Harlem Double Feature: Underworld/Dark Manhattan [DVD]

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Dark Manhattan
Dark Manhattan is an all-black melodrama, aimed at what were once known as "colored" movie houses. Ralph Cooper stars as anti-hero Curley Thorpe, the head of all protection rackets in Harlem. Curley begins to think about reforming when he falls in love with virginal nightclub chanteuse Cleo (Cleo Herndon). Alas, a rival gang begins encroaching upon Thorpe's territory, resulting in the climactic death of the poor fellow in a hail of bullets. Production-wise, Dark Manhattan is several notches above most of the cheapie all-black films of the era, with good direction and choreography compensating for the haphazard camerawork and uneven performances. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

In this crime drama an African-American college graduate leaves his Southern home and goes to seek his fortune in Chicago. He stays at a hotel which later turns out to be a cathouse. One of the proprietors takes a shine to the lad and tries to con him into a life of crime. The boy refuses, so the crooked woman gets tough by framing him for her lover's murder. The wicked woman then goes out on a bender and ends up killed by a train. Now the boy has no alibi. A trial ensues, but fortunately, a last-minute witness appears and saves him. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Cast & Crew

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    Ralph Cooper - Curley Thorpe
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    Clarence Brooks - Larry Lee
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    Jess Lee Brooks - Lt. Allen
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    Sam McDaniel - Jack Jackson
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    Srewart Nicodemus - Pete
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