Skip to main content
Michigan State University

African American Studies Research Guide: Feature Films


A compilation of film resources about African Americans and/or featuring African Americans available in the MSU Libraries.  Also check the Music tab for films and documentaries featuring African American singers and musicians.

Home Use Only vs Public Performance Rights

Tarleton State University offers advice on home use only versus public perforance rights, as well as a list of organizations that can help you obtain public performance rights.

Documentary Films

Looking for a documentary film?  Look for the tab at the top or click here.

Selected Feature Films, A

All African American feature films, either featuring African American studies themes or African American actors,  are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.  Movies can be checked out unless reserved for a class.

8 Mile (2002)  / Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment present a Brian Grazer/Curtis Hanson production ; producers, Brian Grazer, Curtis Hanson, Jimmy Iovine ; writer, Scott Silver ; director, Curtis Hanson.  Universal City, CA : Universal, [2003], c2002.  1 DVD videodisc (110 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. ML420.E56 E5 2003 VideoDVD : Jimmy, known to his friends as Rabbit, is a young man trying to make his way out of the burned-out shell of inner-city Detroit. Rabbit is a white kid trying to make music in a predominantly African-American community and culture. After Rabbit freezes up in the midst of an MC battle, he's convinced he's missed his chance and that he's doomed to lead a marginal life as a factory rat for the rest of his days. With the help of his friends, and his new girlfriend Alex, Rabbit struggles to work up the courage and the confidence to take one more shot at making his dream a reality.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

12 Years A SlaveFox Searchlight Pictures ; directed by Steve McQueen ; screenplay by John Ridley ; produced by Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner ; produced by Bill Pohlad, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Anthony Katagas ; executive producers, Tessa Ross, John Ridley ; Regency Enterprises and River Road Entertainment present a River Road, Plan B, and New Regency production ; in association with Film4 ; a film by Steve McQueen.  Beverly Hills, California : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, c2014.  1 DVD videodisc (approximately 134 minutes) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 T84 2014 VideoDVD : Maybe it had to take a British filmmaker to depict clearly the United States' greatest failing: the horrors of centuries of slavery. In 12 Years a Slave, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kinky Boots, Dirty Pretty Things) is a free man living in New York until he's kidnapped and sold in Louisiana as a slave. He's owned by masters relatively kind (Benedict Cumberbatch) and harrowingly brutal (Michael Fassbender), but even under the best conditions, the movie never loses sight of Northup's condition as property, that his well-being and very life are at the whim of his owners. There's no hype here, nor any hemming or hawing; each scene is captured simply but vividly, letting the cruel facts of life in the pre-Civil War era speak for themselves. The movie's power lies in the unsettling details and psychological contortions slavery inflicts on everyone involved, black and white. Performances are fantastic throughout, including supporting work from Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson, Lupita Nyong'o, Brad Pitt, and particularly Alfre Woodard as a slave who's gained a position of comfort and clings to it with haughty entitlement. But it's Ejiofor who anchors the movie; his mix of intelligence and fundamental decency carries 12 Years a Slave to a moving conclusion. From Steve McQueen, director of Hunger and Shame.

