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Hell Up in Harlem (1973)

A gangster in Harlem must rescue his ex-wife, who has been kidnapped by the Mafia.

Director:

Larry Cohen

Writer:

Larry Cohen
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Fred Williamson ... Tommy Gibbs
Julius Harris ... Papa Gibbs (as Julius W. Harris)
Gloria Hendry ... Helen Bradley
Margaret Avery ... Sister Jennifer
D'Urville Martin ... Reverend Rufus
Tony King ... Zach
Gerald Gordon Gerald Gordon ... Mr. DiAngelo
Bobby Ramsen Bobby Ramsen ... Joe Frankfurter
James Dixon ... Irish
Esther Sutherland Esther Sutherland ... The Cook
Charles MacGuire Charles MacGuire ... Hap
Mindi Miller ... Tough Bikini Woman
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Storyline

Tommy comes from a forced rest period due to injuries suffered in Harlem's gang warfare. With the help of his girl, he will reorganize his gang, and overcome his rival gang leaders, through extreme acts of violence and death. Written by Artemis-9

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Black Caesar Gibbs has the Mafia on the run, the man on the lam and he's taking over the town. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

December 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Caesar Part II See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Ryder Sound Services)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The original title was "Black Caesar's Sweet Revenge". See more »

Goofs

When Tommy stabs Palermo with an umbrella at Coney Island, the next shot featuring the squib/wound is clearly animated. See more »

Quotes

Papa Gibbs: [to Zach] You need a whooping, Boy!
Zach: Boy?... Where you see a boy?
Papa Gibbs: And I'm gonna do it with these own two hands!
Zach: Old man gonna whoop my ass?
[Papa and Zach have it out with each other]
See more »

Alternate Versions

An altered audio goof on the MGM DVD, but not the VHS release, occurs in one scene during the ambush in the beach house. Instead of hearing the women screaming, you hear additional gunshots, instead. The French audio track is unaltered. See more »

Connections

Features Black Caesar (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't It Feel Good to Be Free
(uncredited)
Written by Freddie Perren and Fonce Mizell
Performed by Edwin Starr
courtesy of Motown Records Corp.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I can't shoot anyone, I'm a man of God now!
25 August 2005 | by sol-kaySee all my reviews

(There are spoilers) Rushed sequel to "Black Caesar" that was released the same year that it's predecessor premiered in 1973. "Hell up in Harlem" takes up where "Black Caesar" ended with Black Godfather Tommy Gibbs,Fred Williamson, staggering through the streets of New York with a bullet in his gut courtesy of the NYPD and corrupt New York City District Attorney DiAngelo, Gerald Gordon. Saved by his dad Big Papa Gibbs, Julius Harris, and a group of local homeboys Tommy, no longer limping like he did in "Black Caesar", is nursed back to health and before you can say Jackie Robinson is back in action to take out those, gangsters and law men, who tried to do him in.

Extremely violent and far more rousing then "Black Caesar" the film "Hell up in Harlem" has a WWII-like commando sequence with Tommy and friends storming ashore a Mafia held island, like US Marines or Navy Seals. After taking out what looked like an entire battalion of Mafia soldiers Tommies commandos force the remaining head Mafioso's to eat a full plate of "Soul Food" and make a peace settlement with Tommy's gang. There's also a graphically sick and nauseating lynching scene in the movie and what has to be the longest chase sequence in motion picture history; 3,000 miles from NYC to L.A.

Tommy back in the saddle again as Harlem mob kingpin expands his gangster empire to Philidelphia Detroit and L.A. What turns out to be the biggest threat to his power is, like in almost all Godfather-like films, are those close to him. Having the goods on DiAngelo and the corrupt politicians and big wigs in NYC, with the secret ledgers that he stole in "Black Caesar", the local power brokers in and out of the city's government don't prosecute or kill Tommy. Instead try to get to him through his top enforcer Zack, Tony King. Zack murders Tommy's ex Helen, Gloria Hendry, and makes it look like it was sanctioned by his dad Big Papa Gibbs.

Tommy in a fit of fury quits as mob boss and throws the organization that he founded into the hands of Big Papa who ends up doing a better job running it then Tommy did. Going legit and moving to L.A Tommy later gets the bad news that his dad was killed by Zack, who took over the Gibbs Harlem rackets. In a fit of rage Tommy goes back home to NYC to get even but it's not only Zack that he has to deal with but D.A DiAngelo and the entire NYPD as well.

Too vicious and violent even for a gangster film "Hell up in Harlem" has really no one in it to cheer on or feel sympathy for with the exception of Helen and Tommy's wife the Bible reading and church going Sister Jennifer, Mrgaret Avery, and Tommy and Helen's young son Jason.

"Hell up in Harlem" starts off with the last ten minutes or so of the movie "Black Caesar" which makes you think, if you already saw "Black Caesar", that you've already seen it before and turn the film off. Were told at the end of the movie that Tommy disappeared, together with his young son, and was never seen or heard from again but he did re-appear, of sorts, as Willie a Tommy Gibbs-type mobster a year later in the movie "Crazy Joe".


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