Superfly

Superfly

4.2 7
Director: Gordon Parks

Cast: Gordon Parks, Ron O'Neal, Carl Lee, Sheila Frazier

     
 

Along with Shaft and Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, Superfly was one of the first and most historically important films in the blaxploitation explosion of the early '70s, and this DVD release gives the movie both the respect it deserves and the funk it demands. Superfly has been given a letterboxed transfer to disc in the widescreen…  See more details below

Overview

Along with Shaft and Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, Superfly was one of the first and most historically important films in the blaxploitation explosion of the early '70s, and this DVD release gives the movie both the respect it deserves and the funk it demands. Superfly has been given a letterboxed transfer to disc in the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which has also been enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16 x 9 monitors. The source material is clean and the colors are rich, with the transfer leaving in just enough grain to honor the film's realistic visual style. The original monophonic sound mix has been preserved in Dolby Digital Mono, which accurately reflects the film's original sound, but is also a bit crisper than Superfly's previous VHS incarnations. The original English soundtrack is included, as well as a dubbed French version with subtitles in English, Spanish, and French. The most notable bonus feature is a new documentary on the making of Superfly, which covers how the story made it to the screen as well as its importance and influence in an informative and breezy manner. A profile on leading man Ron O'Neal, produced at the time of the film's initial release, is also included, as well as another featurette with costume designer Nate Adams showing off some vintage threads used in the movie, the original theatrical trailer, and an illuminating audio-only interview with the late Curtis Mayfield in which he discusses composing the film's famous score and how it impacted his life and career. Finally, author and professor Todd Boyd contributes a lively audio commentary track, though he stops to identify Priest's outfits and quotes Mayfield's lyrics a bit more often than necessary. All in all, Superfly has been given a top-shelf release at a mid-line price. Blaxploitation followers will definitely want to check this out.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Part of the 1970s blaxploitation vanguard, Superfly's (1972) gritty authenticity elevates it above its subsequent imitators. Directed by Gordon Parks Jr. -- the son of Shaft (1971) director Gordon Parks -- funded by black businessmen, and shot by a mostly black crew, Superfly was as much a statement against white-dominated Hollywood behind the camera as it was a convincing depiction of a certain segment of black city life. Shooting on-location in New York, Parks energetically evoked the violence and material allure of Youngblood Priest's (Ron O'Neal) drug dealer existence, while the famous still-photo montage of people of all races snorting coke attested to what enabled Priest's "superfly" life. Counterpointing the heroic effects of Priest's flamboyantly clothed charisma and his plot to stick it to the Man, Curtis Mayfield's trailblazing, best-selling soundtrack matched the urban mood while lyrically attesting to the negative effects of drugs. Even so, Superfly became a controversial hit, as African-American critics decried its influence on cocaine use and the glorification of criminals; the filmmakers observed that they were just telling it like it was. Either way, Superfly confirmed the financial as well as rhetorical power of the nascent blaxploitation genre in the wake of Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1970) and Shaft (1971).

Product Details

Release Date:
01/13/2004
UPC:
0085392888825
Original Release:
1972
Rating:
R
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono]
Time:
1:35:00
Sales rank:
3,496

Special Features

Closed Caption; "One Last Deal: A Retrospective" documentary ; Commentary by Dr. Todd Boyd, U.S.C. professor of cinema and television and author of "Am I Black Enough for You: Popular Culture From the 'Hood and Beyond"; "Ron O'Neal on the Making of Super Fly" vintage featurette ; Costume designer Nate Adams goes behind the threads; "Curtis Mayfield on Super Fly" audio-only bonus; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ron O'Neal Priest
Carl Lee Eddie
Sheila Frazier Georgia
Julius Harris Scatter
Charles McGregor Fat Freddie
Nate Adams Dealer
Curtis Mayfield Experience The Band
Sig Shore Deputy Commissioner
Yvonne Delaine Mrs. Freddie
K.C. Pimp
Polly Niles Cynthia
Jim Richardson Junkie
Henry Shapiro Robbery Victim

