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Paradise in Harlem (1939)

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Between swing and blues musical numbers, the story of comedian Lem Anderson, whose long-awaited chance to act dramatically vanishes when he witnesses a mob killing and is forced to leave ... See full summary »



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Title: Paradise in Harlem (1939)

Paradise in Harlem (1939) on IMDb 5/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank H. Wilson ...
Lem Anderson (as Frank Wilson)
Mamie Smith ...
Madame Mamie
Norman Astwood ...
Rough Jackson
Edna Mae Harris ...
Doll Davis
Merritt Smith ...
Ned Avery
Francine Everett ...
Desdemona Jones
Sidney Easton ...
Sneeze Ancrum (as Sydney Easton)
Babe Matthews ...
Laura Lou
Lionel Monagas ...
Matt Gilson
Madeline Belt ...
Acme Delight
Herman Green ...
Percy Verwayen ...
Spanish (as Percy Verwayne)
George Williams ...
Alec Lovejoy ...
Lucky Millinder ...
Himself - Bandleader (as Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra)


Between swing and blues musical numbers, the story of comedian Lem Anderson, whose long-awaited chance to act dramatically vanishes when he witnesses a mob killing and is forced to leave town. Lem becomes a wanderer, then an alcoholic. Finally a chance to play Othello draws him back to Harlem. Is it too late for Ned? Or too soon to suit Rough Jackson's mobsters? Melodramatic events lead to an unusual conclusion. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Sensational Inside Story of a Great Comedian Whose One Ambition Could Not Be Denied!! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Musical





Release Date:

7 August 2003 (Switzerland)  »

Also Known As:

Othello in Harlem  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The train Lem returns on from Dixie to New York appears to be the Twentieth Century Limited hauled by a streamlined J3 Class 2-6-4 Hudson locomotive. See more »


Featured in Bluesland: A Portrait in American Music (1993) See more »


Writer(s) not credited
Performed by Sidney Easton and Babe Matthews
See more »

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User Reviews

The Best!
13 December 2005 | by (Michigan) – See all my reviews

This movie is by far one of the best in Black Cinema, an all star cast consisting of Percy Verwayen, Edna Mae Harris, Francine Everett, Babe and Eddie Matthews, Norman Astwood, Frank Wilson, Madeline Belt, Lucky Millander, Alec Lovejoy, and Mamie Smith. This movie is about a performer who wants to do Shakespeare but no one wants to give him a chance, they rather see him in "blackface." He gets caught up in trouble when he sees a murder committed by gangsters and they do all they can to ruin his life and career, but he finally gets his chance to do Shakespeare and its almost ruined by the audiences until the saints and the sinners join together and bring jazz and gospel together. The Othello scene is the best. The entertainment is wonderful. You get to see why Harlem became a household name and why black performers were called the best entertainers. Babe Matthews is electrifying, Francine Everett is as wonderful as an actress can be, Edna Mae Harris is vibrant as ever, Madeline Belt is sweet and hot, Percy Verwayen is the man you'd love to hate. You can't go wrong with this, Black filmmakers should check this one out and try to make movies like this.

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