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Max de Mirecourt, celebrated French novelist, takes a vacation from his social-butterfly wife in Tunisia, where he meets beautiful Alwina, a barefoot hill shepherdess. To cure his writer's block, Max casts Alwina as heroine in a real-life 'Pygmalion' story. She reacts to civilized ways and emotions with charming simplicity. Now Max, stung by reports of his wife's affair with a dark-skinned maharajah, has the idea of launching Alwina in Paris society as a princess. Will civilization spoil her wild charms? Who will pair off with whom? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 Black and Tan (1929), The Sport of the Gods (1921), Caldonia (1945), and Hallelujah (1929). See more »
Josephine Baker was every bit a part of the Paris scene during "The Lost Generation" as Hemingway and Stein. Bolting the blatant and institutional racism in the United States she settled in Paris where she went on to great stage acclaim with such acts as her Banana Dance. It was only logical that her free spirit style make its way to film as she does here in Princess Tam Tam.
French writer Max de Mirecourt experiencing writers block and problems with his pre jet set wife decides to run off to Tunisia to get his groove back. Their he runs into lust for life Alwina (Baker) who celebrates the creature comforts with gleeful passion. Along with a friend he hatches a Pygmalion like plan to present Alwina as a Princess Tam Tam to French society and much to the ire of his wife who in turn is being seen around town with a maharajah on her arm.
Strictly a showcase for Baker, Tam Tam does make some cursory observations about bias, class and materialism but it remains centered around Josephine's wild child to illustrate it. All the leads remain ancillary in her presence with her irresistible zest for life providing nearly all of the film's energy. She may not have the formal training of Isadora Duncan but her off the cuff tumblesault at some Tunisian ruins is as timeless as Duncan's iconic photograph without the pretense. Silly premise aside Princesse Tam Tam does afford the viewer an unfettered lengthy glance at one of the most unique icons of Paris between the wars.
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