Let's Do It Again


1h 52m 1975
Let's Do It Again

Brief Synopsis

Two blue-collar workers try to con a powerful gangster.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Sports
Release Date
1975
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group; Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)

Synopsis

Clyde Williams and Billy Foster are blue-collar workers who promised to raise money for their lodge, the Brother and Sisterf of Shaka. Their plan to raise the money involves going to New Orleans and rigging a boxing match by hypnotizing the scrawny underdog to make him believe he is a fierce, unbeatable champ. They bet big on him, he wins, and they return home with the money. But when some gangsters who lost money on the match show up, Clyde and Billy are forced to do the same thing again so that these men can win their money back. And it remains to be seen if they can do it again.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Sports
Release Date
1975
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group; Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)

Articles

Ossie Davis (1917-2005)


Ossie Davis, the distinguished African-American character actor, director and civil rights activist, died of natural causes on February 4 in Miami Beach, where he was filming a movie. He was 87.

He was born Raiford Chatman Davis on December 18, 1917 in Cogdell, Georgia. His parents called him "R.C." When his mother registered his birth, the county clerk misunderstood her and thought she said "Ossie" instead of "R.C.," and the name stuck. He graduated high school in 1936 and was offered two scholarships: one to Savannah State College in Georgia and the other to the famed Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, but he could not afford the tuition and turned them down. He eventually saved enough money to hitchhike to Washington, D.C., where he lived with relatives while attending Howard University and studied drama.

As much as he enjoyed studying dramatics, Davis had a hunger to practice the trade professionally and in 1939, he left Howard University and headed to Harlem to work in the Rose McClendon Players, a highly respected, all-black theater ensemble in its day.

Davis' good looks and deep voice were impressive from the beginning, and he quickly joined the company and remained for three years. With the onset of World War II, Davis spent nearly four years in service, mainly as a surgical technician in an all-black Army hospital in Liberia, serving both wounded troops and local inhabitants before being transferred to Special Services to write and produce stage shows for the troops.

Back in New York in 1946, Davis debuted on Broadway in Jeb, a play about a returning black soldier who runs afoul of the Ku Klux Klan in the deep south. His co-star was Ruby Dee, an attractive leading lady who was one of the leading lights of black theater and film. Their initial romance soon developed into a lasting bond, and the two were married on December 9, 1948.

With Hollywood making much more socially conscious, adult films, particularly those that tackled themes of race (Lonely Are The Brave, Pinky, Lost Boundaries all 1949), it wasn't long before Hollywood came calling for Davis. His first film, with which he co-starred with his wife Dee, was a tense Joseph L. Mankiewicz's prison drama with strong racial overtones No Way Out (1950). He followed that up with a role as a cab driver in Henry Hathaway's Fourteen Hours (1951). Yet for the most part, Davis and Dee were primarily stage actors, and made few film appearances throughout the decade.

However, in should be noted that much of Davis time in the '50s was spent in social causes. Among them, a vocal protest against the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and an alignment with singer and black activist Paul Robeson. Davis remained loyal to Robeson even after he was denounced by other black political, sports and show business figures for his openly communist and pro-Soviet sympathies. Such affiliation led them to suspicions in the anti-Communist witch hunts of the early '50s, but Davis, nor his wife Dee, were never openly accused of any wrongdoing.

If there was ever a decade that Ossie Davis was destined for greatness, it was undoubtly the '60s. He began with a hit Broadway show, A Raisin in the Sun in 1960, and followed that up a year later with his debut as a playwright - the satire, Purlie Victorious. In it, Davis starred as Purlie, a roustabout preacher who returns to southern Georgia with a plan to buy his former master's plantation barn and turn it into a racially integrated church.

Although not an initial success, the play would be adapted into a Tony-award winning musical, Purlie years later. Yet just as important as his stage success, was the fact that Davis' film roles became much more rich and varied: a liberal priest in John Huston's The Cardinal (1963); an unflinching tough performance as a black soldier who won't break against a sadistic sergeant's racial taunts in Sidney Lumet's searing war drama The Hill (1965); and a shrewd, evil butler who turns the tables on his employer in Rod Serling's Night Gallery (1969).

In 1970, he tried his hand at film directing, and scored a hit with Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970), a sharp urban action comedy with Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques as two black cops trying to stop a con artist from stealing Harlem's poor. It's generally considered the first major crossover film for the black market that was a hit with white audiences. Elsewhere, he found roles in some popular television mini-series such as King, and Roots: The Next Generation (both 1978), but for the most part, was committed to the theater.

Happily, along came Spike Lee, who revived his film career when he cast him in School Daze (1988). Davis followed that up with two more Lee films: Do the Right Thing (1989), and Jungle Fever (1991), which also co-starred his wife Dee. From there, Davis found himself in demand for senior character parts in many films throughtout the '90s: Grumpy Old Men (1993), The Client (1994), I'm Not Rappaport (1996), and HBO's remake of 12 Angry Men (1997).

Davis and Dee celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1998 with the publication of a dual autobiography, In This Life Together, and in 2004, they were among the artists selected to receive the Kennedy Center Honors. Davis had been in Miami filming an independent movie called Retirement with co-stars George Segal, Rip Torn and Peter Falk.