Technical Credits
Gordon Parks Director
Nate Adams Costumes/Costume Designer
Bob Brady Editor
James Farabee Makeup
Phillip Fenty Screenwriter
Harry Lapham Sound/Sound Designer
Curtis Mayfield Score Composer,Songwriter
Sig Shore Producer
James Signorelli Cinematographer
Marvin Stuart Musical Direction/Supervision

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Comparisons [4:58]
2. Uptown-Bound Credits [3:25]
3. Would-Be Muggers [2:40]
4. Priestly Business [5:38]
5. Chance to Get Out [4:11]
6. Shakedown [:16]
7. Pusherman [2:49]
8. One Last Time [3:25]
9. The Payoff [8:22]
10. Sexy Bath [4:08]
11. Fighters [4:50]
12. The Last of Freddie [3:03]
13. The Law Makes it Real [4:17]
14. Dealing Montage [5:10]
15. March Someplace Else [3:43]
16. Owned By the Man [4:22]
17. New Hires [7:14]
18. Priest's Cut [3:59]
19. Elevator Switch [3:49]
20. Meeting the Man [4:05]
21. Dirty Laundry [2:28]
22. End Credits [2:08]

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Superfly 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
in 1972, when this movie was released, i was a raw draftee, 20 years old and on my own, away from home, for the first time. halfway through boot camp at fort jackson, south carolina, we were finally allowed to move off the Company Street and around the base. superfly had just hit the theaters, on-base and off, and i hiked across the post to see it. what an experience. there wasn't anyone in the theater, white or black, who didn't identify with priest and his situation vis-a-vis "the man". when he finished his soliloquy regarding the consequences which would occur should any harm come to "one hair of my pretty head", the whole place erupted. superfly was important as the first movie in the vanguard of what would become the blaxploitation genre, though it brought obviously higher production values to the screen and exhibited a greater understanding of, and sympathy for, its characters than many of the later spate of imitators. it also brought together a crew of name individuals who collaborated to produce a minor gem of film making, not just black film making.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is outrageous. Gordon Parks Jr.'s "Superfly" is interesting enough with its cliches of drug pushers, users, pimps, hos, and the dismal life that is the ghetto. Good performances are given by Ron O'Neal as Priest, the drug pusher who wants to do the unthinkable -- get out of the business, and Julius Harris as Scatter, Priest's former connection to "The Man". After a little "help" from his friends Priest discovers he can only trust his woman, Georgia (Shelia Frazier). But, Priest has masterminded a way to take him and Georgia away from this life to another. A director today, for example, could never get away with making a movie like this, modern audiences just don't have the attention span. The movie moves along like a series of music videos, stopping periodically to insert some dialogue and characters and situations, after which it moves back into another music video. Even that sex scene in the bathtub seemed to go on forever, panning up and down and up and down and up and down the naked bodies in the tub, presumably long enough for the song to play out before we can move on to the next scene. From a technical standpoint, the film is an absolute disaster. There's a foot-chase early in the movie during which a wire of some sort falls directly in front of the camera lens not once, but twice, the audio is numerous scenes does not even remotely match the video (the never-ending bathtub scene, for example), and the acting is abysmal. Throughout the film, the enjoyment comes from Curtis Mayfield's superb soundtrack. It has a way of elevating what might be just another b film to a cult classic. From "Little Child Runnin' Wild" in the opening sequence to Curtis Mayfield's live performance of "Pusherman" in Scatter's club to the end credits with the title track, this is simply one of the finest pieces of music ever written specifically for a film. The soundtrack album, which produced hit singles with "Freddie's Dead" and "Superfly", stands with Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" as perhaps the two greatest soul albums of the 1970's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is must have if you collect 70's films,this is pure entertainment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Forget the blaxpop label, this is a fast paced, slick urban romp that made a fortune for WB Studios. Ron O'Neal is believable and smart as Priest, a coke dealer looking for one last score so he can quit the business. Carl Lee is a powerhouse as Eddie and if nothing else, listen to the Curtis Mayfield classic soundtrack. Still sounds great after 30 years, like a classic should.
Guest More than 1 year ago
superfly is a topnotch movie of its time with a moral to its hustle it goes into the underworld of drugdealing with a stylish approach and the soundtrack is almost as powerful as the movie