Once again, I'm not sure I know what's going on. Certainly, I've lost track of most of the characters' names. I wanted to look up who played the evil white guy (heroin smuggler?), but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what his character was named. I don't know which detective had which ridiculous nickname, and it may only be because I actually recognized Redd Foxx that I was able to remember that he plays a guy called Uncle Bud. Deke O'Malley gets his named chanted, so that one was easy.
As to what happens, that's complicated. Reverend Deke O'Malley is running what is probably a scam involving a ship called [i]Black Bertha[/i], which people will go from Harlem back to Africa on. None of them seem concerned about the fact that Africa is an awfully big place but that no more specific detail about their destination is given. I would suggest, if I can do so without seeming too pretentious about it, that Africa is more a symbol than a place to these people. To them, I think, "Africa" means a mythical homeland where all their wrongs will have been redressed and where they will be happy and prosperous, where they will no longer live in ghettos, were they will be in control of their own fates. It will not, for example, be the slums of Cairo; it will not be the war-torn Sudan. (It will not be pretty much anywhere in North Africa, where an awful lot of pale-skinned people live. I once had a substitute teacher in high school who was actually born in Egypt, and several of the black kids got really pissed off when he called himself African, because he looked white to them.) And wherever it is, it will be Christian; they are led, after all, by [i]Reverend[/i] Deke O'Malley.
Anyway, there's $78,000 that gets "stolen" from Rev. O'Malley's organization. It turns out that this is a further scam; he's paired up with Mysterious and Evil White Guy (gun runner?), and the two of them together will take the money and, um, something. It would help, I think, to have figured out exactly what Mysterious and Evil White Guy was--he wasn't in the Mafia, because that was someone else, I think. Anyway, the money gets hidden in a bale of cotton, for some reason--no one seems to know why--and some vague sort of hilarity ensues. Mostly we see this through the eyes of a couple of cops--"Gravedigger" Jones and "Coffin Ed" Johnson--but I'd say about a third of the movie is other people. (I really don't want to draw a Sartre parallel, but I will if I have to.)
The thing is, this was written and directed by [i]Ossie Davis[/i], for whom I previously had a great deal of respect. Now, not so much. This is a ridiculous movie, though it is pretty entertaining. I'm just not sure it's intended to be entertaining in this way. It's funny, for example. Now, I'm sure some of it is intended to be funny, and I'm sure some of it is just how badly slang-intensive dialogue from one era translates into another. But oh, man!
I'm not sure how many blaxploitation films we'll get to, here. It in part depends on the library, I suppose. Do they have [i]Shaft[/i]? Do they have [i]Superfly[/i]? I can't say. They did not seem to have either of the [i]Cleopatra Jones[/i] movies; we'd've gotten to them by now. We'll just find out as we go along.
We're almost to the letter D, for the curious, and it looks like we'll have to give [i]Coriolanus[/i] a miss, as the library's copy is in pretty bad shape. I will say that it's a Time-Life/BBC production, an odd combination, that seems to feel the need to let you know all through Act I that it [i]is[/i] Act I. In case you forget at some point.