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Olga San Juan,
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A young songwriter leaves his Kentucky home to try to make it in New Orleans. Eventually he winds up in New York, where he sells his songs to a music publisher, but refuses to sell his most treasured composition: "Dixie." The film is based on the life of Daniel Decatur Emmett, who wrote the classic song "Dixie." Written by
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 20, 1943 with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour reprising their film roles. See more »
The movie changes all sorts of historical facts: The movie makes Emmett a bachelor wooing "Jean Mason" who is confined to a wheelchair. The song Dixie was intended as a sort of dirge but is given a sprightly tempo only because the theater, in the deep south, has caught fire. In fact Emmett married Catherine Rives circa 1853 and remained married until her death in 1875, there is no indication that she was disabled. Dixie was first sung, and at its familiar tempo, in NYC on April 4, 1859, in a non-burning music hall. The movie has only the first verse sung over and over again because, frankly, the second and third verses are a bit "unenlightened" by modern standards. A couple of years later Emmett was appalled that the Confederacy had appropriated his song and he promptly wrote several songs for the Union Army. See more »
Throughout history there has been hardships for African Americans. Slavery, obtaining human rights, and discrimination are examples of the hard times that African Americans have gone through. Many movies that were made around the 1940's can be offensive to many African Americans because these hardships such as slavery and discrimination are portrayed within them. Within the comical musical Dixie directed by A Edward Sutherland, 1943, it lets its viewers see and recognize what the time period was really like.
Although the movie was well directed, written and acted out, the truth of the time period shines through. Although this film was not made to be offensive, it is. Slavery and discrimination are shown through the song "Dixie," and by characters within the movie. When Daniel Emmett went and performed with his, at first three partners, they used makeup to paint their faces black and over exaggerate the size of their lips. They talked as if they were uneducated and didn't understand things. Also characters from the audience at first were insulted and appalled that "darkies" were performing on stage. This attitude is not make- believe. This was the reaction of people during this time period to African Americans.
During this time period Minstrel entertainment was popular during the 19th century. White performers would mimic African Americans as a main attraction by coloring their faces and using makeup to make it look like they have big lips and eyes. Later African Americans did participate in there own form of festivities called the Pinkster celebrations in which black and white performers would gather and celebrate the change of the season. This would ultimately change into a primarily African American holiday that slaves and free blacks would catch up with family and friends. This gave them a chance to express and pass on their traditions and cultures.
Dixie portrays the discrimination and slavery that was still going on during this time period. The racism of the audience and reference to slavery within the song "Dixie" all show how this can be offensive to a wide majority of viewers. Although these are within the film, overall the film does a good job at showing what the time period was like and had a good story.
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