Brutus Johnson, owner of the Porter Pullman Shoe Polish Company, sponsors the Porter Pullman Shoe Polish Variety Program on the Black Network Broadcasting Co. Mezzanine Johnson, Brutus' ...
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Brutus Johnson, owner of the Porter Pullman Shoe Polish Company, sponsors the Porter Pullman Shoe Polish Variety Program on the Black Network Broadcasting Co. Mezzanine Johnson, Brutus' controlling wife, has her own views of what she would like to happen on the show, she who believes has the right since it is her father who put up the money for the business. Mezzanine wants to take over the lead female singer spot from Nina Mae McKinney. This news does not sit well with Brutus, who still cannot control what his wife does. It also does not sit well with either Nina or Emmett 'Babe' Wallace, her male counterpart, the two who see themselves as a team and who learn the news through the grapevine. As the show continues and Mezzanine plots her take-over, Nina Mae and Babe have to figure out what to do to save their spots and to save the show. Nina Mae and Babe may get some unwitting help from The Nicholas Brothers, who plan to audition for the amateur segment of the show but who sell lucky ... Written by
Historically interesting...and occasionally very impressive.
This is one of the DVD extras included with "Hallelujah". And, like "Hallelujah", the films feature all-black casts. Considering that these films were made by mainstream Hollywood studios (MGM and Warner Brothers), seeing such films today might surprise audiences. They also serve as nice historical records of this bygone era.
This film is set at a fictional black-run radio station and consists of various musical acts of the day. Some are amazing and great when seen today--such as the Nicholas Brothers (tap dancers on a radio show?!) and Nina Mae McKinney (who also starred in "Hallelujah") and some are not so hot (like the opening number and one that was supposed to be bad--the sponsor's wife!). My favorite was the band's scat version of "Ochi Chornya (Dark Eyes)"--it really hummed and was better than other versions I've heard--speeding it up helped and the band was amazing.
So is this great viewing? Probably not for the average viewer. But for historical reasons or if you like 1930s music, this might be right up your alley.
By the way, you might find reading McKinney's biography on IMDb. It's incredibly sad but interesting as well when you read about how this talented lady was almost totally forgotten when she died a very early death.
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