Race and the Revolutionary Impulse in The Spook Who Sat by the Door

Race and the Revolutionary Impulse in The Spook Who Sat by the Door

Edited by Michael T. Martin, David C. Wall, and Marilyn Yaquinto
Distribution: World
Publication date: 03/01/2018
Format: paper 176 pages, 43 b&w illus.
6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-253-03179-2
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Ivan Dixon’s 1973 film, The Spook Who Sat by the Door, captures the intensity of social and political upheaval during a volatile period in American history. Based on Sam Greenlee’s novel by the same name, the film is a searing portrayal of an American Black underclass brought to the brink of revolution. This series of critical essays situates the film in its social, political, and cinematic contexts and presents a wealth of related materials, including an extensive interview with Sam Greenlee, the original United Artists’ press kit, numerous stills from the film, and the original screenplay. This fascinating examination of a revolutionary work foregrounds issues of race, class, and social inequality that continue to incite protests and drive political debate.

Author Bio

Michael T. Martin is Director of the Black Film Center/Archive and Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the Media School at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the editor or co-editor of six anthologies, including Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States: Slavery, Jim Grow, and Their Legacies; and The Poetics and Politics of Black Film: Nothing But a Man (IUP). He also directed and co-produced the award winning feature documentary on Nicaragua, In the Absence of Peace, distributed by Third World Newsreel.

David C. Wall is Assistant Professor of Visual and Media Studies at Utah State University at Utah State University. He co-edited
The Poetics and Politics of Black Film: Nothing But a Man (IUP). Other recent work can be found in Nineteenth-Century Studies and A Companion to the Historical Film.

Marilyn Yaquinto is Associate Professor of Communication and Interdisciplinary Studies at Truman State University in Missouri. She is author of
Pump ‘Em Full of Lead: A Look at Gangsters on Film and co-editor of Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States: Slavery, Jim Grow, and Their Legacies. Dr. Yaquinto is a former journalist for the Los Angeles Time and shares in its Pulitzer Prize for spot news coverage of the 1992 LA riots linked to the Rodney King incident.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction:
The Spook Who Sat by the Door / Michael T. Martin and David C. Wall
1. Writer/Producer’s Statement: The Making of
The Spook Who Sat by the Door / Sam Greenlee
2. “[D]uality is a survival tool. It’s not a disease”: Interview with Sam Greenlee on
The Spook Who Sat By the Door / Michael T. Martin and David C. Wall
3. Cinema as Political Activism: Contemporary Meanings in
The Spook Who Sat by the Door / Marilyn Yaquinto
4. Persistently Displaced: Situated Knowledges and Interrelated Histories in
The Spook Who Sat by the Door / Samantha N. Sheppard
5. Subverting the System: The Politics and Production of
The Spook Who Sat By the Door / Christine Acham
6.
The Spook Who Sat By the Door, Screenplay / Sam Greenlee and Melvin Clay
Appendix A: Press Kit
Appendix B: National Film Registry Entry, The Spook Who Sat by the Door / Michael T. Martin and David C. Wall
Appendix C: Sam Greenlee: Biography and Select Bibliography
Appendix D: Ivan Dixon: Biography and Select Filmography

Index
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