I am so excited to be revisiting this topic! Last February, I dug into the Pioneers of African American Cinema box set released by Kino and had a wonderful, educational time.
For those of you unfamiliar with the collection, it is a selection of films starring (and in many cases produced and directed by) black Americans. Independent producers of what were called Race films had to fight and claw for every penny of their budgets and the untapped demand for entertainment aimed at African-American audiences meant that many of these films were quite literally played to death. Surviving films from the silent era are particularly rare and prized.
As a preview, here are the films I covered last year:
The Flying Ace (1926) A perfectly delightful adventure picture from the Norman film company in Jacksonville, Florida.
Two Knights of Vaudeville (1915) An early, controversial comedy that features real stage talent.
Body and Soul (1925) Oscar Micheaux directs Paul Robeson in this story of religious hypocrisy. A must-see.
Eleven P.M. (1928) Surely the strangest film in the set, Richard Maurice wrote, directed and starred in this tale of revenge.
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