IMDb Polls

Poll: Black History Month-The Forgotten Cinema

Once upon a time, shamefully in the not-too-distant past, African-Americans were barred from many of the movie theatres(12,000 to 19,000 depending on the years) in America circa the silent-film-era inro the 1950s. And, if not barred, still faced seating in segregated sections (parts of the balcony) or attending on designated "Negro Nights." To offset that, most cities of 25,000 or more had Negro Theatres in their other-side-of-the- tracks area. That also inspired the making of *race movies* or all-black-cast films. A large percentage oif those were produced by black-owned companies such as Oscar Micheaux Productions or The Normandy Film Mfg.Company, but even more came from white-owned Poverty Row companies. Many of the all-black films featured the same stereotyped-racist roles as those that black performers were relegated to in the main-stream films from Hollywood. But they also provided the African-American community to see black actors perform roles other than Mammies and Feet-do-your-stuff.

This is a list of all-black-cast films (there were hundreds of those) made specifically for "Black" theatres. Assuming that only a small percentage have ever seen even one of these films...

Discuss poll here.

Which film, based on plot and cast, would you put on your like-to-see list?

Make Your Choice

  1. Vote!

    Moon Over Harlem (1939)

    Gangster marries world's kindest, most charitable woman, scams money from her while coming on to her daughter. When gangster is caught by his wife attempting to rape the daughter, he lies and blames the girl. Driven from her mother's home, the girl turns to show business to make a living. (Directed by cult-favorite Edgar G. Ulmer and, aside from the cast, mostly an all-white production crew.)
  2. Vote!

    Harlem Rides the Range (1939)

    “ "Me and him's buddies, and when you suspicions him, you suspicions me". (Two black writers and an all-white Poverty Row production crew)
  3. Vote!

    Gang War (1940)

    Another all-black-cast from the all-white Million Dollar Productions.
  4. Vote!

    The Bronze Buckaroo (1939)

    Herbert Jeffrey(Herb Jeffries) rides again in yet another all-black-cast remake of an all-white Fred Scott B-western from producer Jed Buell.
  5. Vote!

    Spirit of Youth (1938)

    Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis, in his prime, gives the black community a hero of their own. If they could find a theatre to watch it in.
  6. Vote!

    Mystery in Swing (1940)

    With a 100 Per Cent ALL-STAR COLORED CAST! (original poster)...(produced by a 100% all-white production company)
  7. Vote!

    Paradise in Harlem (1939)

    (Subjective) Tagline: Greatest Colored Cast Ever Assembled in One Picture
  8. Vote!

    Lady Luck (1942)

    The comedy team of Moreland & Miller(Mantan Moreland and F. E. Miller) could give Abbott & Costello lessons in comedic timing.
  9. Vote!

    Murder with Music (1941)

    I'll wash and dry your dishes. I'll clean and make your bed. I'll work and slave around you 'Til my face turns cherry red.
  10. Vote!

    Dark Manhattan (1937)

    An early film for Roy Glenn, whose roles were usualy an uncredited Native Chief in Jungle Jim films, thirty years later played a very-credited role, as Sidney Poitier's father in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." And held his own at the table with Tracy and Hepburn.
  11. Vote!

    The Black King (1932)

    The film is based on the career of Marcus Garvey, who organized a Back-to- Africa movement among blacks in the United States, and is not an "All-Black-Cast" film, as there are white actors, including the director/producer Bud Pollard, playing some minor, uncredited roles. Deacon "Charcoal" Johnson is heading a Back-to-Africa group and raising funds (to his pockets, mostly) all the way from Logan, Mississippi to New York City's Harlem, where a procession of Johnson's followers and elite troops parade to the music of Victor Herbert's "March of the Wooden Soldiers."

    • Written by Les Adams <>
  12. Vote!

    Son of Ingagi (1940)

  13. Vote!

    Swing! (1938)

    A low-budget *race film* version of "42nd Street" featuring some of the Cotton Club and Appolo Theatre acts of the period.
  14. Vote!

    The Girl from Chicago (1932)

    Film debut of Juano Hernandez.
  15. Vote!

    The Flying Ace (1926)

    The character of Ruth Sawtelle is allegedly based on African American aviatrix Bessie Coleman, the first African American person to hold an international pilot's license.
  16. Vote!

    Bubbling Over (1934)

    One of only two Ethel Waters films from her cabaret-days, in Harlem, with a plot that may have served for the 1940 Broadway musical "Cabin in the Sky", later made as an all-black cast feature film by MGM in 1943. The latter was not a film made for the black-community theatres.
  17. Vote!

    Reet, Petite, and Gone (1947)

    Rusty: But you could learn to love me, darling.

    Louis Jarvis: I can't afford the lesson!

  18. Vote!

    The Devil's Daughter (1939)

  19. Vote!

    Double Deal (1939)

  20. Vote!

    Murder on Lenox Avenue (1941)

    Features two of the greatest Black Cinema singers, Mamie Smith and Edna Mae Harris.
  21. Vote!

    Sunday Sinners (1940)

    Edna Mae Harris and Mamie Smith sing again but, alas, only for a very small audience.
  22. Vote!

    Lying Lips (1939)

    Features Edna Mae Harris and Robert Earl Jones (father of James Earl Jones).
  23. Vote!

    Chloe, Love Is Calling You (1934)

    A bottom-of-the-barrel, poverty row, mixed-cast film that got more play in *black theatres* than in those it was intended for...
  24. Vote!

    Juke Joint (1947)

    The Joint is Jumpin'! / The Jive is Jivvin'! / The Jam is Jammin'! / Everybody's High in the Happy Slap-Happy Holiday Family!
  25. Vote!

    Souls of Sin (1949)

    Guns Bark As Rival Gangs Fight For Power!
  26. Vote!

    Go Down, Death! (1944)

    Actor/director/writer Spencer Williams , on a nothing budget, displays a talent that, shamefully, never got beyond the segregation barrier.
  27. Vote!

    The Notorious Elinor Lee (1940)

    Robert Earl Jones in one of the best of the *race movies*.
  28. Vote!

    The Girl in Room 20 (1946)

    A girl from Texas goes to New York City with hopes of joining the choir of an all-black Baptist church. but becomes a call-girl for Madam Mamie in Harlem.
  29. Vote!

    Hi De Ho (1947)

    Cab Calloway's spurned girlfriend seeks revenge.
  30. Vote!

    The Duke Is Tops (1938)

    A Lena Horne showcase, or as much as could be done on a low-budget *racefilm.*
  31. Vote!

    Look-Out Sister (1947)

    When he's not singin', he's shootin'. When he's not shootin', he's lovin'!
  32. Vote!

    Midnight Shadow (1939)

    A correspondence-school detective on the trail of a killer.