Superfly (1972)

Dir. Gordon Parks Jr.
Starring: Ron O’Neal

I don’t think many of you would enjoy this, except for Mitchell maybe. I didn’t enjoy this although I gave the film a four because some qualities gave the film value, imo.

By now, I think most of you are aware of the story of young Black Americans trying to escape poverty and crime, but maybe Superfly was the first. The film tells the story of a drug-dealer Priest (Ron O’Neal) and his partner Eddie (Carl Lee) who wants to make one big score to get out of the drug business. There’s a problem though as the special drug-enforcement unit is out to get him.

Besides making an entertaining film, I get the sense that Parks really wanted to depict the plight and frustration of urban Black males, particularly those living in poverty. There are scenes with Priest and his girlfriend that show the anguish and hope for something better. Parks also used photographed montage to show the effects of drugs and the people as well as the people that are affected. At the same time, Parks also wants to create a hero for the Black male. Priest, the “superfly, is good looking, smart (he outwits the police and his partner) and he’s tough (he knows martial arts). O’Neal has a voice like Carl Weathers aka Apollo Creed and it adds that tough guy aura. The film would be noteworthy if it were the first film to depict these things and create a character like this.

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