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Black and Tan (1929)

 -  Drama | Short | Music  -  8 December 1929 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 234 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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Cast

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

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Short | Music

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Details

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Release Date:

8 December 1929 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

An advertising poster for this film is pictured on one stamp of a set of five 42¢ USA commemorative postage stamps honoring Vintage Black Cinema, issued 16 July 2008. Other films honored in this set are The Sport of the Gods (1921), Princesse Tam-Tam (1935), Caldonia (1945), and Hallelujah (1929). See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Black Beauty
Written by Duke Ellington
Played by Duke Ellington and the Duke Ellington Orchestra (as The Cotton Club Orchestra)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Refused To Conform
23 November 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Duke Ellington made his screen debut in this short subject which sad to say catered to black stereotyping and wasn't even that coherent a story line.

Which makes the appearance of those piano movers all the worse for it because it was not necessary. The film opens with Ellington and his trumpeter, Arthur Whetsol, going over some material. Two piano movers come in and they're most determined to do their repossessing thing. Fredi Washington happens on the scene and offers them a bottle of some of Prohibition's finest homemade gin. Then they leave and say they'll tell the boss nobody's home.

Interesting is that Ellington refused to stereotype even thought the piano movers, Edgar Connor and Alec Lovejoy, certainly did. Says something about the man back in the day.

The action shifts to the Cotton Club where Washington, probably feeling the ill effects of the bootleg hooch she just passed to the piano players collapses and dies during a number. Her death scene gives both Ellington and his orchestra and the Hall Johnson choir a chance to perform.

The piano movers were an obvious ripoff of radio's Amos and Andy. And in his next film project, Ellington and the Orchestra would appear in the Amos and Andy movie Check and Doublecheck.

I'd listen to the music for this one and mute it when everything else is going on.


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