Sight and Sound - 12/01/2012
"A totally forgotten civil-rights American New Wave freakout and the first film that blacklistee Jules Dassin had shot on American soil since THIEVES' HIGHWAY in 1949..."
UPTIGHT is an updated remake of John Ford's THE INFORMER (35). The Irish Republican rebels of the original are replaced by black activists, Dublin becomes the Cleveland ghetto, and "the troubles" of 1921 are transformed into the days just following the assassination of Martin Luther King. Julian Mayfield plays an itinerant street sweeper who betrays his militant friends to the fuzz, resulting in an underground all-points bulletin to exact vengeance on the squealer. Ruby Dee portrays a prostitute who befriends the snitch as he eludes his revolutionary ex-buddies. Jules Dassin's unrelenting directorial pace is complemented by the driving jazz score of Booker T. Jones.