The Spook Who Sat By The Door

Thursday, April 7th, 7:30pm

Under the Influence of Sam Greenlee

The Spook Who Sat By the Door

Ivan Dixon, 1973, 103 min.

The Spook Who Sat by the Door is based on the novel by the same name by Sam Greenlee. It is both a satire of the civil rights struggle in the United States of the late 1960s and a serious attempt to focus on the issue of black militancy. Dan Freeman, the titular protagonist, is enlisted in the Central Intelligence Agency's elitist espionage program as its token black. Upon mastering agency tactics, however, he drops out to train young Chicago blacks as "Freedom Fighters." As a story of one man's reaction to ruling-class hypocrisy, the film is autobiographical and personal. The novel and the film also dramatize the CIA's history of giving training to persons and/or groups who later utilize their specialized intelligence training against the agency.

Reading and Q&A with Sam Greenlee