UC Berkeley Library

1940-1949

Midnight Ramble: Oscar Micheaux and theStory of Race Movies.

Recounts the story of race movies produced forAfro-Americans from the 1920s through 1950 andthe role played by Oscar Micheaux, the leadingAfro-American producer and director. Thesemovies were designed for Afro-Americans andwere frequently shown at midnight. Theypresented Afro-Americans in a positive light.Featuring interviews with Afro-American actorsand actresses, and historians. 58 min.
Bibliography on thistopic: Seeseparate bibliography of books, articles,and websites about Oscar Micheaux

Miracle in Harlem (1948)

Directed by Jack Saindlin. Cast: Hilda Offay,Sheila Guyse, William Greaves, Kenneth Freeman,Stepin Fetchit, Savannah Churchill. A sweet oldwoman who runs a candy manufacturing businessout of her home with the help of her niece anda young divinity student, is swindled out ofher business by a big businessman and his son,who has connections with the underworld. Twomurders follow in this suspenseful film thatalso has touches of humor. A film produced byblacks for black audiences. 80 min. ; 999:2630

Mistaken Identity (aka. Murder withMusic) (1941)

Directed by George P. Quigley. Cast: NelleHill, George Oliver, Bill Dillard, Ken Renard,Noble Sissle, performances by Skippy Williams Band,Alston & Young. Louis the piano player is murderedby a knife-throwing killer in the middle of a showat Bill Smith's nightclub. Suspicion immediatelyfalls on Mike, an excaped convict, mainly due tostories being phoned into the city desk by nosyreporter Hal Ford. Hal has more than news on hismind, though - he has his eye on the club's mainattraction, Lola. The sexy singer is also Mike'sgirl when he's not in jail.

Motel the Operator (Motel der operayter) (USA, 1940)

Directed by Joseph Seiden. Cast: Chaim Tauber, Malvina Rappel, Maurice Kroner, Bertha Hart, Seymour Rechtzeit, Jacob Zanger, Yetta Zwerling, Gertrude Krause, Herman Rosen, Izidor Frankel. Motl, a poor laborer, loving husband and new father, leads cloakmakers in a strike for better working conditions. When he is severely injured by strikebreakers, his wife, Esther, and infant son are left destitute. Desperate to save her starving child, Esther gives him up for adoption to a wealthy couple, and then commits suicide. 89 min.

Mr. Skeffington (1944)

Directed by Vincent Sherman. Cast: Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel, Richard Waring, George Coulouris, Marjorie Riordan. Dealing openly with anti-Semitism and Nazi atrocities, the story spans World War I, Prohibition and the preliminary volley of World War II. Fanny thrives on the adulation of countless suiters before and after she marries Job Skeffington. Ravaged by age and illness, Fanny clings to Job's promise that "a woman is beautiful only when she is loved." 144 min.

Murder on Lenox Avenue (1941)

Directed by Arthur Dreifuss. Cast: Mamie Smith,Edna Mae Harris, Augustus Smith, Norman Astwood.The crooked founder of the Harlem Better BusinessLeague attempts to murder his respectedreplacement. Intertwined in this melodrama are theromantic mismatches of the member's ward. 65 min. Credits and other information from the Internet MovieDatabase

Murderers Are Amongst Us (Die Morder sind unter uns) (Germany, 1946)

Directed by Wolfgang Staudte. Cast: Hildegard Knef, Ernst Wilhelm Borchert, Erna Sellmer, Arno Paulsen, Wolfgang Dohnberg. In the aftermath of World War II, Susanne Wallner returns from a concentration camp to find that her apartment is occupied by Dr. Martens, a former officer in the German army who has been severely traumatized by the atrocities perpetrated by his superiors. The unlikely pair form a delicate friendship as they struggle to restore some normalcy to their hellishly bleak existence.

Mystery in Swing (1940)

Directed by Arthur Hoerl. Cast: Monte Hawley,Marguerite Whitten, Tommie Moore, The FourToppers, Ceepee Johnson & his Orchestra.Debonair crooner Prince Ellis strides acrossthe stage like royalty at his Harlem nightclub,where he's the focus of everyone's attention.Men envy him and women want to be with him,especially young Linda Carroll, who ignoresrepeated warnings to steer clear of thesinger's seductive allure.

Pages