Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Spook Who Sat By the Door|
Actors: Lawrence Cook, Janet League, Paula Kelly, J.A. Preston, Paul Butler
Director: Ivan Dixon
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Cult Movies, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Monarch Video Assoc. Release Date: 01/27/2004 Run time: 102 minutes Rating: Pg
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STEVEN F. SCHARFF | Henderson, NV United States | 04/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The film itself gets 5 stars from me, but this DVD only 4. It is seriously lacking a commentary track, any subtitles, and is presented in full frame instead of letterbox.
(UPDATE: The disc IS in widescreen, but is optimized for the newer widescreen TV sets, so you'll have to re-set your DVD player's output. Check the owner's manual.)
But beggers can't be choosers, and I've been begging someone, ANYONE, to get a good quality print of this long-suppressed film onto DVD. And this DVD is made from the master negative that has been in a vault for over 30 years!
After watching only pirated VHS copies and badly worn Canadian releases for so long, this film looks and sounds fresh and crisp.
For those uninitiated to this film, or the book it is based upon, here's a quick summary...
A White U.S. Senator, looking to improve his standing among Black voters, sponsors a drive for the CIA to recruit Black agents. However, everyone is graded on a curve, so all are condemned to flunk...save for soft-spoken Dan Freeman. After going through grueling training in self-defence, guerilla warfare and underground operations, he is recruited to be a "reproduction chief" (he runs a photocopier in the sub-basement), and serves the CIA as a token Black employee (the term "spook" used here is both a racial slur, and a slang term for a spy).
After 5 years, he leaves the CIA to work in his native Chicago for a social services agency...by day. By night, he's using his CIA training to teach a street gang to be the vanguard in an upcoming race war...
Understandably, this film raised a lot of fears among Whites when released, and despite box office success, it vanished from distribution after only three weeks. The film-makers insist it was pressure on the film's distributors by the FBI and their COINTELPRO program against Black Nationalist groups.
Long available only on bootleg video copies and screened only on college campuses, it became an underground classic. And now, it's legitimately available on DVD.
The DVD includes the rarely seen coming attractions trailer and TV spot, as well as interviews with the book's author, Sam Greenlee (in his 70's and still as vocal as he ever was!) and film-maker Robert Townsend, who says that this film literally changed his life.
Believe the hype! This film was made against the odds (The producer struggled just to make payroll, and the outdoor scenes in Chicago were shot without permits!), and despite the years, has not lost any of it's punch!
In short: Buy it now!"
SBLove99 | New Orleans, La. | 09/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 2004 this movie is still too provactive and progressive for some people,(Hence the weak apologia at the beginning of the movie, inserted to downplay the strong political tone of the film). Yet it should be required viewing for all of us. Written Produced, Arranged, Composed, Directed and Financed by us. That's the ONLY way we will ever see real strong images about African-American people on the big screen."
Re-released with nary a bang nor a whimper
Michael L. White | Westland, MI United States | 06/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Re-released with nary a bang nor a whimper by Tim Reid's New Millennium Studios in early 2004, THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR remains one of the most striking and important films of the 1970s. Based on the novel by Sam Greenlee, SPOOK is the subversive tale of Dan Freeman (Lawrence Cook) who's hired into the CIA as a "token Negro" and political tool for a Senator to appeal to black voters.
Freeman does his best to keep his head low and nose clean as he soaks up as much of the CIA's tactics as possible before taking his leave. He heads back to Chicago, adept now at pushing paperwork and, more importantly, making explosives, handling guns, and a wide range of other "covert ops." Freeman maintains his air of respectability via his Social Service job. However, his life outside of work includes organizing and leading an underground guerilla army, recruiting from the gangs with which he works. "You really want to mess with Whitey? I can show you how."
Known on the street as Turk, Freeman's group could give Al-Qaeda a run for their money. Freeman knows the "rules" and "the game" and he plays it expertly. For example, when Freeman needs funds for his domestic terrorism operation, he asks the lightest skinned members to rob a bank, knowing that such a well organized group would be mistaken for white, leading authorities on a wild goose chase. "This took brains and guts, which we don't have, right?"
An incendiary tale of revolution, SPOOK should have lit up the country--had it not been pulled from theaters almost immediately after release. The film is as chilling now in an era where people jump at their shadows for fear of terrorists, as it must have been when it came out originally when cities still smoldered after the riots of the late `60s. Only available for years via grey market dealers in a less-than-pristine video version, the DVD release of THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR has been given the deluxe treatment this must-see film deserves."
If you watch this movie, you will know why the government su
Ifriqiya | Washington, DC | 08/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this movie after hearing about it for a decade. Those people who informed me of the movie, had watched bootleg copies of it because it was unavailable in your local Blockbusters. If one studied the Black Nationalist Groups of the 1960's and 1970's, and how the FBI conspired to prevent the rise of the Black Messiah who would lead a Mau Mau revolution in America, and those were the FBI's words from their COINTELPRO files, then you will know why this movie was surpressed. Quite simply, this movie is powerful. It is just as potent today as it was 30 years ago. If one studies the Black Panther Movement and the Black Nationalist Groups of that era, one can see the fear that the government would have if the thesis of this movie were to take hold. The interview with Sam Greenlee, the author, was excellent. He is just as militant today as he was yesterday.
Enjoy it with the love of all things good.