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Cleopatra Jones
Cleopatra Jones
Actors: Tamara Dobson, Bernie Casey, Brenda Sykes, Antonio Fargas, Dan Frazer
Director: Jack Starrett
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Cult Movies, African American Cinema
PG     1999     1hr 29min

SHE'S TEN MILES OF BAD ROAD FOR EVERY HOOD IN TOWN!

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Tamara Dobson, Bernie Casey, Brenda Sykes, Antonio Fargas, Dan Frazer
Director: Jack Starrett
Creators: David M. Walsh, Allan Jacobs, Max Julien, William Tennant, Sheldon Keller
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Cult Movies, African American Cinema
Sub-Genres: Martial Arts, Espionage, Indie & Art House, Blaxploitation, African American Cinema
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 03/30/1999
Release Year: 1999
Run Time: 1hr 29min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Campy '70s Fun!
Mr Doug Gordon | Toronto, ON Canada | 04/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have always really liked this movie since it came out in 1973. I have watched it countless times through the years on TV, but haven't seen it for a while on TV so I picked it up on DVD. Although the DVD doesn't offer a lot of features, the picture quality is good and it's presented in it's original cinemascope format. This was one of the higher budget "blaxploitation" flicks from the '70s. Seeing it as a kid I thought it was the coolest movie. Now that I am a lot older, it's still cool, but in a campy/fun way. The plot consists of a government agent named Cleopatra Jones (Tamara Dobson)who is hired to rid the US of drugs. She goes after one of the "Queenpins" of the drug trade called Mommy, played by Shelley Winters. The one thing I never forgot about this movie was Cleopatra's kickin' Corvette complete with a cassette deck, which was really high-end at the time! (Most cars had 8-track players) Along with this was her funky fashions! If you like the '70s action genre, this is a great addition to your library."
CLEO: One of Soul Cinema's Best
Pamela Jarmon-Wade | Houston, Texas | 10/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Tamara Dobson was fabulously stylish, sexy, and intelligent in her role as Cleopatra Jones, the Karate/Kung Fu kicking United States Special Government Agent ("jurisdiction from Turkey to Watts Tower baby") who battles Drug Lord Mommy (Shelly Winters). Cleo ruffles Mommy's feathers by burning her Turkish poppy field that has a street value of $30 million. Mommy retaliates by getting her bad cop friends to bust the B&S House which is run by Cleo's boyfriend Rueben (Bernie Casey). The B&S House helps local drug addicts kick the habit. The B&S House staff have a Black Panther Party mentality.

To add action and humor to the movie is Mommy's odd crew of gay beauties that cater to her every whim; clutsy henchmen; Pusher Doodlebug (Antonio Fargas, best known from "Starsky & Hutch"). Doodlebug has his own odd crew that includes his high maintenance girlfriend Tiffany (Brenda Sykes, also played in "Black Gunn"), Pickle (Teddy Wilson who went on to star on tv shows like "Good Times", "That's My Mama", and "Sanford & Son"), white chauffer/butler Mattingly (real surname). Don Corneilus (Soul Train) has a cameo as himself. Ester Rolle ("Good Times") has a cameo as the mother of Cleo's two Karate kicking friends, The Johnson Brothers. This movie has a plethora of actors, both black and white, who went on to have extensive acting careers.

The well written story and screenplay is by Max Julien, who is best known for his role as "The Mack" and "Thomasine & Bushrod". The soundtrack yielded two hits, one by Joe Simon and the other by Millie Jackson.

Dobson portrayed a strong black woman with a positive character. Outside of driving the James Bond type Corvette complete with phone, personalized plates, government issued weapons concealed in the door and a top that automatically raised (awesome in 1973) to accomodate Dobson's 6 foot, 2 inch height... she displayed motor bike riding skills and a little bi-lingual capabilities that must have been needed for her traveling abroad.

The ending scene, the Bon Voyage party for Cleo ends with her white friend Police Captain Lou Crawford (Dan Frazer who has a very extensive acting portfolio with the likes of "Kojak", "Law & Order", and "As The World Turns") saying "Right On" while holding up a clinched fist (black power sign) as Cleo drives off into the sunset for her next big assignment. His actions amaze the other party people and is a priceless ending that should leave a smile on your face to go with this happy ending.

The disconsolate news of Tamara Dobson's death in October 2006 smothered the flames of my nostalgic dreams of her reprising the Cleo role for a third time (second time circa 1975, "Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold"). All biographical accounts document Tamara Dobson as having studied fashion at the Maryland Institute College of Arts before her professional modeling career. Her acting career included film appearances in "Norman... Is That You?", "Chained Heat", "Come Back, Charleston Blue", "Murder at the World Series", "Jason of Star Command", and "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century". Beyonce appears to have paid homage to "Cleopatra Jones" when she played Foxxy Cleopatra in the Austin Powers movie.

Tamara Dobson's role as Cleo was a hit and this movie is a classic that would add value to any so-called blaxploitation (Soul Cinema) era movie collection.

by:
Pamela Jarmon"
This one is great fun
Yarby | Medina, OH United States | 01/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Sure it's over the top. Sure Shelley Winters' character is absurd. But this one is a lot of fun. In the genre of blaxploitation movies, this movie is closer to "Shaft" in quality than it is to "Foxy Brown". "Foxy", while enjoyable, is a very amateurish production. "Cleopatra", on the other hand, is very well done. The car chase rates as one of the best of the era.As for the transfer, it also is very well done. My only complaint about the DVD is the lack of any additional features. In fact, it is so bare that the menu is a generic Warner Bros. logo instead of related to the movie.Regardless, even if you aren't a big fan of the blaxploitation genre, this one is great entertainment....exciting and funny at the same time."
Classic Cleopatra
steven davis | Oakland, California | 01/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"So many use the word Diva to describe the movie and recording stars of today. Well that last time I checked in the dictionary the word Diva had Tamara Dobsons picture by it. I saw this film the first time in the early seventies and I still think it was ahead of its time. Shes awesome to look at, has martial arts down to a science. I think an updated version would be a great vehicle for Rupaul. Do you agree? Can't wait to get it on widescreen."