16 June 2014 | runamokprods
An interesting moment in film history
Arguably more interesting as a social document and a step forward in mainstreams films dealing with race, than as a drama.
On a slave ship carrying Africans from their homeland to slavery in the American south, a charismatic young warrior attempts to organize a revolt. Meanwhile, Dorothy Dandridge plays captain Curt Jurgens' mistress, featuring interracial kissing and sexuality at a time very few American films would go near the subject. Add in the complexity that Dandridge's subjugated Lucy is a far more empathetic figure than any white character, and that Tamango and his fellow captives are show to be in every way – morally, strategically as well as physically better than their white captors, and you have a film that was way ahead of it's time.
That said there is odd flat quality in the drama and less than thrilling acting and film-making that keep the actual story from living up to it's potential. But it's still pretty involving, and worth seeing at least as a part of films' maturing around racial issues.
Interestingly, blacklisted director John Berry, went on to direct another racially 'ahead of it's time' film; 1974's "Claudine", one of the first mainstream American films to try and intelligently deal with the struggles of poor urban African Americans without falling into exploitation, violence or cliché.