42, the Jackie Robinson Story / Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures ; written and directed by Brian Helgeland.  [Los Angeles, CA] : Warner Bros., c2013.   1 DVD videodisc (ca. 128 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  GV865.R6 F67 2013 VideoDVD : 42 is a powerful film about how one man changed baseball… and changed America. The film opens in 1945, after the end of World War II, when team executive Branch Rickey has set his mind on bringing the first black baseball player into the ranks of an American major league baseball team despite the disapproval of his advisers and team manager. A stubborn man who declares that money is green, not black or white, and claims profit as his motivation, Rickey carefully selects Jackie Robinson from the Kansas City Monarchs. He chooses Robinson both because he's an excellent baseball player and because Rickey believes him to be a man with the inner strength to withstand the bullying and abuse that's sure to follow his appointment to an all-white team. So begins an emotionally charged journey of prejudice, abuse, growth, and empowerment that follows player and manager as they submerge themselves in something much bigger than themselves. Harrison Ford is perfectly cast as Mr. Rickey, a stubborn man with a mission he refuses to be dissuaded from and who is contradictorily harsh and kind, wise and comical, progressive and old school. Chadwick Boseman, as Jackie Robinson, exudes the intense inner strength and barely contained rage of a black man whose physical and moral strengths are ignored by fellow players and a public fixated on the color of his skin. He is absolutely believable as a man who changed the world while refusing to let the world change him. Equally strong performances are given by Nicole Beharie as the ever-calm Mrs. Rachel Robinson and Andre Holland as Wendell Smith, the black reporter who accompanies Jackie Robinson almost everywhere. 42 is a poignant film that has some unexpectedly witty moments, and viewers can expect their emotions to run the gamut from shame, helplessness, and rage to the awakening of inspiration and empowerment to continue to effect change and eradicate discrimination. 42 is one of the best films produced in a long time.  Trailer.

48 hrs (1982) / Paramount Pictures presents a Lawrence Gordon production ; a Walter Hill film ; written by Roger Spottiswoode ... [et al.] ; produced by Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver ; directed by Walter Hill.  Hollywood, Calif. : Paramount Home Video, 1983.  1 VHS videocassette (97 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  PN1997 .A1545 1983 Videocassette : Nolte is a rough-edged cop after two vicious cop-killers. He can't do it without the help of smooth and dapper Murphy, who is serving time for a half-million dollar robbery. Both pursue their separate goals--Nolte wants the villains and Murphy wants his money and some much-needed female companionship.  Features Eddie Murphy.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

10,000 Black Men Named George (2002) / Showtime and Paramount Pictures presents ; producer, Michelle Mundy ; written by Cyrus Nowrasteh ; directed by Robert Townsend.  Hollywood, Calif. : Paramount, [2003], c2001.  1 DVD videodisc (89 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 T456 2003 VideoDVD : In the 1920s, the rights of American workers to join a labor union was still considered an open question, and African-Americans were routinely denied their civil and economic rights. So in 1925, when black journalist and political activist Asa Philip Randolph and railway car porter Ashley Totten formed the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first black-controlled union, it was a bold gesture which proved to have a major impact in both labor and race relations in America. At that time, almost all porters for the Pullman Rail Company were black, and called "George", after George Pullman, the first person to employ emancipated slaves.  Cast : André Braugher, Charles S. Dutton, Mario Van Peebles, Carla Brothers, Brock Peters, Kenneth McGregor, Ernestine Jackson, Ellen Holly, Kedar, Joel Gordon, Ardon Bess, Karen Eyo.  Mark Deming, All Movie Guide.

Action Jackson (1988) / written by Robert Reneau ; directed by Craig R. Baxley ; Silver Pictures.  Irvine, Calif. : Lorimar, 1988.  1 12-inch videodisc (LaserVision CLV) (96 min.) : sd., col.  PN1995.9.D4 A38 1988 Video (12 inch) disc : Carl Weathers is Detroit police sergeant Jericho Action Jackson. He's pitted against the brutal thugs of ruthless auto tycoon Peter Dellaplane, who's out to murder his way to political power. Jackson's also involved with Dellaplane's beautiful wife Patrice -- and his exotic mistress Sydney.

Adios Amigo (1976)   [United States] : Trinity Home Entertainment, c2004.  1 DVD videodisc (90 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.W4 A356 2004 VideoDVD : Richard Pryor and Fred Williamson take on the Wild West with nothing but charm and a hysterical sense of adventure in this tale of con or be conned! Riding the Old West’s comedy range, making off with bags of cash and charming the bloomers off the local ladies the two make off like bandits in this crazy slapstick Western!  Cast : Richard Pryor, Fred Williamson, James Brown.

