Sunday, January 06, 2008

Beverly Hills Cop and Framing Blackness

I had never seen the movie Beverly Hills Cop until this assignment. After finishing the book Framing Blackness it made me pick up on things in the movie that I would have never caught on to before. African Americans have been dealing with race and film for decades. It has been a constant struggle because the film industry has portrayed white superiority on the big screen for years. For black actors this is how their “blackness” becomes framed, because they are forced to fit into white ideology.
Eddie Murphy is one of the greatest African American comedians, especially during the 1980’s. Yet during this time films were reluctant to cast black actors unless they had a white “buddy”. This gives them a loyal sidekick, a person that a white audience could relate to and kept the idea of racial hierarchies. Beverly Hills Cop is considered part of the biracial buddy films because Eddie Murphy is isolated as the only black man in an all white environment. The movie did very well, making millions of dollars in the box office and although it is a buddy film, Eddie Murphy was able to shine through as the true star. The white cops of Beverly Hills who surround him just become props for the jokes and gags that Murphy pulls on them.
Murphy is the street smart cop from Detroit, who doesn’t follow the rules, but is a great cop. While doing undercover work in Beverly Hills, to solve a murder, Murphy doesn’t even think to change his look to fit in to the fancy hotels, offices and privet clubs. Instead he uses the racial and class tension to crash these places, while always managing to have the upper hand in the situation. The racial tensions in the film are obvious and this is a prime example of a buddy film.


Blogger Vladigogo said...

Can you be more specific about what you mean in your last paragraph? You give a summary at first and then when you dig into the issues you cut your blog short. How are the racial tensions obvious? Our author thinks the racial issues have been removed from the film. Is it a buddy film? Does it fit King's idea of a buddy film?

8:31 PM  

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