Uptown Saturday Night (1974)

Rated PG

One of the most hilarious films ever produced, Uptown Saturday Night is the story of two best friends, Steve Jackson (Sidney Poitier), a “square”, or tame, steel worker and Wardell Franklin (Bill Cosby), a “hip”, streetwise cab driver.  Both are happily married and hardworking providers for their families.  When Steve comments how he is doing nothing on his time off from his job, Wardell chides him for being too domesticated.  Wardell quickly goads Steve to sneak out after their wives are sleep and visit “Madame Zenobia’s”, an exclusive club housed in a mansion he overheard one of his fares excitedly discussing with another passenger.  However, entry into the mansion is contingent upon membership, for which Wardell produces a false letter of introduction.  The letter is written on paper stolen from the employer of his wife, Irma (Ketty Lester). 

The best friends feel positively jubilant experiencing the hospitality of Madame Zenobia (Lee Chamberlin) and the wealth of “the good life”, including dancing, visiting secret rooms that could hold “happiness” behind their closed doors, drinking fine liquors and gambling … Yet great times are not meant to last and Madame Zenobia’s is held up by a group of disguised robbers … [who leave] taking all items of value …

The next day, Steve and Wardell meet and discuss the responses of their wives to the events of the previous night.  That evening, Steve speaks with his wife, Sarah (Rosalind Cash) and, while reading the newspaper, discovers that the lottery number that he has been playing for some time has fallen and the prize is $50,000.  In the midst of celebrating this unexpected windfall, Steve realizes that the ticket was in his wallet … that was stolen at Madame Zenobia’s! 

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