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The Spook Who Sat by the Door

The Spook Who Sat by the Door – 1973
The controversial best selling novel now becomes a shocking screen reality.
Ivan Dixon

Melvin Clay
Sam Greenlee also novel

Ivan Dixon producer
Sam Greenlee producer
Thomas G. Neusom associate producer

Lawrence Cook – Dan Freeman
Jack Aaron – Carstairs
Elaine Aiken – Mrs. Hennington
Tom Alderman – Security Officer
Kathy Berk – Doris
Don Blakely – Stud Davis
Colostine Boatwright – Dancer
Paul Butler – Do-Daddy Dean
John Charles – Stew
Sidney Eden – Instructor II
Stephen Ferry II – Boy Guardsman
Stephen Ferry – Colonel
Frank E. Ford – Cobra
Robert Franklia – Trainee
Beverly Gill – Willa
Martin Golar – Perkins
Don Greenlee – Trainee
Jeff Hamilton – Policeman
Harold Harris – Trainee
Jim Heard – Trainee
Bob Hill – Calhoun
Doug Johnson – CIA candidate
Harold Johnson – Jackson
Johnnie Johnson III – Cobra
Virgie Johnson – Cobra
Paula Kelly – Dahomey Queen
Margaret Kromgols – Old Woman
Larry Lawrence – Cobra
Janet League – Joy
David Lemieux – Pretty Willie
Frank Lesley – TV Commentator
Ramon Livingston – Cobra
Tyrone R. Livingston – Cobra (as Tyrone Livingston)
Walter Lowe
Clinton Malcome
Joseph Mascolo – Senator Hennington
Rodney McGrader – Cobra
James Mitchell
Byron Morrow – General
Lenard Norris – Trainee
Ponciano Olayta Jr. – Soo
Kenneth Lee Orme – Trainee
J.A. Preston – Dawson
Anthony Ray – Shorty
Ernest Robinson – Stunt Gaffer (as Ernie Robinson)
Audrey Stevenson – Mrs. Duncan
Orlanders Thomas – Cobra
Perry Thomas – Cobra
Maurice Wicks –
Bobbie Gene Williams – Woman II
Cora Williams – Woman I
Johnny Williams – Waiter
Mark Williams – Trainee

Review by Sven Soetemans

An essential slice of revolutionary black cinema,

Very intelligent and sublimely scripted film that stars Larry Cook in a truly powerful role. Cook plays Dan Freeman, the first CIA-recruit since the start of the agency. After an intense training and a mind-strong career of 5 years, Freeman returns to the ghetto where he grew up and mobilizes the future-less black youth to stand up for themselves and begin a violent revolution against the white authorities. The message and criticism in the screenplay is so well-elaborated because Sam Greenlee adapted it from his own novel. True, the film contains a little too much talking and some of the sentimental speeches are hard to swallow (like Freeman’s supposedly heart-breaking tale of how he taught his grandmother to read), but most of the criticism against America are quite thought-provoking, daring and way ahead of their time.

Around the hour, more action kicks in and we’re treated to several convincing riot-sequences and atmospheric images of the ghetto under siege. But, perhaps the most fascinating aspect about “The Spook who sat by the Door” is the psychological battle inside the protagonist’s head, resulting in a dazzling end-scene. Knowing the controversy a film like “New Jack City” caused, I’m sure that this movie would provoke far worse situations when re-released properly.

It is claimed that this movie was “lost” for over 30 years so it got honored by an immense cult-status. I can only recommend for you to see it yourself.

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70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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