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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)

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


Writer(s) not credited
Performed by Mamie Smith
See more »

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User Reviews

I quite liked the movie--especially when compared with others in the 50-film pack
15 February 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Paradise in Harlem was one of 50 films in one of those big packs of older movies. Perhaps it's not a good idea to sit down and watch the whole pack, without watching something completely different just to clear the palate. I had watched 4 or so of the films in the pack, and most were excruciatingly awful. Then I hit Paradise in Harlem, and it was like a breath of fresh air. Real people doing real things. Yes, there were stereotypes. On the other hand, John Candy could have been considered a stereotype. The characters were varied and had ups and downs. They didn't just stumble into good luck through deus ex machina. I just really liked this film. I could watch it and enjoy it and appreciate it. One little thing that I really liked--the filmmakers did not put us through Lem's no doubt silly, embarrassing vaudeville act; you saw only his makeup, which told you all you needed to know about his act.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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