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Uptown Saturday Night
Uptown Saturday Night
Actors: Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Rosalind Cash, Lee Chamberlin
Director: Sidney Poitier
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Music Video & Concerts, Mystery & Suspense, African American Cinema
PG     2004     1hr 44min

Two small time hustlers loose a winning lottery ticket in a robbery. They scour the city and battle thugs to retrieve it.DVD Features: Featurette:Dynamite Duo: A Retrospective Theatrical Trailer


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Movie Details

Actors: Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Rosalind Cash, Lee Chamberlin
Director: Sidney Poitier
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Music Video & Concerts, Mystery & Suspense, African American Cinema
Sub-Genres: Crime, Richard Pryor, Cash, Johnny, Mystery & Suspense, African American Cinema
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/13/2004
Original Release Date: 07/26/1974
Theatrical Release Date: 07/26/1974
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 44min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

The weakest of the Cosby/Poitier trilogy; but fortunately, t
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 02/07/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is a kind of film that people like to keep around. It's not Shakespeare but it's fun and light and it features some pretty wonderful performances. In here we have Steve Jackson (Sidney Poitier) and Wardell Franklin (Bill Cosby) are two working stiffs looking to have a good time uptown. They tip out on wives Sarah Jackson (Rosalind Cash) and Irma Franklin (Ketty Lester) and go to Zenobia's, a joint - named after Madame Zenobia (Lee Chamberlin) - where the high fallutin' high rollers hang out for a little casino action.

Unfortunately, they lose their shirts (literally) when robbers force them and everyone else to strip and give up their valuables. Thugs Zenobia's not only take all the patron's money and jewels, but also Steve's wallet, which he later discovers held something more valuable than he ever imagined. Steve and Wardell seek the help of numerous neighborhood characters - including "Don" Geechie Dan Beauford (Harry Belafonte), The Don's rival Silky Slim (Calvin Lockhart), local hood Little Seymour (Harold Nicholas), inept private investigator Sharp Eye Washington (Richard Pryor), and a corrupt Congress-critter (Roscoe Lee Browne) - in retrieving the wallet.

