Historic Footage of Black Soldiers at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, in WW II
This film is available in a cut-up print. As another reviewer noted, the acting is uneven as well. However, let's forgo all of that.
What we have here is some AMAZING documentary footage of black soldiers at Fort Huachuca, Arizona in world War II. This material is PRICELESS. The value of this footage is unknown to scholars because the plot synopsis generally cited, from a University of California book on African Americans in film, which is quoted verbatim by the TCM and AFI sites, incorrectly names the camp phonetically as "Fort Watchuka," a stupid, stupid error, propagated all over the internet. In reality, Fort Huachuca was the home of the famous black Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Regiment, renamed in 1935 as the 25th Regiment. Background information on African Americans in the military is supplied as well: The character of "Gramps" Tucker speaks about his service in the Spanish American War and the bravery of Black soldiers at Mindanao, Philippines. Rodney's father served in WWI in France. (By the way, the same oft-cited synopsis also lamely states that Rodney's father lost his memory in "a traffic accident." I distinctly heard the actor say, "a tragic accident.") The print i have, a DVD from Alpha Video, is titled "Where Is My Man To-Nite."
As with many Sack Amusement releases i have seen over the years, a reel of burlesque dance acts and "exotic" night club material has been grafted into this film with no attempt to link it into the plot. There is a title card that reads "Featuring the Original 'Brownskin Models'" but no other performers are credited. This footage was probably NOT in the original release. Featured are a jump-blues or proto rock'n'roll band with the monogrammed initials "J.B." (Jackie Brenston???) and "H.Y." on the drums and bandstand. The drummer and guitarist are excellent! Then we see several dance acts -- a West Indian-themed one, an "Apache dance" with hair-pulling, a rather ill-trained chorus line, a contortionist dance, a jitterbug (with the tall woman and short man found in many All Negro Cast movies of this time period), a very good break-dancer, and a couple of comedians. This errant reel has nothing to do with "Marching On" in any way -- but here it is, and it is quite pleasing as a documentation of early 1940s break dancing and jump-blues.
Also, for train spotters, there is LONG footage of a train (Southern Pacific, i presume) approaching Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and a scene inside a boxcar.
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