UC Berkeley Library

African Americans in Film

Big Fella (1937)

Directed by J. Elder Wills. Featuring Paul Robeson, Elisabeth Welch, Eldon Grant, Roy Emerton, Marcelle Rogez. A classic musical celebrating the legendary actor, singer and activist Paul Robeson. Joe, a dockworker in Marseilles, finds a missing boy and takes him to stay with a local cafe singer, Miranda where they both become surrogate parents to the child. 73 min.
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Big Momma's House (2000)

Directed by Raja Gosnell. Cast: Martin Lawrence, Nia Long, PaulGiamatti, Jascha Washington, Terrence Dashon Howard, AnthonyAnderson, Ella Mitchell, Carl Wright, Phyllis Applegate. Atough-talking FBI agent is sent to Georgia to protect a singlemom and her son from an escaped convict. He goes incognito bydisguising himself as the woman's grandma. 98 min.
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Bird (1988)

Directed by Clint Eastwood. Cast: Forest Whitaker, DianeVenora, Michael Zelniker, Sam Wright, Keith David. A grippingdrama of the life of legendary jazz saxophonist Charlie"Yardbird" Parker. Past and future overlap as the movieexplores Bird's relationship with his steadfast wife ChanParker, his soaring skill and destructive excesses with alcoholand drugs. Film uses actual recordings by Parker skillfullyblending his solo recordings with modern musicians attuned tothe Yardbird's improvisations. 160 min.

Birmingham Black Bottom: The First BlackTalkies.

Contents: Music hath harms / Cast: SpencerWilliams, Roberta Hyson, Curtis Mosby's DixielandBlue Blowers -- The melancholy dame / Cast: EvelynPreer, Spencer Williams, Roberta Hyson -- Framingof the shrew / Cast: Evelyn Preer, Edward Thompson-- Oft in the silly night / Cast: Spencer Williams,Roberta Hyson. These groundbreaking comedies, thebrainchild of pioneer director, Al Christie, arefrom the first series of talking pictures writtenand conceived for black performers, rare shortsfrom 1929.

Birth of a Nation (1915)

Directed by D.W. Griffith. Cast: Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry Walthall, Miriam Cooper, Mary Alden, Ralph Lewis, George Seigmann, Walter Long. Adapted from Thomas Dixon's novel, The Clansman. A Civil War spectacular, Portraying "life in the South" during and after the Civil War as revealed in a story depicting the war itself, the conflict between the defeated Southerners and emancipated renegade Negroes, the despoiling of the South during the carpetbagger period, and the revival of the Southern white man's honor through the efforts of the Ku Klux Klan.124 min.

Black & White (1991)

Written and directed by Boris Frumin. Cast: Elena Shevchenko,Gilbert Giles, Patrick Godfrey, Gina Delio, Hayward Boling,Debra Jo Jackson, Stephen Parris. The story of Lisa, a youngSoviet emigre studying medicine in Manhattan and Roy, anAfrican American building superintendent on New York's LowerEast Side. Edgy and emotionally complex, this nocturnal lovestory is suffused with the melancholy and anxiety of notbelonging, and full of the sad understanding of what it meansto be a stranger. 96 min.

Black and White (1999)

Directed by James Toback. Cast: RobertDowney, Jr., Brooke Shields, Mike Tyson.When Rich Bower decides to reinvent himselfas a hip-hop impresario after a life ofcrime, he is confronted by the internecinedealings of the white world. Documentaryfilmmaker Sam Donager and her husband enterthe scene as they follow a group ofprivileged uptown teenagers who are drawnto the hip-hop lifestyle. 99 min. Credits and other information from the InternetMovie Database

Black Anthology Cartoons. Vol. 1 (1937-1947)

Contents: Uncle Tom's cabana (1947, 9 min.) -- UncleTom's bungalow (1937, 8 min.) -- Eliza on ice (1944, 6min.) -- It happened to Caruso (1938, 7 min.) -- Vodoo inHarlem (1938, 7 min.) -- Popeye ala mode (1945, 7 min.) --Swing wedding (1937, 8 min.) A collection of sevenstereotypical cartoons of Afro-Americans produced in the'30's and '40's. Includes parodies of Harriet BeecherStowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin and of Jack Benny withappearances by cartoon characters Mighty Mouse, Popeye andBosko.Uncle Tom's Cabana: Uncle Tom went from cabin tocabana to ward off the mortage.

Black Anthology Cartoons. Vol. 2 (1930's)

Contents: The old house (1936, 10 min.) -- Bosko'sEaster eggs (1937, 8 min.) -- Bosko and the pirates(1937, 8 min.) -- Bosko and the cannibals (1937, 10min.) -- Bosko in Bagdad (1938, 10 min.) -- Bosko thedoughboy (1931, 7 min.) -- Old anything (1931, 6 min.).A collection of seven stereotypical cartoons ofAfro-Americans produced in the 1930s starring WarnerBros.' first cartoon star, Bosko. Created by HughHarman and Rudolf Ising he was featured from 1929-1933.

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