THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR
Director: Ivan Dixon Run Time: 102 min. Release Year: 1973
Starring: J.A. Preston, Janet League, Lawrence Cook, Paul Butler, Paula Kelly
A black man plays Uncle Tom in order to gain access to CIA training, then uses that knowledge to plot a new American Revolution.
“As irresistible (and endlessly exploitable) as Dixon and Greelee’s genre hook is, what makes this so powerful is its dedication to the politics behind its revolution, weaving scene after scene of discourse on the sorts of issues that all activist groups face — assimilation vs separatism, respectability vs direct action, ‘what happens when we’re our own enemy?’ — between the expected wish fulfillment action. Ironically, the most thrilling of those action scenes is the one that feels the most verité — a Chicago riot that drops Herbie Hancock’s (great) paranoia-funk score in favor of the sounds of the people. Not too many films that still feel dangerous 45+ years on.” – Liz, Letterboxd