CLEOPATRA JONES

 
Full Name: Cleopatra Jones
Nationality: American
Organization: Unnamed Secret Agency
Occupation Agent

Creator: Max Julien
Time Span: 1973 - 1975
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Cleopatra Jones is an agent with the U.S. Government.
       Exactly which agency she answers to is never specified but her beat seems to be the entire world as in her two scripted adventures, she operates in Turkey, the U.S. and Hong Kong, showing a wide range of territory.
       Wherever she goes, though, she goes with incredible style and panache for Ms. Jones loves to be flamboyant. Not for this tall (6'2") black beauty is the idea of quietly infiltrating a gang. She takes her cue from the James Bond approach to fighting the enemies of her government - step forward, proudly identify yourself, and then kick the bad guys' butts. Ms. Jones does it in stylish boots and bell bottoms with furs and feathers to match.
       When she is not travelling the world on assignments, she prefers to relax in her home in Los Angeles with her long-time boy friend, Reuben, who runs a halfway house for recovering drug addicts in the ghettos of that city. A woman who grew up in that impoverished region, Jones has never forgotten how bad her life was and how bad it remains for so many others, which makes her fight against drug lords even more personal.

       In 1973 at the height of the blaxpoitation movement in films, with Shaft dominating the action genre, Warner Brothers decided that a female action hero was called for. Actor and writer Max Julien, a veteran of this movement, created the character of Jones, from one account, for his girl friend but the role eventually went to the incredibly luscious Tamara Dobson, a former model who had only recently taken to acting. She definitely made it her own.
       Two years later, a sequel was made but this time the success was nowhere as good as the brief period of black action heroes was waning. No further adventures were made.

       Veteran writer Ron Goulart was given the task of novelizing the two adventures for paperback release.

BOOKS

Number of Books:2
First Appearance:1973
Last Appearance:1975

1 Cleopatra Jones Cleopatra Jones
Written by Ron Goulart
Copyright: 1973

When Cleopatra Jones wrecks havoc on drug lord "Momma"'s poppy fields in Turkey, the angry crime boss goes after the agent's boyfriend in Los Angeles. This is not a smart move. - A novelization of the first movie.

2 Cleopatra Jones And The Casino Of Gold Cleopatra Jones And The Casino Of Gold
Written by Ron Goulart
Copyright: 1975

The Dragon Lady, a white female crime boss in the Hong Kong area, has kidnapped two American agents who were getting too close to her operations. Cleopatra Jones is sent to get them free and to close the Lady down for good. - A novelization of the second and final movie.

MOVIES

Number of Movies:2
First Appearance:1973
Last Appearance:1975

1 Cleopatra Jones Cleopatra Jones
Director: Jack Starrett
Writers: Max Julien, Sheldon Keller
Actors: Tamara Dobson as Cleopatra Jones, Bernie Casey as Reuben, Brenda Sykes as Tiffany, Antonio Fargas as Doodlebug, Dan Frazer as Crawford
Released: 1973

Jones is given the job of taking down drug smugglers and she is doing too good of a job, so much so that a major kingpin known as Mommy is now out for her head.

2 Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold
Director: Charles Bail
Writer: William Tennant
Actors: Tamara Dobson as Cleopatra Jones, Stella Stevens as Bianca Javin the Dragon Lady, Ni Tien as Mi Ling Tong, Norman Fell as Stanley Nagel, Albert Popwell as Matthew Johnson
Released: 1975

Two fellow operatives and long-time friends of Cleopatra Jones have gone missing in Hong Kong and she heads there to find out what happened to them.

MY COMMENTS

       When I give a mediocre grade to a series, it usually translates to a bad job by the author. In the case of Ms. Jones, though, it should not. Mr. Goulart, an excellent and highly enjoyable writer who has written a lot of things I have been fond of over the years, did as good a job with the subject matter as anyone could ever hope. The problem is that the two novelizations were of action-oriented kick-butt non-stop go...go...go and not anything you can sink your teeth into.
       I would not recommend reading these for the reason mention above. I would recommend watching at least one of the movies only for nostalgia purposes. There is a very good reason why the blaxploitation sub-genre came and went so quickly. Watch either of the movies and you should see why.
       Nothing against Ms. Dobson, though, as she is a pleasure to watch at any time.

GRADE

My Grade: C

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