6.6/10
444
10 user 16 critic

The Cool World (1963)

A look at the horrors of Harlem ghetto slum life filled with drugs, violence, human misery, and a sense of despair due to the racial prejudices of American society.

Director:

Shirley Clarke
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rony Clanton Rony Clanton ... Duke (as Hampton Clanton)
Carl Lee Carl Lee ... Priest
Yolanda Rodríguez Yolanda Rodríguez ... Luanne
Clarence Williams III ... Blood (as Clarence Williams)
Gary Bolling Gary Bolling ... Littleman
Bostic Felton Bostic Felton ... Rod
Gloria Foster ... Mrs. Custis
John Marriott ... Hurst
Georgia Burke Georgia Burke ... Grandma
Marilyn Cox Marilyn Cox ... Miss Dewpoint
Jerome Raphael Jerome Raphael ... Mr. Shapiro
Mel Stewart ... Con-man
Joe Dennis Joe Dennis ... Douglas Thurston (as Joseph Dennis)
Ronald Perry Ronald Perry ... Savage
Bruce Edwards Bruce Edwards ... Warrior
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Storyline

Filmmaker Shirley Clarke ("The Connection") directs this powerful, stark semi-documentary look at the horrors of Harlem ghetto slum life filled with drugs, violence, human misery, and a sense of despair due to the racial prejudices of American society. There is no patronizing of the black race in this cinematic cry for justice. A fifteen-year-old boy called Duke is ambitious to buy a "piece" (a gun) from an adult racketeer named Priest, to become president of the gang to which he belongs, and to return them to active "bopping" (gang fighting) which has declined in Harlem. It is a clearly patent allegory of an attempt by Duke to attain manhood and identity in the only way accessible to him - the antisocial one. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HOOKER! FUZZ! JUNK! RUMBLE! These are words that mean big trouble in the cool world. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Zipporah Films

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 November 1964 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cool World See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First-ever film credit for legendary documentary director Frederick Wiseman, who served as producer of this non-documentary feature. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Cool Word is a Ground Breaking Film
24 December 2007 | by limneticSee all my reviews

The Cool World is the first film about Harlem that was actually shot in Harlem. Hanging the camera from the ceiling provides a very personal experience for the viewer. The viewer is there as a participant, not as a spectator.

The Cool World is a very much not a Hollywood looking film with fast moving, up close, scenes. Dark yellow hued interior scenes capture the true feeling of the dwellings of the gang members. Shirley Clarke has taken us into The Cool World.

Little known trivia, is that Wally Cox's wife acted in this film. Another little known piece of trivia is that, since she lived in the Chelsea Hotel during the time that Sid Vicious also lived there, Shirley Clarke was a consultant on the film Sid and Nancy.


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