4 user

Boarding House Blues (1948)

Tenants of a Harlem boarding house put on a show to save their home.


Josh Binney


Hal Seeger


Learn more

More Like This 

Amazing Grace (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

An elderly woman in a Baltimore neighborhood finds out that a somewhat slow-witted neighbor is being put up for local office by some shady politicians who have no interest in their ... See full summary »

Director: Stan Lathan
Stars: Moms Mabley, Slappy White, Rosalind Cash
Killer Diller (1948)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

An all-Black comedy and dance revue with stars of stage and screen.

Director: Josh Binney
Stars: Dusty Fletcher, George Wiltshire, Butterfly McQueen
Lady Be Good (1941)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Songwriters Dixie Donegan and Eddie Crane are still in love after their divorce. Dixie's friend Marilyn Marsh tries to convince them to marry again, but this isn't that easy.

Directors: Norman Z. McLeod, Busby Berkeley
Stars: Eleanor Powell, Ann Sothern, Robert Young
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Unscrupulously ambitious Brutus Jones escapes from jail after killing a guard and through bluff and bravado finds himself the emperor of a Caribbean island.

Directors: Dudley Murphy, William C. de Mille
Stars: Paul Robeson, Dudley Digges, Frank H. Wilson


Cast overview, first billed only:
Moms Mabley ... Moms (as Jackie Mabley)
Dusty Fletcher Dusty Fletcher ... Dusty
Marcellus Wilson Marcellus Wilson ... Jerry
Marie Cooke Marie Cooke ... Lila Foster
Augustus Smith Augustus Smith ... Norman Norman
Johnny Lee Johnny Lee ... Stanley (as John D. Lee Jr.)
Emory Richardson Emory Richardson ... Simon
Harold Cromer Harold Cromer ... Moofty
Sidney Easton Sidney Easton ... Boo Boo (as Sid Easton)
Freddie Robinson Freddie Robinson ... Freddie
John 'Spider Bruce' Mason John 'Spider Bruce' Mason ... Boarders (with 'company') (as John Mason)
John Riano John Riano ... Steggy (the ape)
Lucky Millinder Lucky Millinder ... Himself (bandleader)
Una Mae Carlisle Una Mae Carlisle ... Herself (singer)
Bull Moose Jackson Bull Moose Jackson ... Himself (singer)


Despite the slapstick atmosphere there, the inhabitants of Moms' theatrical boarding house in Harlem are broke and in danger of losing their home. For some ready cash, they trick a producer into helping them put on a show, featuring a variety of black specialty acts. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

September 1948 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

All-American News See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Moms: Sure, I like Cab Calloway. Everybody talks about it. I know it. Say Cab treats me like a dog. He does. Treats me like a dog? He called me a dog. Yes, he did. What did he call me? "An old dog". Sometime, I wish I was a dog and he was a tree. I'd get even, I'm telling you that much!
See more »


Featured in It's Black Entertainment (2002) See more »


Written by Louis Armstrong and Billy Kyle
Performed by Una Mae Carlisle
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

classic 1940s Black vaudeville routines and musical acts
12 September 2003 | by django-1See all my reviews

Forget the "plot"--it's just contrived to string together various classic vaudeville routines and exciting musical numbers from Black performers of the 1940s. If you enjoyed Killer Diller (made by the same people as this one, and also featuring Dusty Fletcher and Moms Mabley), you'll want to see this one too. It offers a rare opportunity to see African-American vaudeville routines that were probably old in the 1920s, now performed in the waning days of vaudeville. Dusty Fletcher, best known for his smash hit "open the door, richard," is a wonderful physical comedian (her accompanied by some acrobatic person in an ape suit!), and ANY opportunity to see the legendary Moms Mabley should be taken advantage of. The musical performances by Anisteen Allen, Una Mae Carlisle, and Bullmoose Jackson are wonderful, and it's great to see bandleader Lucky Millinder as compere. There's also some off-the-wall "novelty acts" worked into the show, including the one-legged dancer "Crip" Heard. The emphasis here is on the acts you're watching, NOT on the filmmaking. All in all, this is a pleasant way to kill 90 minutes and also gives us a window into a form of entertainment long gone--classic African-American vaudeville.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 4 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed