I'll come up with something in a minute.

Black Cinema

It occurred to me today that I haven’t seen much about what used to be called Race Films. That is, movies made for a black audience with black actors and sometimes with black writers, directors and producers. These were the sort of movies that would have things like “An All Colored Cast” on the on the poster and would rarely be shown to white audiences. These were before the Blacksplotation period of filmmaking. I’m not talking about blacksploitation movies, these are earlier than that. By the way, can anyone tell me if wikipedia’s spelling as Blaxploitation is correct? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it written that way and it looks a little weird.

I’ve seen parts of Hallelujah! and The Emperor Jones sounds familiar, but beyond that this seems to be a pretty much forgotten period in cinema. If anything, it seems like a lot of white critics are embarrassed to talk about it, because it represents segregation and instead of discussing that topic they’d rather segregate their reviews… which is ironic when you think about it.

Sort of like Stepin Fetchit has been excised from the movies he was in, which is supposed to be sensitive because they’re removing a stereotype from the screen, but it always reads to me as “Oh my GOD! What is that black person doing in my classic movie? Get him off! GET HIM OFF!!!!” I’d rather have the portrayal, examine it for what it is, and then discuss it than try to pretend it never happened. I’ve been told that the role isn’t completely negative, and that it represents a sly subversion, but since I’ve never actually seen a movie with Stepin Fetchit in it, I can’t judge for myself.

I decided that I want to see some of these movies, so I found this site that has some lists and some reviews and I’m going to gather up some of these old movies and check them out.

I can find lots of crappy Grindhouse sets and Exploitation sets, surely a set of old black movies shouldn’t be that hard to find right?

…he said knowing exactly how tough finding something he wants can be.

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July 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment