Sunday, 15 July 2007

Cleopatra Jones (1973)

The blaxploitation genre is something I somehow managed to miss, so 1973’s Cleopatra Jones is really the first movie of this type that I‘ve seen. Cleopatra Jones is a government agent who becomes embroiled in a gang war involving a sinister criminal mastermind, Mommy (an amazingly camp but highly entertaining performance by Shelley Winters). Cleopatra Jones is clearly aimed at a multi-racial audience, so we have some sympathetic white cops and the kind of institutionalised racism that must have been commonplace in police forces at the time is severely down-played. If you’re looking for a movie that genuinely challenges racial stereotypes this isn’t it. Tamara Dobson is fun in the title role, and the whole thing is harmless and amusing fun.

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