Cooley High

Overview

Michael Schultz directed this deeply felt recollection of adolescent life on Chicago's near North Side in 1964. Like American Graffiti, Cooley High deals with girl, school, and police troubles as a group of high-school seniors prepare for post-high-school life. The chums are Glynn Turman as "Preach", who loves to read poetry and history and wants to become a Hollywood screenwriter, but who has the worst grades in the school; and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs as Cochise, the high-school basketball star and suave ...
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Overview

Michael Schultz directed this deeply felt recollection of adolescent life on Chicago's near North Side in 1964. Like American Graffiti, Cooley High deals with girl, school, and police troubles as a group of high-school seniors prepare for post-high-school life. The chums are Glynn Turman as "Preach", who loves to read poetry and history and wants to become a Hollywood screenwriter, but who has the worst grades in the school; and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs as Cochise, the high-school basketball star and suave lady-killer. Preach has to contend with love problems in the form of Brenda Cynthia Davis, school problems with emphatic teacher Mr. Mason Garrett Morris, and law problems with street toughs Stone Shermann Smith and Robert Norman Gibson.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Despite being poorly acted, poorly scripted, and just plain scattershot, Cooley High developed a fond following as one of the earliest "guys hanging out and getting in trouble" films for the urban community. Michael Schultz' film is also remembered for its signature song, Freddie Perren's "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," which the group Boyz II Men re-popularized in the 1990s on their album Cooleyhighharmony, indicating the enduring popularity of this film. The adventures of Preach Glynn Turman and Cochise Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs feel authentic -- good, rambunctious fun on the streets of lower-middle-class 1960s Chicago. These bits earn the film the good will that defies its faults. However, even though scripter Eric Monte wisely resists casting the characters strictly as saints or sinners, their frequently ignoble behavior ends up making them unsympathetic. Cochise is a handsome and generally affable jock, but he's such a seducer that he finds women utterly disposable, to the point that it's hard to root for him. And the bespectacled Preach fritters away his obvious intelligence he reads and writes poetry for fun by always acting the fool, undercutting the few strides he makes with outrageous blunders. The film's episodic nature cripples its fluidity, and when a concerned teacher played by Garrett Morris is introduced far too late in the narrative, it becomes clear that Cooley High isn't enough about high school to warrant being named after one. Viewers might also find the tonal shift at the end rather abrupt, given the loosey-goosey nature of the events leading up to it. The kind of film that's fun despite a litany of reasonable complaints, Cooley High remains a benchmark in early black cinema, and Schultz would follow it with a blaxploitation classic, Car Wash 1976.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/21/2015
  • UPC: 887090097307
  • Original Release: 1975
  • Rating:

  • Source: Olive Films
  • Time: 1:47:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 84,248

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Glynn Turman Preach
Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs Cochise
Garrett Morris Mr. mason
Cynthia Davis Brenda
Corin Rogers Pooter
Maurice Leon Havis Willie
Joseph Carter Wilson Tyrone
Shermann Smith Stone
Norman Gibson Robert
Maurice Marshall Damon
Steven Williams Jimmy Lee
Jackie Taylor Johnny Mae
Christine Jones Sandra
Lynn Caridine Dorothy
Robert Townsend Uncredited
Technical Credits
Michael Schultz Director
Samuel Z. Arkoff Executive Producer
Frank Beetson Asst. Director
Paul Von Brack Cinematographer
William Fosser Art Director
Christopher Holmes Editor
Steve Krantz Producer
Eric Monte Screenwriter
Freddie Perren Score Composer
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