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 »
Rags-to-riches-to-rags story features Benny Goodman vocalist Martha Tilton as an unemployed big band singer who takes a job as an operator at a jukebox company. After falling in love with a... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
The director, Joseph Seiden, started as a cinematographer in silents. In the 1930's and 40's he was the leading producer of Yiddish films in the United States. This was the first film that he directed. Seiden gets excellent performances from his cast. Some of it is stereotyped, but a great deal is honest, raw and human.
The movie is low budget, but has a documentary feel that adds to the realism. The story mixes gangsters with a Church trying to put on a version of "Othello," It isn't realistic, but it works as melodrama.
Frank H. Wilson is the star. He starred with Paul Robeson in the "Emperor Jones" in 1932 and with Rex Ingram and Eddie Rochester Anderson in "Green Pastures" in 1936. Sadly, he only played a few bit parts after this. He really creates a touching character as Lem Anderson, a vaudevillian trying to become a serious actor. He brings off the role with intelligence and sweetness.
Edna Mae Harris also stands out in a small but important role.
I believe that Orson Welles staged an all Black Othello in Harlem around the time that this movie was made. I'm pretty sure this film was partially based on that event.
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