Ivan Dixon, The Spook Who Sat by the Door, 1973 (still); photo: courtesy Photofest


The Spook Who Sat by the Door

Saturday, July 28, 2018

7 p.m.

“Beginning with its provocative title, The Spook Who Sat by the Door is perhaps the most powerfully political look at U.S. race relations in the early 1970s to have received a theatrical release….[T]he film tells a credible tale of a Black CIA agent who rebels against his role as a racial token and uses his training in counterrevolutionary tactics to organize a guerrilla group in Chicago to fight racism. The story proved so controversial that United Artists was content to let [it] sink out of sight, although it did attract an avid following among scholars and fans of African American cinema.”

— Harvard Film Archive

Film Details

Country: USA
Language: English
Year: 1973
Running time: 102 min
Format: 35mm
Director: Ivan Dixon
Screenwriter: Sam Greenlee
Producer: Ivan Dixon and Sam Greenlee
Cinematographer: Michel Hugo
Editors: Michael Kahn and Thomas Penick
Source: Private collection print; screens courtesy of the Dixon family

Films and schedules may be subject to change.

Modern Cinema’s Founding Supporters are Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein. Generous support is provided by Nion McEvoy and the Susan Wildberg Morgenstein Fund.

Community support for Black Powers: Reframing Hollywood is provided by the Museum of the African Diaspora.