Surprisingly good for a film from Mascot Pictures, but this film is bound to not sit well with modern audiences.
Think about it. Stephen Collins Foster was a HUGE influence on minstrel shows in the middle of the 19th century--minstrel shows! So how can you do a film that does his career justice without offending a whole lotta folks?! Well, during the 1930s, this was easy--the public didn't blanch at the antics of the 'happy Negroes' seen throughout the film not at groups of men in black-face performing his tunes. But today, this is bound to ruffle a few feathers--and rightfully so. However, he was a brilliant composer and deserves to be remembered...in context.
This biopic stars Douglass Montgomery--an actor pretty much forgotten today. In fact, the only readily recognizable star is the film is William Frawley--though he's in black-face for several scenes. As for the most important part of the film, its historical accuracy, the movie naturally plays a bit fast and loose with the details of his life--but less so than the typical biopic of the era. What you are left with is a reasonably interesting and watchable film--considering it was made by a low-budget studio. But it is by no means a noteworthy film--except for the moments that it makes you cringe! I particularly loved the film showing how gosh-darn happy and well-treated all the black people were during the days of slavery! So, if you do watch it, hold on to your seats...it might be a very bumpy ride!
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