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Black Cast Films

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.

Moon Over Harlem (1939)

Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. Cast: Bud Harris,Cora Green, Izinetta Wilcox, Carl Gough, SlimThompson. An unusual musical melodrama with anall-black cast about Harlem widow Minnie whomarries "Dollar" Bill, a shady gambler who isafter her money and her attractive daughter,Sue. Sue is in love with Bob, an idealist whodecides to organize the community against localracketeers and does not realize that hiswould-be father-in-law Dollar Bill is one ofthem.

Movies of Color: Black SouthernCinema

A portrait of independent African-Americanfilmmaking in the Southern region of the UnitedStates prior to World War II ... an incredible bodyof truly independent filmmaking made under the mosthostile set of circumstances, including racialprejudice, unimaginably low budgets, and crudetechnical conditions. The film clips shown here,which are a mirror of the Black experience from the1920s through mid-1950's, focus on the innovativeworks of film makers Spencer Williams, OscarMicheaux, Eloyse Gist, and Clarence Muse.

Murder in Harlem (1935)

Directed by Oscar Micheaux. Cast: ClarenceBrooks, Dorothy Van Engle, Laura Bowman, AndrewBishop, Alec Lovejoy, Bee Freeman. A youngwoman is murdered at the National Chemical Labsand the nightwatchman is arrested. Then thescene shifts back three years to a man who fellin love with a woman but was unable to expresshis true feelings. Now he is a lawyer and thewoman he loved is the sister of thenightwatchman who is on trial for murder.Together, they find the real murderer and fallin love again. 95 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

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.

Oscar Micheaux, Film Pioneer.

Oscar Micheaux is remembered for his work as apioneer producer-director whose films offered apositive image and an alternative for AfricanAmericans in the 1920s and 1930s. The program isbuilt around the on-camera reminiscences of twoperformers who appeared in Micheaux films: BeeFreeman, and Lorenzo Tucker. Also included aredramatic reenactments of Micheaux directing andtouring the country to sell his films. Dramaticsequences: Danny Glover (as Micheaux). c1981. 28min.

Paradise in Harlem (1939)

Performer: Frank Wilson, Mamie Smith, Edna MaeHarris, Lucky Millinder and his orchestra, JuanitaHall Singers. Black comic Lem Anderson doesminstrel comedy on the vaudeville circuit, butdreams of becoming a serious stage actor. When hewitnesses a mob hit, he is forced to leave town. Heheads down south to find work, but he is plagued bypersonal demons and a drinking habit. Just as allseems lost, he is called back to New York to starin Shakespeare's play Othello, but when themobsters learn he has returned, they resolve tosilence him for good. 82 min.

Princess Tam Tam (1935)

Directed by Edmond T. Greville. Cast:Josephine Baker, Albert Prejean, Robert Arnoux,Germaine Aussy, Georges Peclet, VivianeRomance, Jean Gallard. An exotic Pygmalion-likemusical comedy about a French author who goesto North Africa to write a novel but becomesdistracted--then entranced--by a native girlwhom he transforms into a "princess." 80 min.;
Credits and other information from the InternetMovie Database

Race Movies: The Popular Art of the BlackRenaissance

Explores the involvement of black filmmakers infilmmaking, from its earliest days through the1920s with particular emphasis on the work of JamesWeldon Johnson, Oscar Micheaux, and Richard D.Maurice. Focus is on the movies that were made andthe production companies that produced them. 1985.20 min.

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