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Bill Cosby - Agatha Christie - Steve Buscemi - Angela Lansbury - Melvin Van-Peebles - Mia Farrow - Maggie Smith - Bette Davis - Sidney Poitier - Richard Pryor - The Criterion Channel: February Highlights - metroweekly.com - city Uptown - Jamaica - Kansas City
The Criterion Channel: February Highlights
Bright Road (1953), Robert Wise’s Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), and 1974’s comedy Uptown Saturday Night, which the actor and singer directed. That film, in particular, is notable for its cast, which includes Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Flip Wilson, Richard Pryor, Calvin Lockhart, Roscoe Lee Browne, and Bill Cosby.Also on the bill, Robert Altman’s 1996 jazz-noir Kansas City, in which Belafonte plays a gangster named “Seldom Seen.” The film also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Miranda Richardson, and Steve Buscemi.The channel is also highlighting the innovative independent works of Melvin Van Peebles, a one-man creative force who often starred in, wrote, directed, and composed his films.Of the four entries, the most notable are Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971), in which a Black man outruns white police authorities (the score, by Van Peebles, was performed by Earth, Wind & Fire) and Watermelon Man (1970), a renowned social comedy starring Godfrey Cambridge and Estelle Parsons, in which a white bigot wakes up to find his skin has turned Black.Also on tap: The Harder They Come (1972), featuring reggae artist Jimmy Cliff as a singer who faces down corruption in Jamaica’s music industry.