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Black and Tan (1929)

 -  Drama | Short | Music  -  8 December 1929 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 228 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 4 critic

Duke Ellington in a jazz musical short with a tragic plotline.



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Title: Black and Tan (1929)

Black and Tan (1929) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Complete credited cast:
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington Orchestra ...
Cotton Club Orchestra (as The Cotton Club Orchestra)
Fredi Washington ...
Fredi - Duke's Girlfriend
Hall Johnson Choir ...
Edgar Connor ...
Piano Mover
Alec Lovejoy ...
Piano Mover


Duke Ellington plays hot jazz in a fictional story that finds him down on his luck; he tries in vain to dissuade his friend, dancer Fredi Washington, from working with heart trouble even though it means work for his band. Sure enough, she collapses on stage... Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Short | Music





Release Date:

8 December 1929 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Duke Ellington. See more »


Featured in Black Shadows on the Silver Screen (1975) See more »


Black and Tan Fantasy
Written by Duke Ellington
Played by Duke Ellington on piano
Reprised at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

Worth a look for historical value if nothing else...
26 June 2009 | by ( – See all my reviews

Duke Ellington's film debut is quite an interesting introduction to the Duke on screen. The film isn't very long - a couple of reels - and the storyline is incidental to the music numbers, but the music and dance routines are certainly memorable. Although the film features an all-black cast, as others have pointed out, there is some fairly blatant racial stereotyping in the early scenes.

Duke acquits himself pretty well, although he isn't really called upon to do too much acting. Fredi Washington is great on the dance floor, but lousy as an actress. She does look fine though. The music's great and the dance routines are good, although one of them is repeated when viewed through the multi-sighted vision of the sick dancer - a sequence that perhaps goes on too long.

Definitely worth a look for historical value if nothing else.

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