Infiltrating Hollywood | Chicago Reader

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Rated NR · 57 minutes · 2011

Documentary
Christine Acham and Clifford Ward use a standard clips-and-talking-heads format to tell the fascinating story of The Spook Who Sat By the Door (1973), the cult classic about a black CIA agent who goes rogue to command a racial uprising on Chicago's south side. The source novel was written by Sam Greenlee, who grew up here and worked in the foreign service, and it appeared in the U.S. only after a British publisher scored with it. Making the movie was an uphill battle as well, tirelessly fought by producer-director Ivan Dixon (best known as a cast member on Hogan's Heroes). Mayor Daley refused to let Dixon shoot in the city (the riot scenes were filmed in Gary), and despite the movie's runaway success with black audiences, United Artists swiftly withdrew it from theaters, allegedly on orders from the FBI. Only in 2004 did the film emerge again in a DVD release, the original negative having been carefully guarded by Dixon as all the first-run prints mysteriously disappeared.
Director: Christine Acham and Clifford Ward
Producer: Christine Acham and Clifford Ward

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