One of the Best Films of the Day, That Set the 70s STYLE
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 05/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Cotton Comes to Harlem" is a solid, funny, and most of all, cool movie which was, besides "Shaft" and "Coffy," to set the trend of the black movies of the 70s. Look how Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques walk and talk, and you'll know the meaning of "style."Based on Chester Himes's novel, the film follows the two super-cool cops who suspect that Rev. O'Malley's "Back to Africa" campaign (minimun entry 100 dallors needed) is a fraud to steal money from people living in Harlem. But things get complicated when, during the rally, the organization is attacked by masked gangsters who took the money of $87,000, and that was done under the nose of the very cops. Determined to nail the criminal, and possibly the preacher himself, the detective Gravediffer & Coffin start their investigation, and do it in their own fashion.The film keeps the fast pace with a tightly knit web of characters including Reverend's beautiful wife Iris. But most charming part of the film remains the same today: its being funny and smart. In fact, you will see among violent actions suddenly unexpected humor. The best thing of the film is, in my book, the car chase scene that include "the cemetary chase" and "a flying guy." The film also ends with a showdown in the Apollo Theater (though I don't know whether the inside scene of it was really shot there) And the real Harlem locale of the 70s, which helps to create the authentic atomospher, would be someday a precious record of the New York City.In short, this is a film Quentin Tarantino with his known flair for characters and story might have shot 30 years ago. Some part of the film look, I admit, dated today when you see women's parts are little better than secondary, just catering obligatory sex scenes. Still, those scenes have been given slight touch of humor, that might almost compensate for the lack of the screen goddess like Pam Grier. Buy this one, along with "Coffy" and "Shaft" and perhaps "Across the 110th Street." That makes a quick course of learning what the blaxploitation films are all about.Those two main charaters are to reappear in "Come Back Charlston Blues," which is, unfortunately, not as good as this one."
Two Words: Judy Pace!
John J. Knapik | Orlando, FL | 06/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Seeing Judy Pace in this movie is worth the price of admission alone! The movie itself has an interesting storyline and it does bounce around a little but is definately entertaining. This movie isn't as cliche as many of the other films in this genre. There are some good chase scenes and it was interesting to see Redd Foxx pre 'Sanford and Son'. I would consider this one of the most important movies of the blaxploitation genre."
More Interesting than Good
Andre M. | Mt. Pleasant, SC United States | 06/14/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This film might have been very funny when it first came out in 1970, but for recent audiences it's more interesting than good. Not much in the way of laugh-getting qualities. It is interesting to see the soon-to-be's that would later star in Black movies and TV shows of the 70s and having lived in Harlem for a while as a child in the early 70s, the locations bring back memories. But what i found fascinating (aside from watching that FINE Judy Pace) was Calvin Lockheart's portrayal of Deke O'Mally, which today looks like an ugly and eerily accurate prediction of Louis Farrakhan and other such leaders that were to come in the future."
The Movie is Fine, the Description is Not Complete
Paul S. Person | 01/02/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This refers to the double feature version containing both "Cotton Comes to Harlem" and "Hell Up in Harlem".
I purchased the older DVD with just "Cotton Comes to Harlem" some years ago but was looking for a replacement with the correct aspect ratio, which is 1.85:1 per IMDb. From the description of this product, both here and elsewhere, it appeared to me that both films were available in both 1.33:1 and 1.85:1, a not uncommon occurrence.
Unfortunately, this is not correct: the package labling clearly states that "Cotton Comes to Harlem" is 1.33:1 and "Hell Up in Harlem" is 1.85:1.
The film itself is great. I enjoyed when I read the book, when I saw the film at the time it came out, and I enjoy it every time I see it even in P&S.
I just wish the product description had been more precise."