Hell Up in Harlem (1973)

Rated R

Following up Black Caesar, Hell Up in Harlem continues tracking the ascension, and possible downfall, of Black crime boss, Tommy Gibbs (Fred Williamson).

The story opens with Gibbs, who has been critically wounded on the streets of Manhattan. He seeks aid from his men, who are ably led by his right-hand man, Zach (Tony King).  One of the most memorable scenes in Black cinema occurs with the Gibbs organization’s hostile takeover of Harlem Hospital. Zach’s crew forced the physicians to perform emergency surgery or be killed; it is a tense opening.  This tension continues throughout the film, taking the viewer across country, from the streets of Harlem to the suburbs of Los Angeles …

With his father (Julius Harris), lead henchman, Zach, and a new love, Sister Jennifer (Margaret Avery) by his side, Tommy Gibbs has everything he needs to exact revenge on the crooked DiAngelo and the Italian mobsters who attempted to murder him.  He is determined to resume his position on top … but can he?  And at what costs?

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