This beautiful Technicolor short features the songs of the great American popular composer Stephen Collins Foster. Lovely antebellum costumes and atmosphere foreshadow the MGM production ... See full summary »
This beautiful Technicolor short features the songs of the great American popular composer Stephen Collins Foster. Lovely antebellum costumes and atmosphere foreshadow the MGM production values for Gone with the Wind (1939). Based on Foster's memoirs. Written by
Thomas McWilliams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Pretty impressive and expensive looking two-reeler
Rivals MGM and Warner Bros. pulled all the stops with their thirties Technicolor "historical featurettes", though (curiously) it was the latter, more budget-minded, studio that really milked this genre. This "Musical Gem" comes from the former and could pass as a costume test for "Gone With The Wind", even though it predates the novel by over a year. There's more "production polish" here than in most feature films.
Basically it's a showcase for Stephen Foster's "The Old Kentucky Home", with a bit of bio background covering the song writer's final impoverished years... one haunty lady at a music store scoffs his future legacy, while the pretty storekeeper (Stephen's gal) listens to the melody and fantasizes a huge plantation scene with spectacular dance numbers. Most modern viewers will squirm at the "happy darkies" presented (complete with watermelon scene), though, to its credit, one talented gospel group is given a good, straight forward, spotlight. It is a bit of a shame that Turner Classic Movies periodically airs this "problem" picture, while leaving other questionable (but better documented) short subjects like "Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs" in the vault.
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