- Posted August 20, 2013 by
Queens, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
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The Legacy of Super Fly
Last Friday I attended a very special 40th Anniversary screening of the iconic film Super Fly at The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York. The event was attended by the film's co-star Sheila Frazier, who made her memorable film debut as Priest’s (Ron O'Neal's) girlfriend.
The screening was part of the Museum's series "Changing the Picture," an ongoing series of screenings and discussions that celebrates and explores the work of film and television artists of color who bring diverse voices to the screen. It is also part of another series called "Fun City: New York in the Movies 1967-75," curated by J. Hoberman, which features a selection of films shot and set in New York City during the years when John Lindsay was mayor.
In addition to Sheila Frazier, the event was also attended by James Signorelli, the film's Cinematographer, as well as cast members Nate Adams and K.C. Adams, who appeared in many scenes of Super Fly, also played a large role in steering the story line and look of the characters' wardrobes in the film. The massive 1972 Cadillac Eldorado driven by Ron O'Neal's character Priest, was actually owned by K.C. at the time. He lent his prized vehicle to the production in order to help define O'Neal's tastes. Coincidentally, I attended a car show the day after the screening and accidentally found the very same 1972 Cadillac Eldorado, restored to its original condition.
Surprise guests who attended the event included: Bow-Legged Lou a.k.a. Lucien George Jr., from the legendary 1980's R&B musical group Full Force, who sang verses from music legend Curtis Mayfield's iconic soundtrack album; and character actor Paul Benjamin, who has appeared in numerous cult film favorites, such as Across 110th Street, Friday Foster and Escape from Alcatraz.
In Super Fly, Ron O'Neal plays a Harlem drug dealer who wants to quit the business for good. But before he does, he attempts to make one last big score. In order to do that he needs 30 kilos. O'Neal goes around trying to find someone who can provide him with the drugs and a dirty cop offers but the only problem is the cop expects him to continue dealing for him.
After the screening, Museum trustee and curator Warrington Hudlin moderated a panel discussion with Sheila Frazier, who still looks amazingly beautiful, along with James Signorelli, Nate Adams and K.C. The guests discussed the significance of Super Fly to the film industry of the era, and what the film's success meant for other filmmakers trying to get independent film projects made and distributed at the time. They also answered audience questions about the making of the movie and the film industry.
This special Super Fly anniversary event was especially significant because many of the main cast and crew from the original film have passed away, including the main star Ron O'Neal.