Based on the 1969 novel by Sam Greenlee, The Spook Who Sat By The Door (1973) is a deep and powerful film that addresses the racial inequality of the Civil Rights era in startling terms. Even 40 years after its limited initial release — and subsequent decades long hard-to-find status — the provocative motion picture, which is now more readily available, has its fair share of moments bound to stir various emotions in viewers.
The action in The Spook Who Sat By The Door sets off when the CIA agrees to racially integrate their organization strictly for publicity’s sake, an attempt to appease Black voters despite the fact the higher-ups feel any African American agent would be inferior and basically used as a token. However, they severely underestimate Dan Freeman (Lawrence Cook in a riveting performance), a conscientious, college educated ex-gang member from Chicago, who has secret plans to start a revolution in the ghetto. But as he clearly states, Freeman is not doing this out of hatred or revenge, but for freedom for his people, something he and his guerrilla must fight and die for by any means necessary.
Interestingly, production of the movie was partly a covert operation itself, filmed in parts without city permits and basically “disguised” early on during its making to look like a conventional blaxploitation feature in order to secure funding. Although still not widely seen, The Spook Who Sat By The Door was added to National Film Registry in 2012, one of hundreds of movies preserved in the Library of Congress for future generations.
Directed by Ivan Dixon. Music by Herbie Hancock.
(Props to TheOriginator100 for the upload)