Black Caesar

Black Caesar Movie Poster
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Cult director Larry Cohen (It's Alive) directed this violent blaxploitation film. Nasty racist John McKinney cripples a black shoeshine boy, who grows up to be Tommy Gibbs (Fred Williamson), the Godfather of Harlem. The crimelord now has his tormentor McKinney (Art Lund) in his pocket, based on the cop's mob ties.

Tommy's traitorous girlfriend Helen (Gloria Hendry) hands over the evidence, and McKinney moves in for the kill. But he may have underestimated the violent Tommy, who makes him shine his shoes in blackface while singing Mammy.

Rick Baker provided makeup effects, and James Brown did the music for this bloody oddity, followed the same year by Hell Up in Harlem. Cohen and Williamson got together 23 years later for an interesting (if unsuccessful) attempt at reviving the genre, Original Gangstas.

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