After watching Uptight and reading and watching the Informer, I believe the Informer plot was not an appropriate medium to tell the story of the black revolutionaries. Despite some superficial similarities, the Irish and Black causes had different circumstances that were not adequately taken into consideration. One glaring example where this can be found is in each informant’s motive. Gypo informs because he seemingly “needs” the money, whether for basic necessities or for passage to America where there are better opportunities to succeed. Gypo meditates on his decision before pulling the trigger. Tank informs out of spite, in the heat of the moment, not because he needs the money to survive or to help the Black cause in some noble way. Both stories are centered around betrayal, but it is unclear what the greater purpose of Tank’s betrayal was. This difference in motive also highlights the different lenses that the stories are viewed—one national and the other racial. Things that would be considered endearing and humorous or even neutral qualities for the Irish would be considered disdainful for the Black community. For example, association with crime (stealing of guns), Tank’s degeneracy and absent fatherhood, Clarence’s relationship with the police, and Laurie’s association with welfare and prostitution are all rooted in Jim Crow era stereotypes like Sambo, Uncle Tom, and Jezebel. Although the Uptight movie was not meant to be a mockery of Black people, it is still viewed through a racial lens that likens the behavior of an individual to the behavior of the community.
If the purpose of Uptight was to be some sort of social commentary, it seems as if the message got muddled within the plot. Was it meant to give a view into the inner working and conflicts of the Black Power movement? Was it meant to show us the mental toll of the movement on those within the organization, similar to Gypo’s mental devolution in the Informer? Further, did Jules Dassin, of white Ukrainian heritage, being the director largely contribute to why this remake missed the mark due to his lack of understanding of both communities? Despite being a part of the black community, I am left with more question with this film than the Irish film it was adapted from.