Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970)
Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970) on March 6. NYPD detectives "Coffin" Ed Johnson (Raymond St. Jacques) and "Gravedigger" Jones (Godfrey Cambridge) tear up the city in their efforts to recover money swindled from poor families. With Redd Foxx. Directed by Ossie Davis, based on the Himes novel. Rated R. (97 min.)
Chester Himes introduced a compelling black voice into detective fiction with his Harlem Domestic series of novels, authored in France after his earlier work was met with indifference back home. After Himes was awarded the Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere, Hollywood took notice and produced films based on his work that helped establish the blaxploitation genre.
Of Himes and Harlem screens films adapted from and inspired by Chester Himes on Saturdays at 1:30 p.m. throughout March 2010 in the Stanley H. Durwood Film Vault at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. This series complements the 2010 Adult Winter Reading Program.
Other films in the series include:
Come Back Charleston Blue (1972) on March 13. Detectives Johnson and Jones look for the masterminds behind a drug war in Harlem, where rumors are circulating about the ghost of an infamous gangster that has returned to clean up the neighborhood. Based on the Himes novel The Heat's On. Rated PG. (100 min.)
Gordon's War (1973) on March 20. Ossie Davis directs this film, which is clearly indebted to Himes. A grieving Vietnam vet (Paul Winfield) rounds up his Army buddies to clear drug pushers and pimps from Harlem using military force and strategy. Rated R. (87 min.)
A Rage in Harlem (1991) on March 27. Imabelle is a Mississippi girl (Robin Givens) mixed up with the mob before fleeing to Harlem, where she hides with the unsuspecting Jackson (Forest Whitaker). When Imabelle is kidnapped, Jackson calls his streetwise brother (Gregory Hines) for help. Based on the Himes novel. Rated R. (115 min.)