If you saw the most recent incarnation of “Candyman” from director Nia DaCosta — all of it shot in Chicago, some of which takes place amid the remaining Cabrini row houses — you might be compelled to go back and compare how other films have captured the same neighborhood. Namely 1975′s “Cooley High,” about a group of Black teenagers in the ‘60s, bonded by camaraderie, good times and (by the film’s end) rising tensions as they stare down the final weeks of their senior year of high school.
The script is from “Good Times” and “What’s Happening!!” creator Eric Monte, and the story is loosely autobiographical; he grew up in those very same row houses we see on screen and the lead character Preach (played by Glynn Turman) is a version of Monte himself.
You can search the internet to see where the film is streaming. Or you can also head over to the website for the Black Film Archive, which offers not only a synopsis of the film but a link to stream it. That’s how I learned that “Cooley High” is available on YouTube for free (with ad breaks).