Thursday, June 18, 2015

THE SUPER COPS airs on TCM June 23

What if THE FRENCH CONNECTION had been written by one of the masterminds behind the '60s BATMAN television show? The result would look almost entirely like 1974's THE SUPER COPS, a crime film starring David Selby and Ron Liebman.

Lorenzo Semple Jr., who wrote more than 80 episodes of BATMAN, wrote the film's screenplay, which adapts the true-life-story of New York City detectives known on the streets as "Batman & Robin." Ironically, the film also features two actors that would go on to play "Commissioner Gordon" in future BATMAN films: Pat Hingle, who played Gordon in the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher movies; and Selby, who provided the voice of the character in the animated feature film, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.

In the 2013 book "The Best Film You've Never Seen," filmmakers were asked to recommend obscure movies that they love. Director Edgar Wright (SHAUN OF THE DEAD, SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD) chose THE SUPER COPS. Here's what he had to say:
"It has the same gritty edge as THE FRENCH CONNECTION and SERPICO, but there's a slightly more absurdist comedy element to it. It has a hint of Joseph Heller or even the Marx Brothers. There's something about the tone that is very appealing. It has one foot in the gritty '70s cop genre and another foot in that kind of absurdist comedy. It's very interesting to see a real-life story played with a raised eyebrow."
For much of its post-theatrical life, THE SUPER COPS has been a difficult movie to see. It had the obligatory VHS release in the early '80s, but mostly disappeared from home video until Warner Archives made the film available as a boutique item a few years ago. It's since been added to Amazon's inventory of available titles.

THE SUPER COPS airs Tuesday, June 23 at Midnight on Turner Classic Movies.

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