Black Cinema Treasures: Lost and Found

Overview

Focusing on a much-neglected area of film experience in America, Black Cinema Treasures furthers the preservation of America’s cultural and historic heritage, especially its African-American heritage as seen through the eyes of the African-American independent filmmakers of the 1920s through the 1950s. Ossie Davis says that the collection is one of the best sources of black “self-consciousness” in America during those decades.

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1991 Hard cover First edition. 2nd printing. New in new dust jacket. Ship in sturdy box with bubble wrap. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 242 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

Focusing on a much-neglected area of film experience in America, Black Cinema Treasures furthers the preservation of America’s cultural and historic heritage, especially its African-American heritage as seen through the eyes of the African-American independent filmmakers of the 1920s through the 1950s. Ossie Davis says that the collection is one of the best sources of black “self-consciousness” in America during those decades.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is an extremely important addition to the literature on black film from the 1930s through the 1950s, largely because it offers primary documentation on more than a dozen newly discovered films (features and shorts) heretofore considered lost or existing only in fragmentary condition. Although the body of scholarship on black cinema has grown significantly in the last 15 years, research on the films made during the great period of black independent filmmaking (the Teens through the mid-Fifties) was forestalled due to difficulty in procuring the films. The book also contains brief assessments by black film artists on the importance of this historical period. An extensive filmography of black independent films from 1910 to 1957 is also very valuable. This study should rekindle an investigation of this period in black history, and is a necessary acquisition for any collection which addresses cinema.-- Robert Rayher, Sch. of the Art Inst. of Chicago
Booknews
The documentation and description of a hugely important collection of films made by black independent filmmakers from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s, discovered and restored by Jones (founder/director, Southwest Film/Video Archives). The films were made for black audiences only, featured black actors, and had black directors and screenwriters, and were produced in many cases by blacks. In-depth synopses of the films are accompanied by fascinating photographs from the films. The extremely thoughtful nine-page foreword is by Ossie Davis. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780929398266
  • Publisher: University of North Texas Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1991
  • Pages: 242
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Table of Contents

I Foreword 1
II Introduction
King Tut's Warehouse: Finding the Films 13
The Non-White World of All-Black Cinema 20
III Some Pioneer Black Filmmakers
Oscar Micheaux: the Dean of Black Filmmakers 26
Spencer Williams 31
William Alexander 36
George Randol 39
IV The Tyler, Texas, Black Film Collection
The Blood of Jesus 44
Dirty Gertie from Harlem, U.S.A. 53
The Girl in Room 20 65
Juke Joint 75
Marching On 85
Midnight Shadow 95
Miracle in Harlem 106
Murder in Harlem (Lem Hawkins' Confession) 118
Souls of Sin 129
By-Line Newsreels (Four Episodes) 138
Other Short Films in the Collection
Broken Earth 145
Boogie Woogie Blues 148
Daughters of the Isle of Jamaica 152
Harlem Hot-Shots 152
Junior Jeeps 153
Vanities 155
V Comments from Some of Today's Black Filmmakers
How the Films Were Produced, Distributed, Exhibited - and What Became of the System 159
What Black Independent Films Meant to the Black Community 166
Working With Spencer Williams 173
VI A Final Comment: "We Could Have Been Friends" 181
Appendix 1 Independent Black Films, 1910-1957 191
Appendix 2 Books About Black Independent Filmmaking: 1910-1960 233
Index 235
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