6.3/10
356
10 user 4 critic

Black and Tan (1929)

Not Rated | | Drama, Short, Music | 8 December 1929 (USA)
Duke Ellington in a jazz musical short with a tragic plotline.

Director:

Dudley Murphy

Writer:

Dudley Murphy (story)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Duke Ellington ... Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington Orchestra Duke Ellington Orchestra ... Cotton Club Orchestra (as The Cotton Club Orchestra)
Fredi Washington ... Fredi - Duke's Girlfriend
Hall Johnson Choir Hall Johnson Choir ... Choir
Edgar Connor Edgar Connor ... Piano Mover
Alec Lovejoy Alec Lovejoy ... Piano Mover
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Storyline

Duke Ellington plays hot jazz in a fictional story that finds him down on his luck; he tries in vain to dissuade his friend, dancer Fredi Washington, from working with heart trouble even though it means work for his band. Sure enough, she collapses on stage... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Short | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 December 1929 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

An advertising poster for this film is pictured on one stamp of a set of five 42¢ USA commemorative postage stamps honoring Vintage Black Cinema, issued 16 July 2008. Other films honored in this set are The Sport of the Gods (1921), Princesse Tam-Tam (1935), Caldonia (1945), and Hallelujah (1929). See more »

Connections

Featured in Black Shadows on the Silver Screen (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Black Beauty
Written by Duke Ellington
Played by Duke Ellington and the Duke Ellington Orchestra (as The Cotton Club Orchestra)
See more »

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User Reviews

Only for Diehard Ellington Fans
4 January 2001 | by simulandSee all my reviews

Practically plotless excuse to feature the music of Ellington, accompanied by Harlem dancers. Only for the most died-in-the-wool Ellington fans. Essentially a very primitive early music video of mainly historical interest. Ellington's recordings from that era abound, so that the film's main value lies in its serving as a visual document.

The sound is abysmal, the plot corny, and the dancing nothing to dance about. Many of the images are so murky and dim as to be unintelligible. The entire film consists essentially of 3 tableau set pieces, ornamented with some rough camera tricks, too arty by far. The central plot, the dancer's death, is unconvincing and shrilly melodramatic.

Of note is the derogatory racial stereotyping of the two characters who begin the film by showing up to repossess the Duke's piano. They are ridiculed for their illiteracy and for how easily they are dissuaded from their duties with a bribe of a bottle of hooch.


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