29 June 2014 | bkoganbing
Let's revive the minstrel show
I'm not sure and I'm certain to be corrected if I'm wrong, but Minstrel Man might very well be the only PRC film ever to get recognition from the Academy. It received two Oscar nominations for Best Song and for musical scoring.
A studio known for its pinch penny budgets for noirs, westerns, and a few horror films producing a musical? It's worth the novelty just to watch the thing.
A year before Minstrel Man came out Paramount even used Technicolor in its minstrel film Dixie that starred Bing Crosby. The folks at PRC thought that maybe a minstrel film would work for them. Of course they did not have Crosby or color.
The lead here is Benny Fields who was a well known song and dance man and became even better known when he teamed on the stage and in life with Blossom Seeley. Blossom was smart enough to stay away from this.
Good song and dance man that he was Fields just couldn't act. When not singing he's wooden and as charming as a wet napkin. The story covers some thirty years of the life of Fields's character Dixie Boy Johnson.
The climax involves the revival of minstrel shows. I mean in 1944, really?
Seasoned performers like Gladys George and Roscoe Karns are wasted as the surrogate parents to the daughter of Dixie Boy Johnson. And a pretty perky blond like Molly Lamont wants to hide that beauty under cork makeup. Give me a break.
It's more than the subject matter that's kept this film under wraps.