The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)
Director: Ivan Dixon
Actors: Lawrence Cook, Janet League
Runtime: 102 min
In the political climate of integration, the CIA was required to enroll African-American recruits, but because of very rigid criteria, only one of them manages to complete the training, and the job assigned to him was photocopying – in the basement. After several years, he leaves the CIA and returns to his native Chicago as a social worker, but it turns out that he intends to use the acquired knowledge to start a revolution against the racist establishment of the USA. This is one of the best blaxploitation movies – and, by far, the smartest and most daring. The director wasn’t allowed to shoot the film in Chicago, and it quickly disappeared from theaters because the distributor and the exhibitors were pressured by the FBI. The negative was preserved under a false name and wasn’t widely available until a DVD release in 2004. Although the movie is a bit linear and stereotypical, the political message is very strong, and the disenfranchisement and anger behind it are still very real.