Godfather of Harlem on Starzplay: What is the prequel series to American Gangster worth? – News Series

Godfather of harlem on starzplay: what is the prequel series to american gangster worth? - news series

Available on Starzplay in France, the series “Godfather of Harlem” sees Forest Whitaker playing Bumpy Johnson, a gangster involved in the fight for civil rights. But what is this adapted series of real events worth?

What is it about ?

In Harlem, in the Sixties: the collision between the criminal life of Bumpy Johnson and the fight for the civil rights. A prequel to the American Gangster movie.

Created by Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein.

Available on Starzplay. 2 out of 10 episodes seen.

Who is it with?

Forest Whitaker plays the main role of the series, that of Bumpy Johnson. Historical figures appear, such as Italian mafioso Vincent Gigante (Vincent D’Onofrio), the first African-American to become a member of Congress, Adam Clayton Powell Jr (Giancarlo Esposito) or Malcolm X (played by Nigél Thatch). The latter had already played the leader of the Nation of Islam in Selma d’Ava DuVernay.

Ilfenesh Hadera (seen in the Show Me A Hero miniseries) plays Mayme Johnson, Bumpy’s wife and Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, his daughter Elise.

Well worth a look ?

If we’re talking about this prequel series to the American Gangster movie, it’s because Ridley Scott’s directing begins with Bumpy Johnson handing out turkeys in Harlem for Thanksgiving. A few minutes later, he died in a restaurant. Godfather of Harlem takes place five years before, when Bumpy Johnson leaves Alcatraz prison and returns to Harlem after eleven years of incarceration for “conspiracy in drugs”. He is going to confront Vincent Gigante, member of the Italian mafia trafficking in heroin.

Bumpy’s previous life (e.g. his alliance with Lucky Luciano for heroin trafficking in the 1930s) is glossed over, and the series focuses on how Johnson wants to rid Harlem of heroin. If need be, the hard way. What the series captures wonderfully is the duality of Bumpy Johnson, who dreams of himself as a man representing the people and who acts as a low-level mobster. The face sometimes docile sometimes ferocious Forest whitaker allows to play with these two facets which he masters with talent, alternating between softness and extreme violence.

The show suffers from an overflow of secondary characters which hinders its progress, including a musician seeking to break through, a woman addicted to heroin, the FBI tracking down Bumpy, Gigante’s daughter, which unnecessarily complicates the story. However, this reproach could not taint this magnificently pictorial show with a seductive atmosphere for fans of mafia stories. With the vision of the first two episodes, we can not wait to continue the adventures of Johnson in the reconquest of Harlem.

As the world of cinema often complements that of series and vice versa, a film covers the youth of Bumpy Johnson, The Lords of Harlem (Hoodlum in original version), already scripted by Chris Brancato. If you add to it American Gangster and this series, his life will have no more secrets for you!

Did you notice all these details hidden in “The Godfather”?

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