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October 26, 2011

Episode 34: The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)

The Spook who Sat by the DoorSpecial Guests: Christine Acham & Clifford Ward

The revolution will not be televised. It'll be a subversive flick from director Ivan Dixon and writer Sam Greenlee, The Spook Who Sat by the Door.

We chat with the filmmakers behind Infiltrating Hollywood: The Rise and Fall of the Spook Who Sat by the Door, which documents the story behind this remarkable film.

Buy The Spook Who Sat by the Door on DVD
Buy The Spook Who Sat by the Door by Sam Greenlee
Buy Race and the Revolutionary Impulse in The Spook Who Sat by the Door

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1 comment:

  1. Just listened to the episode and am really happy you guys tackled this film. One of the issues raised in your discussion involved prior knowledges/contexts for watching this film and I thought that raised some very valuable points. I think watching Spook Who Sat by the Door may be a more stimulating experience if you know some background about Sam Greenlee and his original novel. As is typical, literature can tend to more revolutionary than films due to a variety of reasons, but for any filmmaker to choose to tackle the subject of Greenlee's source material (an unapologetic call for armed revolution led by African Americans in the United States in the early 70s) was a daring and subversive move. But I do agree with Justin that watching the new documentary "Infiltrating Hollywood" prior to seeing the film might raise expectations to an unreasonable level. Ivan Dixon and company didn't necessarily have the resources to make the film they ultimately wanted, and as is found in many political films, the subversive content sometimes comes at the cost of completely well-rounded characters. But that said, Spook is an immensely important film and I hope people check it out and recognize that Hollywood films could be subversive and not just exploitative and then watch the wonderful documentary, Infiltrating Hollywood, which will give the broader historical and cinematic impacts of this one of a kind cult classic. Finally, I really enjoyed this episode, and keep up the great work supporting films that might otherwise fall through the cracks of film history.