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Experimental musicals and the African-Americans in Hollywood

by Kate Fortmueller

In this early musical short, written by Dudley Murphy, who made the avant-garde film Ballet Mecanique with Fernand Leger, Duke Ellington and actress Fredi Washington perform around a dramatic story that highlights the limited opportunities for African Americans in Hollywood film, the vibrancy of the Harlem Renaissance, and the fascination, particularly profound, of American audiences with African American musical forms. How does this film relate to the Jazz Singer? How does this film relate to some of the avant-garde works we have seen in CTCS 200?

Black and Tan (1929)

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This short musical film features a fictional plot line about a struggling musician and his wife and features performances by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra.

from Black and Tan (1929)
Creator: Dudley Murphy
Distributor: Blackhawk Films
Posted by Kate Fortmueller