Saturday, January 24, 2009

Black Caesar/Hell Up In Harlem

"You know, if there was one movie that I wish I did, it would have to be Black Caesar...

Steven Spielberg

Black Caesar: Good news I got the chance to two Fred Williamson classics, Black Caesar and Hell Up In Harlem. The first one had Williamson as young Tommy Gibbs. Gibbs got his start shining shoes and of course that dovetailed into him being a mobster. It was Tommy's dream to be a hit-man/mob boss like the rest of cool guys. Keep reaching for the stars!

While the peripheral characters do show Tommy to be more than a human landmine, his nemesis, cop McKinney is where the story becomes even more engrossing. Evil McKinney beat up a young Tommy Gibbs with a billy club back in olden days. Years later Gibbs helped his arch-enemy McKinney meet his maker via a shoeshine kit. Classic stuff.

A Big Big Question: What was a shoeshine kit doing in someone's office, really.


Hell Up In Harlem- You would have thought Tommy Gibbs was Gonzo Gates after Black Caesar's last reel which featured him bullet-ridden and being beaten by a bunch of childrens. Think again. The former was so popular they did it all, again! Gibbs had to tie up some loose ends in this entry. For this movie Tommy had assembled an even more deadly troop of buds. Guess who else joined? Dad, played by Julius Harris The father/son angle was heart-warming and never more so when the formerly squeamish "Pops" was letting off rounds and killing people like crazy. The big deal here is that Fred Williamson has another enemy here, Di Angelo played by Gerald Gordon. Gordon was also Dr. Nick Bellini on NBC's The Doctors. Also in the mix was turncoat Zack who Tommy had to shoot in his face. Life's tough...

Funny Ending Ever: The last scenes of this classic gave Williamson another occasion to look crazy about the eyes and send his arch-nemesis to Deadtown. This time it was Nick Di Angelo underscored by Fred's corny acting. They are just chatting here. While this isn't politically correct (like Black Caesar and everything else Fred did) this is scene that makes me cry with laughter after repeated viewing.

A clip from my blog's 3rd Anniversary Party...
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