Weird Wednesday

BLACK CAESAR

Director Larry Cohen
Year 1973
Starring Fred Williamson, D'Urville Martin, Gloria Hendry
Run Time 87min
More Info IMDb

When writer/director Larry Cohen and star Fred Williamson set out to make a blaxploitation gangster movie they could scarcely have known how successful the fusion of genres would be. The fused figure of mobster and black avenger has become a cultural touchstone and echoes of BLACK CAESAR still resonate loudly today, especially in the indulgent crime fantasies of gangster rap. But even today, Fred Williamson's character Tommy Gibbs stands tall as the coolest mob boss of them all. BLACK CAESAR is a classical tragedy played out on the streets of Harlem, with Williamson bringing the swagger of James Cagney to the story of a kid with a chip on his shoulder who rises to the top of the heap to take the reins of his neighborhood crime syndicate, only to reach just a little bit too far. Williamson exudes pride and swagger - he has the magnetism of a great screen star - and he's a good enough actor to bring off the sufferings of a man who could rule the world but can't convince his mother to take his ill-gotten money. With a ridiculously brilliant score by James Brown, including the theme song "Down & Out In New York City". If you miss this, you're dumber than you look. (Lars)

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