|THE SUPER COPS
(director: Gordon Parks; screenwriter: Lorenzo Semple
Jr./from the biography by L. H.
Whitemore; cinematographer: Dick Kratina;
editor: Harry Howard; music: Jerry Fielding; cast: Ron
Leibman (David Greenberg/Batman), David Selby (Robert
Hantz/Robin), Pat Hingle (Novick), Sheila
Frazier (Sara), Dan Frazer (Krasna), Joseph Sirola (Lieutenant
O'Shaughnessy), Arny Freeman
(Barry Kellner), Bernard Kates (DA Heller), Alex Colon
(Carlos), Charles Turner (Joe Hayes), Al Fann (Frank
Hayes), Pat Corley (Captain Bush), Barton Heyman (Lt.
Stratton); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: R; producer:
William Belasco; MGM; 1974)
"Wacky fact based crime story."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
upon the true story of two heroic NYC cops, David
Greenberg (Ron Leibman) and
Bobby Hantz (David Selby), who were dubbed in the
street Batman and Robin for their high arrest
numbers and honesty. Photographer-turned-director
Gordon Parks ("Superfly"/"Shaft's Big Score!"/"Shaft")
seems to have fun directing this wacky fact based
crime story with an ear for comedy and cartoonish
performances. Lorenzo Semple Jr.'s (wrote for
the Batman TV series) screenplay is based on the 1973
biography by L. H. Whitemore.
Greenberg (Ron Leibman) and
Bobby Hantz (David Selby) meet at the police academy
in NYC, sometime in the late 1960s, and the two
wise-asses develop a deep friendship, and share a
belief in not going by the book to get the bad guy
and not giving a rat's ass who they tick off. Even
while at the academy, they team up to make
significant arrests. As rookies, they are assigned a
traffic beat in Manhattan. But when collaring
criminals on their days off, they upset their stodgy
bosses and get transferred to the crime-ridden
Brooklyn slum of Bedford Stuyvesant. The noble cops,
working in a downtrodden area and in an environment
that featured dirty cops, went after the drug
dealers and brought down the infamous Hayes
brothers, the neighborhood's biggest supplier. The
boys did it despite being hated by many of their
fellow precinct cops and not going by the book, and
despite the many attempts by their colleagues to
trap them into being cops on the take.
follows an episodic story line, that shows their
contact with the black prostitute Sara (Sheila
Frazier), with the black community and the drug
kingpins, their peculiar relationship with their
tormented precinct police captain (Dan
Frazer), their antagonistic precinct
police lieutenant (Joseph Sirola), and
how they were hated by the arrogant police Inspector (Pat
Hingle) who even tried to get evidence
they were corrupt despite their quality arrests by
attempting to bribe them.
pic comes at a time before the Knapp Commission began
to internally investigate the large amount of
corruption on the force. It works as a Serpico-like
pic but one with a more comical approach.
REVIEWED ON 10/20/2012 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