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"I think its ridiculous to decide to use a black person for the villain
but as my professor said: "The director was looking for a quick way to
symbolize the person stealing the wood with a villain."
"Why was it necessary for them to use a black person? They could have used white people!"
Just a little bit of Googling would've turned up the fact that the title is a play on words of an old figure of speech. A "n_gger in the woodpile" is a no-longer-politically-correct term meaning "some fact of considerable importance that is not disclosed something suspicious or wrong". The sort of thing our modern-day politicians do when they propose a law by playing up all the good points and keeping all the "gotchas" carefully hidden so the public supports it...and only find out all the gory details after the bill has become law. Those hidden, but significant, details are "the n_gger in the woodpile."
According to Wikipedia: "Both the 'fence' and 'woodpile' variants developed about the same time in the period of 184050 when the Underground Railroad was flourishing. The evidence is slight, but it is presumed that they were derived from actual instances of the concealment of fugitive slaves in their flight north under piles of firewood or within hiding places in stone walls. Another possible origin, comes from the practice of transporting pulpwood on special rail road cars. In the era of slavery, the pulpwood cars were built with an outer frame with the wood being stacked inside in moderately neat rows and stacks. However, given the nature of the cars, it was possible to smuggle persons in the pile itself; possibly giving rise to the term."
So...there is a Very Good Reason why the thieves could not be White. And it was not intended as political propaganda foisting the notion that all black people were dishonest. While tasteless by the standards of over one hundred years later, the title capitalized on a well-known (for that time) phrase. Entitling the film "Whitey in the Woodpile", or the "Caucasian Firewood Thieves" would've completely negated the (admittedly tasteless) stab at humor. This was, after all, 1904, not 2013.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Just heard about this movie in my film class... I think its ridiculous
to decide to use a black person for the villain but as my professor
said: "The director was looking for a quick way to symbolize the person
stealing the wood with a villain." So by using the early 20th century
stereotypes they decided to make the villain black instead of white
since it is a silent film and the use of screen cards is very plaguing
to the flow of a 10 minute film. This is what I've heard and from what
it sounds like it seems to be correct, other than the racial problems
that could be implied from this movie it is very good for a 10 minute
Or they could have been just very racist...
........But maybe I'm being too touchy. Filmed in black and white, about 10 seconds, this is about a man dressed in blackface. (For those who don't know, BLACKFACE is a term used for white actors who painted their faces black. They then do skits or act in short films that are usually racist and stereotypical towards black people, that's why I put quotation marks around the word "black". They weren't even black!) He steals a woodpile(whatever the hell a woodpile is---probably a pile of wood) from some farm. There then is a big explosion. A black lady(most likely in blackface too)comes out and she seems to be yelling or something. Then, some white farmer guy comes out, and thanks to the after math of the explosion, he catches the black man that stole the woodpile. Why was it necessary for them to use a black person? They could have used white people! But you know what, for it's time, it was pretty good----with the fake explosion and whatnot. But I still think caucasoid actors could have been used.
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