The Blaxploitation classic Hell Up in Harlem takes the spotlight for this ’70s Flashback post, but did you realize that the film is actually a sequel? The movie — which is a hugely entertaining film in its own right — is a follow-up to 1973’s Black Caesar. While that movie introduced Fred Williamson as aspiring mobster Tommy Gibbs, this follow-up (again directed by Larry Cohen, who also scripted) has the gangster preparing to regain control of his crime empire, and entering the crosshairs of a corrupt D.A. who’s seeking to monopolize the drug trade. But first Gibbs must overcome an enemy from within in the form of a turncoat enforcer. One thing’s for certain, in order to get what he wants and remove all obstacles in his path, Tommy’s going to have to go through hell.
Here’s the film’s fantastic trailer:
This radio spot sells the movie and then some:
And no discussion of Hell Up in Harlem would be complete without mentioning the movie’s incredible theme song from Edwin Starr:
Solid entertainment, then, now, and always.
An earlier version of this article originally appeared on MovieFanFare earlier this year