he camera looks down from above as two junkies meet up in a mean & gritty neighborhood in Harlem. They stroll through the bleak, grimy decaying streets, bumming change and stealing from the shoeshine man!
Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Little Child Runnin’ Wild’ track accompanies the scene before cutting to the lavish apartment of some scantily clad Uptown white woman, where Youngblood Priest(O’Neal), a cocaine dealer has been doing his business beneath the sheets. Priest is chillin’, he takes a toot of coke and starts the day, throwing on some hip threads, he heads out from his woman's apartment, as he needs to go make a "pick-up" down in Harlem.
On the way into make the pick-up the two junkies are waiting in the stairwell… they jump him and one of them runs off with his cash. Priest gives chase through the nightmare landscape of poverty-ridden streets and backyards of Harlem.
The chase ends at a battered apartment building where the junkie ascends the fire escape and jumps into an open window. Priest follows right behind and captures
the junkie in what turns out to be the guy’s home. His wife and kids look on as Priest dishes out a beating to the man who stole his dollars; the junkie has no fight and just takes his digs and vomits on the floor.
Youngblood Priest is a bad- ass muthafu*ker, after dishing out a hiding in the ghetto, he warns a long-time associate Freddie (McGregor) who is late with payment, that if he does not have his dollars for him tonight then he is gonna have to put his young
wife out on whore’s row to earn the money back.
Priest then goes to pick up his partner Eddie(Lee) from a craps game… Eddie is on a winning streak and one of the guys don’t take to kindly to Priest withdrawing him from the game as he wants to win his cash back. He gravely insults Priest as he’s walking away… he says he’s "white looking…", this of course
provokes the Ghetto Prince into dishing out a hefty slap.
Back at his apartment, Youngblood tells Eddie he’s getting out of the cocaine business. Eddie tells his partner… "What do you wanna give it up for? 8-track
stereo, color TV in every room and can snort half a piece of dope every day… that’s the American Dream nig*er…well ain’t it? Their partnership has $300,000 stashed and Priest wants to invest it all in 30 kilos of coke, hitting it on the streets and turning it into 1 million cash, then retiring on the proceeds.
The key to Priest’s plan is his mentor Scatter(Harris), so they go and see him at his club. Curtis Mayfield is performing ‘Pusherman’ live as Youngblood & Eddie bowl into the club. Scatter has the contacts to attain large amounts of cocaine; he is
initially reluctant to come out of retirement but ends up doing it for old times sake.
Shortly after some corrupt cops who represent ‘The Man’, say they need fresh blood to take the weight on cocaine distribution, because of Scatter’s retirement and Priest & Eddie have been chosen. This means police protection and constant source of dope from the bent cops.
Youngblood’s sees the offer as further obligating him to a scene he wants to get out of. His partner Eddie likes the idea. So from here on in Priest is on his own and but he has a plan to make it happen and stick it to The Man.
Don't forget that Superfly is now available to order on Widescreen DVD using our special 70s search device... [See DVD section or click here for more details]
By: Stuart Fitzgerald
Super Fly is a definitive product of the early 1970's. It superbly captures the fashion, mood and culture of the 'hood in New York. It's also about the pursuit of freedom, liberty, self-determination and independence. These were the themes which dominated the early part of the decade following the Civil Rights progression of the 1960's.
The cast is superb. Ron O'Neal's performance is simply inspirational. This film would create him into an icon for young African-Americans. Carl Lee is the opposite side of the coin of black progression and liberty. His character can't see a way of escaping from 'The Man' so he willing submits to the clutches of police manipulation in order for an easy and lucrative existence selling drugs. Julius W. Harris, Shelia Frazier and Charles McGregor provide great support to make this a 70s soul classic.
Director Gordon Parks Jr. tragically died in plane crash in Kenya in 1979.
Sig Shore the producer of the film has a cameo as Deputy Commissioner Reardon at the end of the movie.
The financial backing for the movie came from two African-American dentists who were friends of Sig Shore and the father of the director, Gordon Parks Snr.
Charles McGregor who play Freddie had recently been released from jail. Hence he gave elements of the script real criminal authenticity.
Carl Lee who plays Eddie in the movie is a close friend of jazz legend Miles Davis.
Eddie’s spiel about having an “8 track stereo…” etc was famously sampled by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg on Snoop’s hugely successful album ‘Doggystyle’ (1993).
Carl Lee is the son of famous actor Canada Lee who played in Life Boat and Cry the Beloved Country. Unfortunately, he was blacklisted during the McCarthy era when he refused to help blacklist Paul Robeston. He died of a heart attack in 1952 at age 45.
In movie theatres, before the opening credits, moviegoers heard Curtis Mayfield sing "Freddie's Dead".
Allegedly, Carl Lee died of a heroin overdose in 1986.
Ron O'Neal died of cancer in January 2004. [Thanks to Gloria Creech]
If you listen to the lyrics of the songs Curtis Mayfield wrote, they have a decidedly negative slant. Apparently, Curtis thought it would be a bad idea to glorify a criminal lifestyle. [Thanks to MN]
know some Superfly trivia that we could add? [Please
send it in]
Mister "Bs" on 135th street (lenox ave.)across the street from Smalls Paradise.
[Thanks to dennis]
Can you help? Do you know any of the New York City, New York filming locations used for Superfly? [Please send them in]
|Trailer, Commentary, Featurette|
The film magnificently merges music and image to an effect rarely if ever matched! Mayfield's soundtrack acts like a Greek Chorus, informing the viewer of the motives and mood of the characters. Due to the slim script, which was allegedly only 45 pages long, its importance and relevance cannot be over-looked... I seriously think that the Super Fly soundtrack is one of the greatest ever.
The 'Pusherman' montage portraying all the people involved in the cocaine business from users, sellers, distributors is probably one of the first great music videos.
Best of all... Curtis Mayfield performs with his band early in the film... what more could you ask for?
Track listing -Disc 1:
1. Little Child Runnin' Wild
3. Freddie's Dead
4. Junkie Chase (Instrumental)
5. Give Me Your Love (Love Song)
6. Eddie You Should Know Better
7. No Thing On Me (Cocaine Song)
8. Think (Instrumental)
10. Freddie's Dead (Theme From 'Superfly') (Single Mix)
11. Superfly (Single Mix)
1. Ghetto Child (Demo Of 'Little Child Runnin' Wild')
2. Pusherman (Alternate Mix)
3. Freddie's Dead (Instrumental Version)
4. Junkie Chase (Instrumental) (Full-Length Version)
5. No Thing On Me (Cocaine Song) (Instrumental Version)
6. Militant March
7. Eddie You Should Know Better (Instrumental Version)
8. Radio Spot #1
9. The Underground (Demo)
10. Check Out Your Mind (Instrumental Version)
11. Radio Spot #2
12. Curtis Mayfield (On Superfly Film & Songwriting)
Soundtrack Available: On CD
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