Cinema: Negative

Up Tight, by Director Jules Dassin, is really two films. One is a groping attempt to comprehend the current state of black militancy. The other is a creaky pastiche of John Ford's 1935 masterpiece, The Informer. The analogy of the Irish and Negro rebels is less natural than it is facile, but in Dassin's hands, there is little attempt to translate the classic into contemporary cinema. Instead, he has simply sought to make a negative of the original, with shades of black instead of grades of white.

An alcoholic steelworker, appropriately named Tank (Julian Mayfield), is rejected by his white employers and...

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