Harlem Nights

Year: 1989
Production Co: Eddie Murphy Productions
Director: Eddie Murphy
Writer: Eddie Murphy
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Danny Aiello

Eddie Murphy was up front about his adoration of Richard Pryor in most of his early stand-up days, so this would have been very much a passion project for him, not to mention the sum total of everything he thought was cool - a distinctly black culture in a locality synonymous with his race dressed in sharp suits and playing with guns.

Pryor is Sugar Ray, owner and operator of an illegal casino in the titular black neighbourhood who has to contend with the various low lives and gangsters hoping to muscle in on his turf.

Murphy is his erstwhile understudy and son figure Quick, and as the writer/director, he crafts a fantasy pre-Prohibition era Harlem peppered with memorable personalities. It's adequate entertainment but nothing outstanding, though the script is funny for its gags and profanity.

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