Uptown Saturday Night is a special movie, capable of striking that delicate balance between not funny and not interesting. It is, however, not to be dismissed out-of-hand. The film is a visual treat, to be sure. Cosby parting his hair and his moustache for a big night out on the town is truly a sight to behold, as is the red piping on his dinner jacket. He's also pretty tough in this movie. Cosby's Wardell is a little less refined than his I Spy guy, and a lot less refined than his ugly sweater Huxtable. Comedic co-star, Sidney Poitier looked to be out of his field, especially compared to Bill "Shave And A Haircut?" Cosby and the rest of the crew. Much of the time, Poitier seemed to be barely hanging in there, trying to keep up with Cosby's antics, with a look of terror in his eyes whenever Cosby tore loose (though admittedly, that may have been Director Poitier, panicking over losing control of Cosby). But even Cosby himself took a back seat to Paula Kelly, Richard Pryor, and Roscoe Lee Browne. Kelly, who I loved in "Sweet Charity", was Large as Leggy Peggy without being unnecessarily Loud; Pryor was understated (for him), and had one of the best, spot-on, lines in the movie; and Browne wore his two-faced Afro [when it suited him]-American [when it didn't] politician role like a shining coat of armor. The real surprise for me was discovering that Harry Belafonte was one of the bad guys ("Geechie Dan"). One hopes he was wearing alot of makeup, because otherwise, he looks close to death. Overall it's a goo/decent film that I recommended to all Bill Cosby/Sidney Poitier fans, or anyone looking for a decent classic movie to watch, may want to pick "Uptown Saturday Night."
DVD should mean EXTRAS
James P. Neal, III | Somerville, MA | 02/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Uptown Saturday Night was one of the first films I looked for when I acquired a DVD player a few years ago. Finally it is available. Nonetheless, one of the major reasons I purchase DVDs is to ascertain what extras and supplements might be included to complement the film itself. I was a little disappointed with what Warner Bros included as "Special Features" for this great film. The commentary by Dr. Todd Boyd is insightful in accurately setting this film in its proper social, cultural, historical context. However Boyd's commentary provides little insight into the making of the movie, the depth of its actors, and behind the scenes dynamics that went into making the film. Like so much commentary available on DVD "extras", Boyd's comments do nothing more than provide a cheering section to the film (i.e. this is a classic scene, I loved this scene, etc.). It would have been nice to have had more input from Richard Wesley who wrote the screenplay, Sidney Poitier who directed and starred in the film, as well as comments from Bill Cosby who is the key comedic figure in this caper film.I was also disappointed in the "documentary" included as a "Special Feature" entitled "The Lowdown on Uptown: A Retrospective". This "lowdown" is a little too brief and even suffers from false advertisement. On the back of the DVD package, the consumer is led to believe that this retrospective would include comments by Denise Nicholas and Jimmie Walker. I saw or heard nothing from either of them. Again where was Poitier, where was Cosby?Enough complaints however because this is one of my favorite films of all time. I particularly like the character roles of Roscoe Lee Browne, Richard Pryor, and Flip Wilson. The film also includes great displays of the lives and concerns of Black folk in the mid 1970s. All I have to say as with all DVDs ... bring on more "special features" and "extras"."
"I get mean when you mess with my green!"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 01/12/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"After Sidney Poitier proved himself time and again as one of the more accomplished actors of his time in such dramatic films as A Raisin in the Sun (1961), In the Heat of the Night (1967), and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), he tried his hand at comedies, which he not only directed, but also starred in with funny man Bill Cosby, who, at the time, established himself in television series like "I Spy", "The Bill Cosby Show", and "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids". The result was a trio of films, this one titled Uptown Saturday Night (1974) being the first (and most popular), with Let's Do It Again (1975) and A Piece of the Action (1977) to follow. Also appearing is singer Harry Belafonte (Island in the Sun), Rosalind Cash (The Omega Man), Roscoe Lee Browne (Topaz, Super Fly T.N.T.), Paula Kelly (Soylent Green), Harold Nicholas (The Five Heartbeats), Calvin Lockhart (Let's Do It Again), Flip Wilson ("Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In"), and the late, great Richard Pryor (Car Wash, Silver Streak), in a small role as private detective Sharp Eye Washington, a part Bill Cosby was originally interested in playing.

Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby are Steve Jackson and Wardell Franklin, respectively, a pair of working class stiffs (Steve works in a mill, while Wardell drives a cab), looking to get a piece of the, wait, that's the title of their third film...anyway, one night, the two men decide to visit an `after hours' club, essentially an exclusive nightclub featuring illegal gambling, called Zenobia's. The place is jumping, full of fly guys, foxy mamas, and hot, funky music...and gambling. Just as the pair hits it big on the dice table, a gang of masked gunmen raid the joint, robbing the place blind. The next day Steve discovers he's won $50,000 dollars in the lottery, but guess what? The winning ticket was in his wallet, which was taken during the heist. Steve and Wardell hit the streets in an effort to find the persons responsible for the robbery, and hopefully, recover the winning ticket, and exercise which has them come into contact with all sorts of underworld types, including a pint-sized karate expert named Little Seymour (Nicholas), a smooth hustler named Silky Slim who's looking to make a name for himself, and an established crime kingpin named Geechie Dan Beauford (Belafonte). Eventually Steve and Wardell do find out who was responsible fir hitting Zenobia's, and concoct a crazy scheme involving setting the crooks up to steal non-existent diamonds, all in an effort not only recover Steve's wallet (with the winning ticket), but also to jam up the gangsters with whom the pair are now in hot water with, culminating in an outlandish finale at a church picnic.