In addition to his widow Dee, Davis is survived by three children, Nora Day, Hasna Muhammad and Guy Davis; and seven grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole
Ossie Davis (1917-2005)

Ossie Davis (1917-2005)

Ossie Davis, the distinguished African-American character actor, director and civil rights activist, died of natural causes on February 4 in Miami Beach, where he was filming a movie. He was 87. He was born Raiford Chatman Davis on December 18, 1917 in Cogdell, Georgia. His parents called him "R.C." When his mother registered his birth, the county clerk misunderstood her and thought she said "Ossie" instead of "R.C.," and the name stuck. He graduated high school in 1936 and was offered two scholarships: one to Savannah State College in Georgia and the other to the famed Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, but he could not afford the tuition and turned them down. He eventually saved enough money to hitchhike to Washington, D.C., where he lived with relatives while attending Howard University and studied drama. As much as he enjoyed studying dramatics, Davis had a hunger to practice the trade professionally and in 1939, he left Howard University and headed to Harlem to work in the Rose McClendon Players, a highly respected, all-black theater ensemble in its day. Davis' good looks and deep voice were impressive from the beginning, and he quickly joined the company and remained for three years. With the onset of World War II, Davis spent nearly four years in service, mainly as a surgical technician in an all-black Army hospital in Liberia, serving both wounded troops and local inhabitants before being transferred to Special Services to write and produce stage shows for the troops. Back in New York in 1946, Davis debuted on Broadway in Jeb, a play about a returning black soldier who runs afoul of the Ku Klux Klan in the deep south. His co-star was Ruby Dee, an attractive leading lady who was one of the leading lights of black theater and film. Their initial romance soon developed into a lasting bond, and the two were married on December 9, 1948. With Hollywood making much more socially conscious, adult films, particularly those that tackled themes of race (Lonely Are The Brave, Pinky, Lost Boundaries all 1949), it wasn't long before Hollywood came calling for Davis. His first film, with which he co-starred with his wife Dee, was a tense Joseph L. Mankiewicz's prison drama with strong racial overtones No Way Out (1950). He followed that up with a role as a cab driver in Henry Hathaway's Fourteen Hours (1951). Yet for the most part, Davis and Dee were primarily stage actors, and made few film appearances throughout the decade. However, in should be noted that much of Davis time in the '50s was spent in social causes. Among them, a vocal protest against the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and an alignment with singer and black activist Paul Robeson. Davis remained loyal to Robeson even after he was denounced by other black political, sports and show business figures for his openly communist and pro-Soviet sympathies. Such affiliation led them to suspicions in the anti-Communist witch hunts of the early '50s, but Davis, nor his wife Dee, were never openly accused of any wrongdoing. If there was ever a decade that Ossie Davis was destined for greatness, it was undoubtly the '60s. He began with a hit Broadway show, A Raisin in the Sun in 1960, and followed that up a year later with his debut as a playwright - the satire, Purlie Victorious. In it, Davis starred as Purlie, a roustabout preacher who returns to southern Georgia with a plan to buy his former master's plantation barn and turn it into a racially integrated church. Although not an initial success, the play would be adapted into a Tony-award winning musical, Purlie years later. Yet just as important as his stage success, was the fact that Davis' film roles became much more rich and varied: a liberal priest in John Huston's The Cardinal (1963); an unflinching tough performance as a black soldier who won't break against a sadistic sergeant's racial taunts in Sidney Lumet's searing war drama The Hill (1965); and a shrewd, evil butler who turns the tables on his employer in Rod Serling's Night Gallery (1969). In 1970, he tried his hand at film directing, and scored a hit with Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970), a sharp urban action comedy with Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques as two black cops trying to stop a con artist from stealing Harlem's poor. It's generally considered the first major crossover film for the black market that was a hit with white audiences. Elsewhere, he found roles in some popular television mini-series such as King, and Roots: The Next Generation (both 1978), but for the most part, was committed to the theater. Happily, along came Spike Lee, who revived his film career when he cast him in School Daze (1988). Davis followed that up with two more Lee films: Do the Right Thing (1989), and Jungle Fever (1991), which also co-starred his wife Dee. From there, Davis found himself in demand for senior character parts in many films throughtout the '90s: Grumpy Old Men (1993), The Client (1994), I'm Not Rappaport (1996), and HBO's remake of 12 Angry Men (1997). Davis and Dee celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1998 with the publication of a dual autobiography, In This Life Together, and in 2004, they were among the artists selected to receive the Kennedy Center Honors. Davis had been in Miami filming an independent movie called Retirement with co-stars George Segal, Rip Torn and Peter Falk. In addition to his widow Dee, Davis is survived by three children, Nora Day, Hasna Muhammad and Guy Davis; and seven grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Let's Do It Again


Way back in the Watergate era, Warner Brothers had been reaping the successes of Uptown Saturday Night (1974), and was only too eager to again tap into the considerable chemistry displayed therein by Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby and develop another amiable buddy farce targeted to urban audiences. Let's Do It Again (1975), recently released on DVD by Warner Home Video, barely deviates from the structure of the previous film, but the results remain agreeable enough to show that it was worth returning to the well.

