Cleopatra Jones: Blaxploitation and Tactical Alliances with Shakespeare

  • Francesca T. Royster


At first glance, Cleopatra Jones (1973) would seem to bear little resemblance to Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. This film, set primarily in Los Angeles, is historically and geographically distanced from both Shakespeare’s England and Cleopatra’s Egypt. Indeed, one of the films selling points is its contemporaneity: car chases down gritty urban alleyways; funky afros, leather jackets and other clothing that scream “late twentieth century” and allusions to historical events specific to the late 1960s through early 1970s: the Watts uprising, the Black Panthers and COINTELPRO, the feminist movement and the development of the “blaxploitation” film genre of which it is a part.


Black Woman Police Chief Black Panther Party Black Film Black Nationalism 
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© Francesca T. Royster 2003

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  • Francesca T. Royster

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