Home Read Classic Album Review: Across 110th Street Soundtrack | MGM Soul Cinema Series

Classic Album Review: Across 110th Street Soundtrack | MGM Soul Cinema Series

The Anthony Quinn / Yaphet Kotto buddy pic's score is worth crossing the street for.


This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Who’s the cat who won’t cop out when there’s danger all about? Shaft. Damn right. But there’s plenty more where he came from.

Back in the swinging ’60s and ’70s, there were more blaxploitation movie heroes than you could shake your booty at — Superfly, Slaughter, Foxy Brown, Coffy, Friday Foster, Truck Turner, Sweet Sweetback, hell, even Blacula. And like John Shaft, when they went strutting down 125th Street in Harlem in their platform boots and ostrich-feather hat, it was usually to the funky backbeat of a personalized theme song by Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Bobby Womack or James Brown.

Good luck finding most of those old flicks at your local video chain. But thanks to the Soul Cinema Series, you can get down to the original grooves. MGM has dug through the vaults and reissued the soundtracks to a slew of African-American movie classics, with every wah-wah guitar lick, soul-sister singer, conga-drum break and flute solo superbly intact. Here’s the score on the scores. Can you dig it?

Across 110th Street

The Year: 1972.

The Plot: A white cop (Anthony Quinn) and a black cop (Yaphet Kotto) try to find black robbers who took the Mafia for $300,000 — before a sadistic mobster (Anthony Franciosa) reaches them.

The Music: Soul man Bobby Womack and jazz trombone legend J.J. Johnson team up on this stylish score, highlighted by Womack’s bittersweet title cut and some tasty instrumentals.

The Best Line: “You know, you done real good not to say anything to the man,” from one of several dialogue samples included.

The Funkiest Track: The rubbery Hang On In There, which marries the bounce of the Sanford And Son theme to some snappy Memphis horns.

The Love Theme: The aptly titled Harlem Love Theme, with its bluesy, 3 a.m. ambience.

The Last Word: Worth crossing the street for.