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Black Caesar

By Sean Axmaker

Shot on the streets of New York, writer-director Larry Cohen captures the bustle and color of the city in this violent, low-budget crime film. Ambitious Tommy Gibbs (a swaggering, self-confident Fred Williamson) has risen from shoeshine boy to Harlem crime lord, but he wants a bigger piece of the pot. With a racist, high-ranking cop (Art Lund) in his pocket, he begins his expansion with a bloody takeover bid but finds himself betrayed from within and the target of both the cops and the mob. Cohen invests this fast-paced tale (partially inspired by the 1930 gangster classic Little Caesar with a touch of Scarface) with colorful characters (notably a hustling religious leader played by D'Urville Martin), high energy, and a scruffy style. Black Caesar is one of the most entertaining movies to come from the Super70s explosion of low-budget black cast genre pictures, more commonly known as "blaxploitation" films.

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Director: Larry Cohen

Stars: Fred Williamson, Gloria Hendry, Art Lund

Released: February 7, 1973

Availability: DVD VHS CD

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