Uptight (film)

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Uptight
Up Tight! (1968) poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Jules Dassin
Produced by Jules Dassin
Ruby Dee
Jim Di Gangi
Written by Jules Dassin
Ruby Dee
Julian Mayfield
Liam O'Flaherty
Starring Raymond St. Jacques
Ruby Dee
Cinematography Boris Kaufman
Edited by Robert Lawrence
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • December 28, 1968 (1968-12-28)
Running time 104 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Uptight (also known as Up Tight!) is a 1968 American drama film directed by Jules Dassin. It was intended as an updated version of John Ford's 1935 film, The Informer, but the setting was transposed from Dublin, Ireland to Cleveland, Ohio, USA. The soundtrack was performed by Booker T. & the MG's. The film opens with documentary footage of the funeral procession of Martin Luther King, Jr., which is used as a backdrop for the film's fictional narrative.

The film was released on DVD by Olive Films on October 16, 2012.

Plot[edit]

In Cleveland, Ohio, a group of black men, some of them ex-co-workers from the steel factory, need to hide their good friend Johnny. Tank, one of Johnny's best friends, has problems with alcoholism, and almost gets Johnny in jail. The revolutionary group formed by the black men is going through a deeper radicalization, and they see Tank's inconsistent behavior as a menace to their revolution.

In disillusionment with the group, out of money and unemployed, Tank seeks shelter at Laurie's house. She's seeing the representative of the welfare office. Tank feels bad because he thinks he should be supporting Laurie and her kids, and he gets into a fight with the representative, causing Laurie to lose the few dollars she made every month to feed their kids. She dumps him, and tells him to come back only when he has a job and money to put food on the table.

When Tank is leaving Laurie's, a voice calls him from inside of a burnt house: it is Johnny, who had been hiding, and was looking for Tank. He tells Tank that he needs to see his mother before he flees from town. Tank urges him not to do it, but Johnny insists. They leave each other saying they love each other.

Tank then meets Daisy, a homosexual who makes good money by informing the police about the activities of the black revolutionaires. Daisy brings Tank to his apartment, and shows him two photographs: one of them shows Tank fighting two police officers during a riot, and the other one is the picture of Johnny on a wanted sign. The police are paying $1,000 for a tip that leads them to Johnny.

After an argument with the revolutionaires, who say that Johnny told them to get rid of him, Tank becomes enraged and goes after the police. The cops rush to the residence of Johnny's mother, while Tank goes to a bar and buys everybody lots of drinks. Tank wanders aimlessly around town, visiting the steel factory where he worked for 20 years, and also an amusement park where he shoots a cowboy puppet a few times and argues with some white people in front of some distortion mirrors.

The police surround Johnny, and he tries to shoot his way out, only to be shot down by the police. Tank goes to his funeral trying not to raise suspicion, but his guilt makes the revolutionaires a bit wary. Tank tells them that Daisy was the one who sold Johnny to the cops, and Tank goes over to his apartment to tell him to flee. Two of the revolutionaires enter the apartment, and Daisy proves to them that Tank was guilty.

Tank is then submitted by a para-legal trial on an abandoned bowling alley, and sentenced to death by his ex-comrades. He manages to flee, and jumps over a train. Hiding in a small hotel, he calls Laurie, who visits him. He tells her what he did, and asks her to explain to him why he did it. He says nobody can explain to him why he killed his best friend.

At the end of the film, Tank is followed to an industrial area where the steel company stores their iron ore. He waves and shouts at the two men who are in pursuit of him. One of them tries to shoot him, but feels bad about it and gives up. The other man takes the gun and fires 3 times.

Tank falls from the platform where he is standing. His body lies in the iron ore pile. A giant excavator dumps several tons of iron ore over his dead body, the screen is filled with the falling ore until it turns black, and the words THE END fade in.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]