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A mad journey into the mind of the depraved!

A mad journey into the mind of the depraved!
Recommended for devolved primates only!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

SUPER FLY (1972)

"Eight-track stereo, color T.V. in every room and can snort a half a piece of dope everyday. That's the American dream nigger. Well ain't it?"

This one's right up there alongside THE MACK at the top of the blaxploitation heap as one of my favs from that genre. Blows away the much better known SHAFT by a long shot and besides the line about the 8-track stereo seen above SUPER FLY never gets as goofy as a lot of the other 70's urban classics. There's also an actual message in there about bettering yourself and not getting caught up in the man's system. Even if you are a gangster and a pusher and see yourself outside the law and mainstream society you're still perpetuating a cycle that ultimately destroys everything. Another unique aspect of this film is our main man Priest, played brilliantly by Ron O'Neal, isn't a pimp but a pusherman and the head of a network and although he will throw your girlfriend out on whore's row if you come up short with his drug money, as another character points out, Priest really doesn't have the heart to be a cold-blooded pimp. O'Neal plays Priest as a very sympathetic character and that's why the movie works so well. Priest or Youngblood as he's sometimes referred to knows that he will end up dead or in jail and is smart enough to devise an alternate plan for himself. Unfortunately for O'Neal his acting was so good that many people really thought he was a criminal and he wasn't offered many leading roles after this which is a shame. The city on view here is a gritty and bleak one and you get a view of 70's New York streets that's as far removed from today as possible. The whole city just looks slummy and dangerous and many parts of it were just like that. This one also gets added points for being a movie about the black experience actually directed by a black man which wasn't as common as you would think back in the 70's. You also get an amazing soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield who also plays in a nightclub scene. Definitely something that to me always seemed deeper than the typical black exploitation movie from this era. There were a couple of inferior sequels, SUPER FLY T.N.T. in '73 with O'Neal which I don't recall anything special about and THE RETURN OF SUPER FLY in '90 with some guy with a horrible 90's buzzcut playing SUPER FLY which I've never seen and from everything I've heard about it don't really want to. Stick with the original.

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