This beautiful Technicolor short features the songs of the great American popular composer Stephen Collins Foster. Lovely antebellum costumes and atmosphere foreshadow the MGM production ...
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This beautiful Technicolor short features the songs of the great American popular composer Stephen Collins Foster. Lovely antebellum costumes and atmosphere foreshadow the MGM production values for Gone with the Wind (1939). Based on Foster's memoirs.Written by
Thomas McWilliams <email@example.com>
Glossy and dull...and shocking by today's standards!
This is a short film from MGM that is in Three-Color Technicolor-- the first truly full color film used in movies beginning about 1934. Up until then, color films were two-color varieties-- such as Two- Color Technicolor and Cinecolor...and the pictures looked rather orangey green. So, it's obvious when you watch the film that it is the new Technicolor process. However, the film is much darker than it was originally and could use restoration.
This film is a sort of biography of Stephen Collins Foster, the writer of such popular American mid-19th century tunes as "My Old Kentucky Home", "Camptown Races" and "Swanee River"*. It's all handled with a weird reverence...sort of like Foster was about to obtain sainthood (though in real life he simply died at age 37 after, seemingly, living in the gutter in New York for several years). As a result, it's very dull and comes off as rather fake.
By the way, some of Foster's lyrics were pretty racist, as that was the tone of the day. You'll hear some of these and see some troubling depictions of happy slaves eating watermelon and dancing...so hold on tight! It IS embarrassing and wrong...what else can I say?!
*If you actually care, there is no Swanee River. The Suwanee River, however, is in north Florida and I guess "Suwanee River" just didn't have the right ring to it!
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