Uptight – Jules Dassin (1968)

Uptight (also known as Up Tight!) is a 1968 American drama film directed by Jules Dassin. It was intended as an updated version of John Ford‘s 1935 film The Informer, based on the book of the same name by Liam O’Flaherty, but the setting was transposed from Dublin, Ireland to Cleveland, Ohio, United States. The soundtrack was performed by Booker T. & the MG’s. The film opens with documentary footage of the funeral procession of Martin Luther King, Jr., which is used as a backdrop for the film’s fictional narrative. The film was released on DVD by Olive Films on October 16, 2012. In Cleveland, Ohio, at the time of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., protesters riot in the streets. Johnny Wells (Max Julien), a charismatic black revolutionary, leads a group of black men on a mission to steal guns from a warehouse as preparation for violent racial conflict. Johnny’s best friend Tank (Julian Mayfield), who formerly worked at the steel mill with several of the men, is supposed to help with the robbery, but when the group goes to his house, they find him drunk and watching the television coverage of King’s funeral. Tank is a middle-aged, unemployed alcoholic who supported King’s non-violent approach, which the others have rejected in favor of violent revolution. It is later revealed that Tank lost his longtime job at the steel mill when he attacked a white co-worker who harassed the black mill workers. As a result, Tank was sent to prison and since being released, has been unable to find work. The black revolutionary group is going through a deeper radicalization, and they see Tank’s inconsistent behavior as threatening to their cause. Johnny tries to sober Tank up and talk him into coming along on the robbery, but Tank, drunk and upset, finally refuses to go. … The next day, Tank, feeling remorseful, goes to visit B.G. (Raymond St. Jacques), the leader of the revolutionary group, and his girlfriend Jeannie (Janet MacLachlan), who is Johnny’s sister. B.G. and Jeannie are angry that Tank failed to help with the robbery, and Jeannie blames him for Johnny ending up a fugitive. Tank begs B.G. to find him work as a bodyguard, pointing out that he is broke. But B.G. tells him the committee has decided to expel him from the group due to his drinking and unreliability, noting that they don’t have time to run a rehab. …”
Dennis Grunes
YouTube: Uptight

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Black Power, MLKJr., Movie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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