Cotton Comes To Harlem
United Artists, directed by Ossie Davis
& Unknown Director
Raymond St. Jacques;
Irwin C. Watson;
Respected actor Ossie Davis made his directorial debut with this successful black action movie in 1970. The plot concerns Reverend Deke O'Malley, who convinces his Harlem congregation to raise almost $90,000 to fund his 'Boat To Africa'. As his rally comes to an end the money is seized by armed robbers. Harlem policemen Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson give chase but lose the robbers. Convinced that O'Malley is responsible, they try to find him despite precinct captain Bryce's objections. O'Malley disappears, sure that he has been double-crossed by his white partner Calhoun. Calhoun meanwhile is sure that O'Malley took the money. The cash, hidden in a cotton bale, ends up falling off the getaway truck and is picked up by junk collector Uncle Bud. Bud disappears and O'Malley is detained by the police, but has to be freed after his followers riot. Jones and Johnson calm the crowd by promising to return the money, despite being taken off the case. They follow up a tip-off and end up at the Apollo Theatre, where the cotton bale has become a prop in an exotic dancer's show. As the show goes on, the conflict is resolved as the local Mafia boss is persuaded to fund the lost cash in return for black power easing off Mafia activities in Harlem. Uncle Bud has, of course, taken the money back to Africa!
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