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ACROSS 110TH STREET

Director: BARRY SHEAR

U.S.A. • 1972 • COLOUR • 102 MIN


ALTHOUGH IT’S OFTEN LUMPED IN WITH SO-CALLED ‘BLAXPLOITATION’ MOVIES OF THE EARLY 1970S, DIRECTOR BARRY SHEAR’S MINOR CLASSIC IS ACTUALLY A GRITTY POLICE PROCEDURAL WITH A STRONG ELEMENT OF SOCIAL COMMENTARY.
It features an early performance by Yaphet Kotto as a straight police lieutenant who has to work with a corrupt and casually racist white captain (Anthony Quinn). They’re after some hoods who slaughtered five men in a hold-up. Also in pursuit of the thieves is Anthony Franciosa, playing a frightening mobster whose hunger for power drives him to psychotic brutality. Across 110th Street is notable for allowing drama to take precedence over action. Scenes of Kotto and Quinn grappling over issues of racism and corruption in the police force are just as important to the film as the central story of the mafia and cops chasing a bunch of criminals. Which isn’t to say that the film skimps on action. On the contrary, it is full of tough, tightly edited action scenes like the opening heist and an explosive rooftop shootout. Equally important to the film’s success is its memorable theme song performed by Bobby Womack.

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