In the Shadow of Hollywood | Chicago Reader

In the Shadow of Hollywood

This succinct video documentary by Brad Osborne casts a much-needed spotlight on one of America's first truly independent cinemas: the “race movies” produced specially for the African-American market from the silent era through the late 1940s. This active alternative culture provided a greater range of story, character, and perspective than the Hollywood studios, with their insulting images of maids, buffoons, and savages. Osborne doesn't dig very deep, but he does a nice job of profiling the genre's important directors (Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams) and actors (Evelyn Preer, Herb Jeffries, Paul Robeson) and surveying its major subgenres. 58 min.

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