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Boarding House Blues (1948)

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


Josh Binney


Hal Seeger

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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?


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


(writer info not available)
Performed by Bull Moose Jackson with Lucky Millinder band
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User Reviews

It's a Killer Diller.
6 July 2006 | by ptb-8See all my reviews

This time capsule review of Negro stage performers of the 30s and 40s... this is a small film of major talent and a perfect chance to see the almost unseen (to us whiteys) of black vaudeville stars only ever before heard about. One performer Woody Allen must have certainly known about is 'Crip" Heard, the one legged tap dancer... See Stardust Memories for where that info went. He is called "Crip' because he is a cripple..he has one arm and one leg but that doesn't stop him dancing himself into a frenzy...... and don't blame me for that anecdote..... It is in his intro in the film! The lindyhop dancers later in the film are enough to get the most exhausted viewer off the couch and leaping about in their own boarding house. Killer Diller, the 1947 remake with other talent incl Nat King Cole is equally thrilling.

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