COOLEY HIGH (1975)

A film by Michael Schultz.

cast: Glynn Turman, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Garrett.

In the mid-1960’s, a group of high school friends who live on the Near North Side of Chicago enjoy life to the fullest…parties, hanging out, meeting new friends. Then life changes for two of the guys when they meet a pair of career criminals and get falsely arrested in connection with stealing a Cadillac. We follow their lives through the end of high school and the dramatic end to their school year. The movie is often called “the black American Graffiti” and it’s easy to see why. American Graffiti was a nostalgic look back 11 years at white teenagers who had just graduated high school and were on the cusp of chasing their dreams. It ended with mugshots and “where are they now” captions. “Cooley High” was a nostalgic look back 12 years at black teenagers about to graduate high school and on the cusp of chasing their dreams to escape fun, but hard, lives. It ended with “where are they now?” comments superimposed on full screen shots of the characters. This was the black American Graffiti film back then. The mostly amateur cast did a fine job.

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