appears as a junk dealer (two years before SANFORD AND SON) who holds the key to the fate of the money.

Oddly enough, the movie is less rough then Himes' novel (which had quite a bit of rough language and sex in it), yet received an R rating back then. It would hardly register as a PG-13 today. COTTON COMES TO HARLEM should be seen to see the true origins of the genre known as "blaxploitation" (black exploitation movies).

COTTON is quite an enjoyable action romp. It is especially light compared to the later "blaxploitation" films that followed it.


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