BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Super Fly: Warner Archive Collection (1972) - Blu-ray Review

Super Fly: Warner Archive Collection

Can we talk about Super Fly’s opening for a minute?  Street shot and completely on the - pardon the pun - fly, this engaging opening is one hell of a way to open Super Fly, the late Gordon Parks, Jr. (Three the Hard Way, Aaron Loves Angela) film.  Right away, we are caught up in the action as two street urchins hustle the streets as only they know how.  

"never shying away from the topic of drugs and sex, is an upfront ride through the juke joints of Harlem"


Know this, brothers and sisters: the underworld ALWAYS drags you down.  Super Fly, now on blu-ray thanks to the Warner Archive Collection's 2K transfer, is the only proof you need.  How long can a good thing last?  Pusher Man is getting yellow, y'all.

Curtis Mayfield knew how to hit you hard with his soft voice.  He knew all about challenges and what is right and wrong for a society.  He’s long dead now but his music, thankfully, is eternal.  And the music that he wrote for the soundtrack to Super Fly is proof positive of his creative genius.  No one told him how to make music or how his songs should sound; and Super Fly is truly enriched thanks to his involvement.

You could say, and I would not argue, that this guerilla-shot flick is magnificently improved by Mayfield’s contributions.  The man is genius beyond words and, from the very beginning of Super Fly, those street-shot happenings (with people bundled up against the cold) are made emblematic thanks to the opening refrains of “Little Child, Running Wild” and then later, as Ron O’Neil as Youngblood Priest, leaves one naked chick in bed to go make a drug deal as “Pusherman” plays alongside his strut. 

Priest wants out of the cocaine business. He’s tired of the lies; tired of the violence; and tired of having to watch his back as he rides the town in his 1971 customized Cadillac Eldorado. He’s also super tired of Fat Freddie (Charles McGregor) shortchanging him when it comes to his payments. But he is willing to give it all up: the 8-track stereo, color tv in every room, and a half a piece of dope every day because he doesn’t want to have to kill someone.Super Fly: Warner Archive Collection

Truth is, yes, he certainly is willing to walk away from it all. But first, he’s going to run a number, and walk away with one million in cash. He just needs Eddie (Carl Lee) by his side in order to pull it off.  With Eddie in, the sky is the limit or so he thinks.  He couldn’t be further from the truth.  And Super Fly – with direction by Gordon Park, Jr. and production by Sig Shore, appearing here as Deputy Commissioner Riordan– took flight, spreading its wings high across the Blaxploitation scene as white boys in stuffed suits over at Warner Bros took notice.

This movie, with gun in hand, has a lot going for it, even if the acting feels forced.  There is an authenticity to its voice that never feels shoehorned or rushed.  Everything, thanks to a grittiness that modern Hollywood knows nothing about, feels very tense and very real.  Hell, we even get a cameo from Mayfield himself, performing “Pusherman” in all its glory at a small club.  This film, never shying away from the topic of drugs and sex, is an upfront ride through the juke joints of Harlem.

Like Shaft and Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassssss Song before it, the drug use might be amplified but this is one movie, considering its impact, that did wonders for the black community, especially in Hollywood. Doors were kicked open.  Wide, too.  Sure, whitey denied that there were African-Americans making movies at the time, but they were obviously wrong.  And their voice is still heard and seen today.   

Meet the one movie that never “squared up” on your ass. Super Fly is back in all its greasy glory.

5/5 beers

 

Super Fly: Warner Archive Collection

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Warner Archive Collection
Available on Blu-ray
- June 26, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Priest is a prince of the streets, a charismatic businessman who wants out of cocaine-dealing. But a mysterious kingpin doesn’t want Priest to change his ways. And that triggers murder, revenge and double-crosses that push Priest into a corner — and heat the neighborhood to flash point. Super Fly is one of the more enduring streetwise films of its era, due to the dynamic central performance of Ron O’Neal (Red Dawn, Original Gangstas), the sizzling score by Curtis Mayfield and the gritty direction of the late Gordon Parks, Jr. (Three the Hard Way, Aaron Loves Angela). Super Fly is super entertainment with an indelible message. It’s life on the edge, put together by talents who know just how sharp it can get.

Video:

Featuring a new 2K scan from the original 35mm negative, this release from Warner Bros. Archive Collection is a real badass treat.  The brand new 1.78:1 HD master is detailed and looks better than ever. Some shots, due to the era of the day, are fuzzier than others but the image is reasonably well defined with crisp contrasts and solid textures. Colors are solid, with reds being a standout. Blacks are, too.

Audio:

Curtis Mayfield still deserves a sonic upgrade, but the release supports a clear DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtrack which ought to be cranked to the max.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Dr. Boyd, a professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the author of The Notorious Ph.D's Guide to the Super Fly 70s, waxes poetic about the history and social response of Super Fly.

Special Features:

All the supplemental items have been previously released on the 2004 DVD release of Super Fly.  Buyers get a 24-minute retrospective, an interview with Ron O’Neal, a conversation with Curtis Mayfield, a look at costume designer Nate Adams’ work, a look at the car, and a trailer. 

  • One Last Deal: A Retrospective (125 min)
  • Ron O'Neal on the Making of Super Fly (6 min)
  • Curtis Mayfield on Super Fly (audio only) (7 min)
  • Behind the Threads (4 min)
  • Behind the Hog with Les Dunham (4 min)
  • Trailer

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars


Film Details

TSuper Fly: Warner Archive Collection

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
91 mins
Director
: Gordon Parks, Jr.
Writer:
Phillip Fenty
Cast:
Ron O'Neal; Carl Lee; Sheila Frazier
Genre
: Action | Crime
Tagline:
Never a dude like this one! He's got a plan to stick it to The Man!
Memorable Movie Quote: "I know it's a rotten game, but it's the only one The Man left us to play. That's the stone, cold truth."
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 10, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 4, 1972.
Synopsis: Priest is a prince of the streets, a charismatic businessman who wants out of cocaine-dealing. But a mysterious kingpin doesn't want Priest to change his ways. And that triggers murder, revenge and double-crosses that push Priest into a corner — and heat the neighborhood to flash point.

Art

TSuper Fly: Warner Archive Collection

 

Movie Reviews

Our Tweets

 

You are here: Home Home Video BADass B-Movies Super Fly: Warner Archive Collection (1972) - Blu-ray Review