"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."
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."
She Isn't Some Lame Wonder Woman
Mr. Richard D. Coreno | Berea, Ohio USA | 02/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As bad as a man as Shaft is, he wouldn't play with Cleopatra Jones if he thought for one minute she was on her last nerve, and it was shredding fast.
Tamara Dobson portrays a special agent who is busting up a drug pipeline from Turkey to the United States that is operated by Mommy (Shelley Winters). I hope I don't ruin the ending for you, but keep in mind the movie isn't titled, Mommy.
I always found the film a parody of James Bond and the other tough white heroes back in the day who would gently set the lady aside before punching out the villains, with the hero capturing her heart in the end. Cleopatra Jones disarms the bad guys with her charm, but is also cooking up some knuckle sandwiches to take them out with when the time is right.
Dobson does a great job in a role that may have been nearly impossible to pull off well. Such over-the-top characters have to be difficult to portray - there is a fine line between acting well or making the character the buffoonish Rambo - but Dobson does a great job.
The DVD cover is a pretty poor updated version to the original artwork. The movie is from 1973, not 2003 and the artwork should make that point.
If you are looking for a movie that packs a punch, run quickly away from the usual suspects and get Cleopatra Jones."