While Uptown Saturday Night was the most popular of the trio of comedies Poitier and Cosby did in the 1970s, I always thought their second feature, Let's Do It Again (1975), was actually the funniest of the three. That's not to say the other two aren't funny, as they most certainly are, but the second always seemed to stand out as the best, in my opinion. This film works for a number of reason...the story is relatively solid, the script sharp, the direction highly professional, the cast exceptionally talented (the writer states he originally wrote the film with Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor in mind to play the leads, but Poitier and Cosby were chosen instead because of their ability to generate box office sales), and finally just by the fact the filmmakers allowed enough leeway for Cosby to do a lot of what he does best, and that is improvise, as shown in some of the funniest scenes in the film, of which there are many. Watch as Cosby takes it over the top near the beginning, during the gambling sequence where he's actually winning as a female patron has the hot hand with the dice...and then there's the bit where Cosby and Poitier's characters are trying to act all tough as they enter a bar known to be a hangout for a criminal which they got a tip on...this is followed up by Cosby producing the most cockamamie line of BS as the pair find themselves in over their heads. In this particular scene, the writer mentioned in a featurette on the DVD that the boys were supposed to run out of the bar when it appeared they were going to get the beating, but then the scene was changed to allow Cosby to try and schmooze his way out of the sticky situation to no avail as the pair eventually get the beating in a hilarious fight sequence. Also, I think Bill Cosby's ratty beard should have gotten its own credit in the film, as it was almost a character unto itself...and who knew Sidney Poitier could pull off a comic role as well as he does? Sure, most of the time he was more or less the straight man, setting Cosby up, but still, he had his moments. I guess an excellent actor can perform well in any genre, given the material is there. I'll tell you what, had I not seen Harry Belafonte credited as playing the character of Geechie Dan Beauford, a comical representation of Marlon Brando's portrayal of Don Vito Corleone, I wouldn't have recognized him at all. And then there's Flip Wilson, as `The Reverend'...he's got some great lines, the best being while he's preaching to his congregation..."Friends, we need more romance and less hot pants!" Richard Pryor also has a small, but funny, role as a nervous private eye Poitier and Cosby's characters seek out to help recover the wallet. He's got a couple of great lines with regards to how African American private eyes are portrayed on screen versus reality. All in all, this is a solidly funny film, with a lot of crazy characters, quotable lines, and funky 1970s fashions and hairstyles (check out Bill Cosby's afro, complete with a part down the middle).

The anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), looks very good here, given the age of the film. It doesn't leap out at you, but probably looks as good as when it was originally released. As far as the Dolby Digital mono audio, I have no complaints. In terms of extras, there are a few, including an audio commentary track featuring Dr. Todd Boyd, USC professor of cinema and television and author, a short featurette titled The Lowdown on Uptown: A Retrospective (7:06), and a theatrical trailer. If you liked this film, I would suggest checking out the two films that followed, Let's Do It Again (1975) and A Piece of the Action (1977). The movies aren't actually sequels, so the order in which you watch them isn't really important.


By the way, as I write this, I noticed Warner Home Video, the studio that owns the film, is planning on re-releasing this movie onto DVD as a double feature with A Piece of the Action (1977), at a very attractive price. If you're interested, it might be worth it to look for that release rather than buy this stand alone version."
An All-Time Favorite!
Samhot | Star Land | 12/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Out of the three comedies starring Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier -- 1974's UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT, 1975's LET'S DO IT AGAIN and 1977's A PIECE OF THE ACTION -- this one has always been my favorite, even though the other two were fabulous as well. This classic, non-stop laugh-fest centers around two down-on-their-luck best-buddy hustlers (played by no other than Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier) who happen to con their way into an after-hours nightclub, only to end up being robbed by one of the local gangs. Meanwhile, back at home, one of them discovers that the numbers he played in the lottery, were, in fact, the winning numbers; but then he realizes that the ticket--the winning ticket--that he had was in his wallet...which was stolen during the stick-up at the after-hours club.

And from there, the action begins. The boys go a little "undercover," by scouting out every local gangster, to see which one has got possession of the ticket, and some of the gags they encounter in the process make it all-the-more fun; it's *absolutely* hilarious! Features Harry Belafonte, Flip Wilson, Rosalind Cash, and a cameo appearance by Richard Pryor. Highly recommended if you want a non-stop laugh fest."