The setting this time is inner-city Atlanta, and the dilemma facing milkman Clyde Williams (Poitier) and forklift driver Billy Foster (Cosby) is the pending condemnation of their neighborhood lodge building. Billy's got an audacious scheme for scraping up the payment for a new facility that trades upon Clyde's skill as an amateur hypnotist. They pack their wives off to New Orleans on the pretext of a vacation, which includes taking in a middleweight championship boxing match. The plan involves entrancing the propped-up, long-shot challenger, a gangling patsy named Bootney Farnsworth (Jimmie Walker), into believing he's unstoppable, and placing the lodge's funds on his winning the belt.

Of course, it improbably pays off. Unfortunately, it also gets ultimately figured out by Kansas City Mack (John Amos), the French Quarter ganglord who covered the action on the fight. He has Billy and Clyde dragged back to town so the hapless Bootney can have a few impressive sparring sessions before his rematch, and then be snapped out of it on fight night, when Mack's money is riding on the challenger. The pair answer with another chancy gambit at getting out alive while fooling the heavies.

Today, as well as at the time of their release, various critics have been dismissive of the Poitier/Cosby comedies as warmed-over Amos 'n' Andy draped in polyester, and that's less than fair. They were, and remain, accessible crossover entertainments, that assembled enviable arrays of talented screen performers whose strengths were played to by Poitier as director. The supporting cast here is particularly strong, with Denise Nicholas and Lee Chamberlin as the heroes' plucky wives, Ossie Davis as the lodge elder, Mel Stuart as Bootney's handler, and Calvin Lockhart as Amos' underworld rival. The opening sequences feature brief appearances by George Foreman and Jayne Kennedy as co-workers of Cosby's.

Warner provided an exceptionally clean transfer in its mastering of the DVD, which is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The mono audio is likewise clean, but one wishes the familiar Curtis Mayfield/Staple Singers soundtrack had been done better service. The only extra provided is a feature-length commentary by Richard Wesley, the author of the film's screenplay, and by New York Press critic Armond White. Wesley offers plenty of anecdotes regarding the project's development, and White ably sets out the significance of the production in the context of its times.

For more information about Let's Do It Again, visit Warner Video. To order Let's Do It Again, go to TCM Shopping.

by Jay S. Steinberg

Let's Do It Again

Way back in the Watergate era, Warner Brothers had been reaping the successes of Uptown Saturday Night (1974), and was only too eager to again tap into the considerable chemistry displayed therein by Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby and develop another amiable buddy farce targeted to urban audiences. Let's Do It Again (1975), recently released on DVD by Warner Home Video, barely deviates from the structure of the previous film, but the results remain agreeable enough to show that it was worth returning to the well. The setting this time is inner-city Atlanta, and the dilemma facing milkman Clyde Williams (Poitier) and forklift driver Billy Foster (Cosby) is the pending condemnation of their neighborhood lodge building. Billy's got an audacious scheme for scraping up the payment for a new facility that trades upon Clyde's skill as an amateur hypnotist. They pack their wives off to New Orleans on the pretext of a vacation, which includes taking in a middleweight championship boxing match. The plan involves entrancing the propped-up, long-shot challenger, a gangling patsy named Bootney Farnsworth (Jimmie Walker), into believing he's unstoppable, and placing the lodge's funds on his winning the belt. Of course, it improbably pays off. Unfortunately, it also gets ultimately figured out by Kansas City Mack (John Amos), the French Quarter ganglord who covered the action on the fight. He has Billy and Clyde dragged back to town so the hapless Bootney can have a few impressive sparring sessions before his rematch, and then be snapped out of it on fight night, when Mack's money is riding on the challenger. The pair answer with another chancy gambit at getting out alive while fooling the heavies. Today, as well as at the time of their release, various critics have been dismissive of the Poitier/Cosby comedies as warmed-over Amos 'n' Andy draped in polyester, and that's less than fair. They were, and remain, accessible crossover entertainments, that assembled enviable arrays of talented screen performers whose strengths were played to by Poitier as director. The supporting cast here is particularly strong, with Denise Nicholas and Lee Chamberlin as the heroes' plucky wives, Ossie Davis as the lodge elder, Mel Stuart as Bootney's handler, and Calvin Lockhart as Amos' underworld rival. The opening sequences feature brief appearances by George Foreman and Jayne Kennedy as co-workers of Cosby's. Warner provided an exceptionally clean transfer in its mastering of the DVD, which is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The mono audio is likewise clean, but one wishes the familiar Curtis Mayfield/Staple Singers soundtrack had been done better service. The only extra provided is a feature-length commentary by Richard Wesley, the author of the film's screenplay, and by New York Press critic Armond White. Wesley offers plenty of anecdotes regarding the project's development, and White ably sets out the significance of the production in the context of its times. For more information about Let's Do It Again, visit Warner Video. To order Let's Do It Again, go to TCM Shopping. by Jay S. Steinberg

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States October 1975

Released in United States on Video July 18, 1990

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1975

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1975

Released in United States on Video July 18, 1990

Released in United States October 1975