It is unfortunate that Bill Cosby's legacy as an actor in big screen movie comedies is likely to hang upon the exceptionally bad entry on his resume known as "Leonard, Part 6." That film was made around the height of Bill Cosby's popularity as a television star and has gone down in history as one of the all time biggest comedy flops in Hollywood history. Trying to find somebody who finds "Leonard, Part 6" funny is like trying to find an original idea in the GOP political platform.
A much more fruitful undertaking is to head back in time a decade or so earlier than that fecund era when Bill Cosby was the King of Prime Time to find a series of movie comedies that Cos made that have held up much better than some the other movies released around the same period. This series of movies form a loose trilogy.
Uptown Saturday Night
"Uptown Saturday Night" casts Bill Cosby in the first of three comedies made during the 1970s that would be directed by his good friend Sidney Poitier. Each of these three films belong to the blaxploitation comedy genre that features mostly African-American actors working within a blue collar urban milieu. The comedy starts when Cosby's character convinces Poitier's character to head to an uptown nightclub which becomes the victim of a robbery. Things take a turn when Poitier learns that his stolen pants now are home to a winning lottery ticket.
Let's Do It Again
The title of this Bill Cosby comedy is the result of the fun that Poitier and he had making "Uptown Saturday Night." The first film was a big enough success to allow a reteaming with the addition of Jimmie Walker and John Amos from "Good Times." Although considered part of a trilogy, Cosby and Poitier both play different characters. The comedy of "Let's Do It Again" derives from the hypnotizing of Jimmie Walker's boxer into thinking he's a great fighter in order for him to be a much better boxer and everyone involved to clean up at the gambling parlor.
A Piece of the Action
The final piece of the trilogy that began with "Uptown Saturday Night" ended with "A Piece of the Action." This comedy features Cosby and Poitier as thieves who decide to go straight by helping juvenile delinquents go straight. All is going well until the sordid past of these thieves is discovered and they are forced into taking part in one last caper.
For more from Timothy Sexton, Yahoo! Voices first Writer of the Year, check out:
- Bill Cosby
- Sidney Poitier
- Uptown Saturday Night