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‘The Super Cops’ at Spoke the Hub

Batman returns: Forgotten film about Brooklyn’s ‘Super Cops’ to screen in P’Slope

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Batman and Robin are coming back to Brooklyn.

On March 18, a pair of film buffs will hold a screening in Park Slope of a little-known 1970s exploitation-era movie based on the story of two real-life renegade Bedford-Stuyvesant cops who were nicknamed for Gotham City’s favorite crime-fighting duo. “The Super Cops,” a 1974 film from “Shaft” director Gordon Parks, tells the tale of Dave Greenberg (Batman) and Bob Hantz (Robin), who were known for flouting procedure and pulling unorthodox stunts in order to rack up a huge number of arrests.

“They were overwhelmed and prevented from doing their jobs by rampant corruption in the NYPD,” said Philip Swift, a filmmaker and co-curator of the screening, of the film’s plot. “Every step of the way they kept getting blocked. So they decided to become these vigilantes.”

Swift acknowledges the story is probably romanticized — the dynamic duo in the flick karate-kick bad guys in the face, smash through windows, and leap from elevated train tracks in their pursuit of criminals. But at the very least, it is all part of the legend that surrounded the twosome in their day — one 1972 New York magazine article reported that the pair earned their nicknames in an improbable-sounding incident that saw Hantz jumping from a rooftop and Greenberg commandeering a bus, then riding its bumper while chasing down a car of hitmen who were out to kill them.

“They would hide in cardboard boxes while these drug deals were going down then jump out like, ‘We gotcha!’ ” said Swift.

The film is screening as part of the monthly “Union Street Film Series,” which Swift co-curates with dancer and multimedia artist Sarah Dahnke. The pair typically screen shorts and works by local filmmakers. But Swift stumbled upon “The Super Cops” after reading that it was one of “Hot Fuzz” director Edgar Wright’s favorites, and was amazed by how the film had captured a bygone era in Brooklyn in all its gritty glory.

“A lot takes place in Bed-Stuy, which now 40 year later, looks so different, especially with the current direction of gentrifica­tion,” he said. “It was interesting to see how it looked in the 1970s. It is a perfect time capsule.”

“The Super Cops” at Spoke the Hub in Park Slope [748 Union St. at Sixth Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 408-3234, www.spokethehub.org]. 7 pm. $10 suggested donation.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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