Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Top of the Heap (1972)

Top of the Heap (1972)

Christopher St. John wrote, produced, directed and starred in this tale of embittered, violence-prone black Washington DC cop George Lattimer who is looked upon as the bottom of the pile by almost everyone, including black dope pushers, white demonstrators (who throw urine-filled balloons at him), and a white colleague who arrests and brutalises him after spotting the skin colour but not the uniform under his overcoat.

Retreating from such everyday rebukes, George – who is married to a wife (Florence St. John) and father to a rebellious daughter (Almeria Quinn) he never really wishes to see, instead opting to keep time with a beatnik mistress (Paula Kelly) – finds relief in satirical fantasy ranging from the jungle to outer space.

He imagines himself the first black astronaut on the moon, planting an upside-down flag there, bedding a white nurse (former Playmate Ingeborg Sørensen) in the space-recovery hospital, riding in a tickertape parade in his Alabama hometown, and applauded by the president.

George’s day-to-day existence explains his need to escape into whatever anti-reality his brain can conjure. His wife chastises him every time he walks out the door, shaming the officer for wanting to play “big nigger cop” instead of raising his family.

When he plays by the rules, he’s passed over for promotions, no matter how high he scores on the Sergeant’s exam, and the criminals he tussles with show no respect, tossing out racial epithets, even after he’s got a knee on their necks.

George Lattimer
Christopher St. John
Black Chick
Paula Kelly
Viola Lattimer
Florence St. Peter
Valerie Lattimer
Almeria Quinn
Bobby Gelman
Leonard Kuras
Captain Walsh
John Alderson
Tim Cassidy
Patrick McVey
Taxi Driver
Allen Garfield
Nurse Swenson
Ingeborg Sørensen
Hip Passenger
Ron Douglas
Dope Dealer
John McMurtry
Rookie Policeman
Brian Cutler
Club Owner
Jerry Jones
Bouncer
Willie Harris

Director
Christopher St. John