That's Black Entertainment (1990)

  |  Documentary, History, Music

That's Black Entertainment (1990) Poster

This documentary presents clips from black films from 1929 through 1957. Musical performers include Paul Robeson (in Song of Freedom), Bessie Smith (St. Louis Blues), Eubie Blake and the ... See full summary »



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William Greaves , G. William Jones (co-director)


G. William Jones

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18 March 2005 | preppy-3
| Very good documentary
William Greaves hosts this fascinating documentary about the underground black film made from the 1920s to the 1950s. Black people saw they were being portrayed negatively in Hollywood films so they went out to make their own films that showed them as they really were. These were made only to be shown in all-black cinemas (cinemas were segregated back then). Most of these films are gone forever but this shows clips from a number that are still around.

The movies spoke out against racism and the terrible conditions that black ghettos were in but--other than that--they were like any other Hollywood film. This film showed me some things I never knew like: How some Hollywood studios used white actors in black face to play black people because they didn't think black people could act! Bing Crosby is shown in one! Black actors had to go to Europe to get roles. Paul Robeson went to England to make movies---and he STILL found himself cast as a slave! Horribly negative stereotypes where shown in cartoons.

Lena Horne, Ethel Waters, Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway all got their start in black independent films. Even Sammy Davis Jr. shown here at the age of 8 in his first film.

Very good and short (about 1 hour) docu on a subject most people are unaware of. Worth catching.

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Documentary | History | Music




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