Slicker than a Harlem shakedown, Across 110th Street "hits hard" (Cue) with a jacked-up, smacked-down thrill-ride through the hell-raisin' hoods of Harlem! Cooler-than-cool Anthony Quinn leads a hot cast, including Anthony... more » Franciosa and Yaphet Kotto, in a "hair-raising" (Motion Picture Herald) cop thriller that packs a double barrel of "gory vengeance raw, ugly and unnervingly real" (Playboy)! When a crew of gun-totin' gangstas knocks over a Mafia racket in Harlem, their plan gets blown to hell and the crib gets blown to bits! But as the bullets start flyin' and cops start dyin', a pair of New York's finest (Quinn and Kotto) are forced to work together to bring justice to the streets before the Mafia brings the ghetto to its knees! Now, wanted by the Man and hunted by the Mob, there ain't no way these homicidal homeboys are getting across 110th Street exceptin a body bag!« less
An early 70's urban action gem awaiting rediscovery
B.C. Scribe | Brooklyn Center, MN USA | 11/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Since it's release in 1972 this film has fallen by the cinema wayside, being lumped into the blaxploitation genre - a purgatory from which it needs to be rescued. Labeling this film has limited its audience appeal in the thirty years that have followed, but those of us who were fascinated with it then remain so now. "Across 110th Street" is sparked by the kind of gritty and incisive urban realism that blaxploitation films are missing. It's production values are an immediate tipoff that you are watching a first-rate movie. The competent, skillful direction by Barry Shear; a superb story that hardly takes a breath; great Harlem location shooting adds authenticity that makes it feel almost quasi-documentary. It's also highlighted by a great cast of veteran A-list movie stars, B-movie regulars and a few performers getting their first chance in a meaningful role. Anthony Quinn, one of the films' executive producers, plays a brutal, insensitive police detective with a streak of racism. Anthony Franciosa plays a cruel and ruthless Italian mobster tracking down his stolen money. Richard Ward plays a raspy voiced Harlem crime kingpin that Quinn tries to pressure; Ward will be recognizable to film buffs as a prisoner in the film "Brubaker" playing the pivotal role of Abraham. Paul Benjamin, the leader of the trio of thieves, appeared in the crucial role of the con 'English' in the terrific prison drama "Escape From Alcatraz". Antonio Fargas creates another of his patented colorful, hip characters as one of the thieves. And finally, Yaphet Kotto gets his first significant film role playing the no-nonsense, by-the-book, newly assigned lieutenant who is refreshingly free of vulgarity - although he will steal a truck when he needs to!Period detail keeps this film stuck squarely in the 70's which is one of it's strengths. The pulsating music score by Bobby Womack and J.J. Johnson perfectly matches the films moments of tension and transitional scenes. Womack's catchy title song is another plus.MGM has released this as part of it's 'Soul Cinema' DVD collection in Widescreen format - that's with the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen for those who don't know - and it's a great transfer. Pair this movie with "The French Connection" for a great double feature."
Tough as nails black crime drama
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 05/10/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not a blaxploitation movie at all, this film is a smart, sharp, tough black crime drama that pulls no punches, and because of that is still remarkably fresh today after 30 years. Made in 1972, it features an early performance by Yaphet Kotto as a by the book black police lieutenant who has to work with a crude, unruly white captain--Anthony Quinn in a very strong performance.They're after some black hoods who slaughtered five men--three whites and two blacks--in a holdup that netted 300 grand. The getaway driver is played by Starsky and Hutch's Antonio Fargas and is just one of the several excellent performances that give this film real power. Another is turned in by Tony Franciosa playing a Mafia lieutenant who finds out about the hit and, with his henchmen, goes after the hoods. In one of many violent scenes, he finds Fargas' character and slices and dices him in a Harlem whorehouse.The dialogue here is much more intelligent than in many dumber films and is another reason this is a real winner. When somebody talks--cop, hood, Mafioso, junkie, girlfriend--it's natural, real, uncontrived, and completely credible. You understand who these characters are and you get involved because they're not shooting bull--they're telling it like it is.The mix of this down to the bone talk and '70s dress and behavior makes this a tremendously entertaining film. The inclusion of violence is not gratuitous at all; it's an integral part of what happens--and what has to happen, given the circumstances.Highly recommended for fans of crime drama."
Gritty Good Cop / Bad Copy Urban Drama w/ a Soulful Edge
Eddie Landsberg | Tokyo, Japan | 05/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of my favorite "Urban Action/Suspense" films... 110th Street is the invisible line after Central Park that divides "us" from "them" in this film. The whites and the mob, and the blacks and Harlem. - -Its tempting to call it Blaxploitation, but the film with its images of despair, people trying to make it and the turbulent relationship between an idealistic black cop and the old, street wise white cop on the take, both out to find out what the mob is doing in Harlem (while the mob is out to find money stolen from them by whatever means necessary) is so message based and realistic, and some of the scenes are so memorable (great acting by Yaphet Koto, Anthony Quinn and the entire cast, excellent shooting, great soundtrack by Bobby Womack and J.J. Johnson) its hard to classify it as such. There is incredible depth between the charactors, and its not merely "the man" vs. the community. Everyone is trying to make it doing whatever they have to do to survive (as Womack states in teh theme music.) Anthony Quinn's charactor, on the take from the mob for the years is forced to bite the hand that feeds him, and realizes he's growing old and part of a dying breed as he struggles to survive and reconsider his loyalties, attitudes and allegences. Meanwhile, everyone is out to find the missing money and prevent a war. The film is suspenseful, long and engaging... the ending, to be quite honest bleak and depressing, yet it will warent repeated viewing... hence I reccomend buying not renting it... afterwords, check out "Cornbread Earl and Me" and "Cotton Comes to Harlem". - - Does anyone remember the name of the film shot in that era about the Afro-American boy who falls in love with the Spanish girl, and that has an appearence by Jose Feliciano ?"
So tough, you can practically feel the grit on your tongue
Jarrett B. Graver | Baltimore, MD | 03/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This violent little gem ranks right up there with "The French Connection" in the pantheon of early 70s urban crime thrillers. Smartly edited, paced like an out of control freight train, and with fabulous location work that bellows authenticity, "Across 110th Street" deserves a far bigger cult. Stir in Anthony Quinn's inimitable basset hound charm, Yaphet Kotto's steely cool, Anthony Franciosa's reptilian sneer and the raspy voiced dude from Brubaker and you have a combustble confection that belongs in the collection of every discerning action movie fan. Oh, I almost forgot to mention Antonio Fargas' so-cool-it-hurts supernova wardrobe and the bleak poetry of the final shootout, including a freeze frame ending that will stay with you for days. Aces all around."
UNDER APPRECIATED GEM
Gregory Saffady | Michigan | 12/24/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"ACROSS 110th STREET sad to say, was lumped in the blaxpop genre and was denounced for it's violent content. Wrong on both counts: This is an under appreciated gem that is brainy, tough and quick. Veteran action pro Barry Shear was the right director for the film and his experience shows in every frame. The Bobby Womack soundtrack deserved a better fate than having the title track be remembered as an opening for JACKIE BROWN (but this had to be a favorite film of Quentin's...you can read between the lines). The best cuts are: QUICKSAND, IF YOU DON'T WANT MY LOVE and HARLEM LOVE THEME. Too bad none of them charted."