Just received the sad, sad word that Sam Greenlee has passed away today… Strange that he passed today… Today is Malcolm’s birthday… He was an inspiration, creatively, politically and personally… i had the privilege of interviewing him… This post is from last year when my film MACHETERO was being theatrically self-released… Rest In Poetry…
“I dug it. I loved the film.”
– Sam Greenlee on MACHETERO
Sam Greenlee is the author of the controversial fictional novel The Spook Who Sat By The Door. He is also one of the producers and co-screenwriter of the film adaption of the novel directed by Ivan Dixon. Sam explored the theme of a long overdue Black revolution in America in Spook. It was a bold and dangerous work. The film was released in 1973 and was a top box office earner for a number of weeks until the FBI went on a campaign to ban the film out of fear that the film would incite race riots. With the help of United Artists the distributor of The Spook Who Sat By The Door, it was pulled out of theaters and the prints disappeared. Director Ivan Dixon managed to save one good copy of the film and kept it stored in a vault. The film wouldn’t be found until his death. The film would later became a cult classic of the Blaxploitation era even though The Spook Who Sat By The Door was anything but an exploitation film.
If you haven’t seen the film check out the trailer…
The book and the film were a huge influence on my film MACHETERO (machetero-movie.com). i first came in contact with Sam Greenlee when i called him in Chicago to send him a copy of MACHETERO before he came to NYC on a tour he was doing with Spook. When he came to NYC i went to four of the five screenings he held. We hung out and got to know each other. He had seen MACHETERO and really liked it. It was a huge compliment for me.
Sam came back to the Northeast to do another tour with Spook and to promote his new book Baghdad Blues. i asked if Sam would do an interview about his work and he graciously agreed. At the end of the interview i asked him about my film MACHETERO and this is what Sam had to say. Naturally i was humbled and ecstatic by his insights into the film.
MACHETERO is on Vimeo On Demand