Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St Jacques reprise the roles of NYPD detectives Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson that they created in Cotton Comes To Harlem (1970).
The Harlem-based detectives are faced with a baffling mystery – a rash of murders bearing the trademark of legendary black gangster Charleston Blue who was gunned down in 1932 by Dutch Schultz. Yet suddenly his trademark of blue-steel razors is appearing alongside slit throats.
Gravedigger and Coffin Ed use their ingenuity to get to the bottom of the mystery involving a celebrated fashion photographer named Joe (Peter De Anda) and his naive girlfriend, Carol (Jonelle Allen).
Amid hassles with their superior officer, Captain Bryce (Percey Rodrigues) the two detectives get demoted to beat cops (pictured above), employ various silly disguises, and survive lots of slapstick antics.
Donny Hathaway composed and conducted the score and sings the title tune. Quincy Jones was the music supervisor.
The film was based on the novel The Heat’s On by Chester Himes. Coffin Ed and Gravedigger didn’t appear onscreen again until A Rage in Harlem (1991), featuring Sam Pierce and George Wallace in the roles.
Coffin Ed Johnson
Raymond St Jacques
Peter De Anda