Monday, April 16, 2007

cotton comes to harlem (ossie davis, 1970)

Not an unpleasant picture, unsweetened but uncoordinated. Raymond St. Jacques' face is shaped like an arrow; Godfrey Cambridge's face is shaped like a smirk. Attempts to pander to the white audience are negligible; more often the film does the a key scene, black winos ease their way into a peaceful protest, but when angry whites try to join the same cause and take up the same slogans, they get a pie in the face!

What the film has to say about sexuality and race is enough to fill an essay: the fact that "Gravedigger" Jones / "Coffin" Ed Johnson appear to have even less of a home life than Joe Friday / Frank Smith is just the beginning.

Most of all, the film poses a key question to its viewers: is it black enough for ya?

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