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ANTHONY QUINN & YAPHET KOTTO IN ACROSS 110TH STREET

year released: 1972
With misled criminals, vicious thugs and a fatal lesson about short cuts, ACROSS 11OTH STREET is more Noir than Blaxploitation, focusing on two polar opposite cops while, behind the scenes, Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Kotto, according to the latter – just beginning his climb as a strong cinematic presence – had a unique chemistry. 

Quinn and Kotto go Across 100th Street
“I can't stop laughing about Mr. Quinn," Kotto wrote in a Cult Film Freak interview on this site. "He wouldn’t let me have anything: When I told him about how rough I had it as a kid in Harlem, he told me how he was hanged by the neck in Russia and left for dead.” Ironic that their characters aren’t much different in a fictional setting. Kotto’s subdued yet effective Lt. Pope is a political move by the force, brought in to deal with the local "blacks". Although Quinn’s blunt and assertive veteran Captain Mattelli knows his way around, and has his own rough fashion of getting information, which isn't always useful and, caught within the pivotal tempest are buried leads Paul Benjamin, Ed Bernard and Antonio Fargas as Harris, Logart and Jackson, three lowlifes who initially knock off a collective of black and white (including Burt Young) goons in a Harlem “bank” apartment. The rest of the film has three prime factions after the trio, and they’d be better off arrested since Nick D’Salvio, played by scene-stealer Anthony Franciosa, is a mafioso's vicious son-in-law fervently packing a wallop of heated vengeance...
Signed by G. Hendry, A. Fargas & Y. Kotto
First violently taking out Jackson, the wild card getaway driver, who, along with Gloria Hendry’s hang-around girl,  energetically spends loose cash on drinks, drugs and whores in a crowded bar like only an energetic Antonio Fargas can. A really bad choice – leading to the manhunt where Quinn and Kotto either sweep up the mess or gather new clues along the way, eventually connecting yet never losing their individual edge and overall racial indifference.
Great Poster Featuring Paul Benjiman
With a soulful soundtrack by Bobby Womack and taut direction by Barry Shear, putting you right onto the gritty streets, inside darkened apartments, backroom offices and a noisy police station, 110TH takes you down, out and beyond any of its kind, providing an ensemble cast, also including gravel-voiced Richard Ward as a tempered urban kingpin, balanced equally throughout, no one mincing words along the way: everything means everything, baby. 

RATING: ****1/2
STREET TRIVIA: According to fellow Rolling Stones fanatic Antonio Fargas, Richard Ward was the original choice to play the police chief on STARSKY & HUTCH since ACROSS director Shear helmed the HUTCH pilot, giving Fargas his catapult as Huggy Bear, but Bernie Hamilton took the gig. Also, already known to mostly everyone having to do with cult films, Blaxploitation Resurrection guru Quentin Tarntino ended his classic JACKIE BROWN with Pam Grier, who wasn't int this movie, singing along with the tune... a much, slicker, better versions of it than what's on this film's opening credits... on her car radio as the end credits role. 
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