The Cool World
The Cool World (1964)

The residents of Harlem deal with the squalid conditions of tenement slums and poverty. Duke (Hampton Clayton) is the angry young teenager whose main goal is to get a gun to command the respect he believes is owed to him. His mother remains… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: April 20, 1964
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Critic Score: 100% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Bosley Crowther
New York Times

As we've come to expect of Miss Clarke's pictures, it is boldly and studiously styled as a literal documentation of a particular social scene, and its attack is more that of the reporter than of the interested teller of a tale.

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Variety Staff

Sometimes the characters get a bit lost in the general schematics of the pic, which at times waters down its underlying irony. But, overall, Clarke has a firm hold on her characters and story.

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Keith H. Brown
Eye for Film

A truly unmissable, unforgettable experience.

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Time Out

Often crudely photographed, but with a brilliantly multi-layered sound-track which integrates some fine jazz.

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Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

An eye-opening film that captures ghetto life back in the 1960s.

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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

It certainly had a visceral impact when it first appeared, helped enormously by Baird Bryant's cinematography and Dizzy Gillespie's score.

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TV Guide's Movie Guide

This little alleycat film captures the day-to-day desperation of the ghetto world, mainlining its images with transfusions of eclectic jazz background.

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More reviews for The Cool World

Flixster Audience Score: 50% Flixster User Reviews
Stella Dallas
a semi-documentary made by shirley clarke, recognized as one of the leading independent film makers of the early 60s new american cinema. starring real harlem… More