Some years ago, a friend of mine and I were able to see a 16mm print of THE SUPER COPS which was then an extremely rare film. We were just coming to realize how many films were listed in Leonard Maltin’s Film and Video guide that had never been released on home video in any format. My friend and I were fascinated by these “lost” films and began to scour the video stores of L.A. on the off chance they’d have bootlegs of a few of them. THE SUPER COPS was one that was on our list. We were sold on it by the cast, director Gordon Parks (who we knew from SHAFT at the time) and the Maltin synopsis alone. All in all, we were very excited to see the movie and it didn’t let us down. I’m sure many of you are aware of Edgar Wright’s affection for this film. He programmed it as part of a double feature with DIRTY HARRY earlier this year at the venerable New Beverly Cinema in L.A. You can see why he’d be a fan; It’s an unsung 70s film and an early entry in the buddy cop genre.
The movie starts with footage of the real cops this film is based, Dave Greenberg and Robert Hantz (who were nicknamed ‘Batman & Robin’ at the time). Ron Liebman and David Selby play this dynamic duo with much fervor and energy. They truly give a sense of the unorthodox rebelliousness and balls-out stupid courage these two gents possess. From their humble beginnings as traffic cops, these two just can’t sit still (nor are they well-liked by their fellow cops). Making as many busts in their off duty hours as they can, they keep trying to show everyone what they are capable of and how they believe the NYPD should operate. They are two insanely wacky and ambitious fellas to say the least.
Liebman’s Greenberg is filled with a great comic charisma (one of his best performances). The way he uses his face is quite wonderful and it recalls for me a more silent-era style (it may have something to do with his Broadway background). Selby (who is best known for his role on DARK SHADOWS) rounds out the pair nicely in the straight man role. If you dig what Liebman is doing here, you might also wanna check out Peter Yates’ THE HOT ROCK (a fun little 70s heist film). Additionally, THE SUPER COPS would make a stellar double feature with another buddy cop classic – FREEBIE & THE BEAN (also a Warner Archive release and a favorite of mine).
Another solid enough transfer from Warner Archives. There’s a good deal of grain here, also some scratches and dirt, but overall I was satisfied with the way it looks.
Check out this clip of the film!
Buy it at Warner Archive here:
VERDICT: Pick this Up!
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