The African American Cinema / producer, Scott Simmon ; the Library of CongressNew York : Unapix Consumer Products, Unapix Entertainment : Library of Congress : Smithsonian Video, c1995.  2 VHS videocassettes (ca. 159 min.) PN1995.9.N4 A347 1995 Videocassette : Presents early, classic silent films produced by and for African Americans. "Within Our Gates" is one of the earliest surviving features directed by an African American. It confronts racism through the story of a young African American woman who seeks to raise money for a Southern school for black children from a rich white Northerner. Scenes of lynching and attempted white-on-black rape are thought to be a response to D.W. Griffith's "The birth of a nation." The second work, "The Scar of Shame" depicts poverty, ambition, and prejudice within the African American community through the tale of a middle-class black composer who marries a woman to rescue her from her lower-class, ghetto life, but comes to despise her lower-class background. "Sissle and Blake" is an early experimental musical short featuring Nobel Sissle singing with Eubie Blake accompanying her on the piano.

Akeelah and the Bee (2006)   / Spelling Bee Productions, Inc. ; 2929 Productions ; Cinema Gypsy Productions ; Lions Gate Films ; Out of the Blue Entertainment ; Reactor Films ; Starbucks Entertainment ; produced by Laurence Fishburne, Sidney Ganis, Nancy Hult, Daniel Llewelyn, Michael Romersa ; written and directed by Doug Atchison.  Santa Monica, CA : Lions Gate Home Entertainment, 2006.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 112 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.C45 A544 2006 VideoDVD : Eleven year-old Akeelah Anderson's life is not easy: her father is dead, her mom ignores her, her brother runs with the local gangbangers. She is a smart girl, but her environment threatens to strangle her aspirations. Responding to a threat by her school's principal, Akeelah decides to participate in a spelling bee to avoid detention for her many absences. Much to her surprise and embarrassment, she wins. Her principal asks her to seek coaching from Dr. Larabee, an English professor, for the more prestigious regional bee. As the possibility of making it all the way to the Scripps National Spelling Bee looms, Akeelah could provide her community with someone to rally around and be proud of. First Akeelah has to overcome her insecurities, her distracting home life, and the knowledge that there is a field of more experienced and privileged fellow spellers.

Ali  (2001) / Columbia Pictures presents, in association with Initial Entertainment Group, a Peters Entertainment/Forward Pass Production, in association with Lee Caplin/Picture Entertainment Corporation and Overbrook Films ; produced by Jon Peters, James Lassiter, Paul Ardaji, Michael Mann and A. Kitman Ho ; story, Gregory Allen Howard ; screenplay, Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Eric Roth & Michael Mann ; directed by Michael Mann.  [United States] : Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, 2002. 1 DVD videodisc (157 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 insert. PN1995.9.B55 A45 2002 VideoDVD : Dramatic biography of boxing great Muhammad Ali, which focuses on the ten-year period of 1964-1974. In that time, the brash, motor-mouthed athlete quickly dominates his sport, meets and marries his first wife, converts to Islam (changing his name from Cassius Clay), and defies the United States government by refusing to submit to military conscription for duty in Vietnam. His world heavyweight champion title thus stripped from him entirely for political reasons, the champ sets about to win back his crown, culminating in a legendary unification bout against George Foreman in Zaire, dubbed the "Rumble in the Jungle."  Cast : Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight, Mario Van Peebles, Ron Silver, Jeffrey Wright, Mykelti Williamson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Nona Gaye, Michael Michele, Joe Morton.

American Gangster  / Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment present in association with Relativity Media ; a Brian Grazer production ; produced by Brian Grazer, Ridley Scott ; written by Steven Zaillian ; directed by Ridley Scott.  Universal City, CA : Universal Studios Home Entertainment, 2008.  1 Blue Ray DVD videodisc (2 hr., 57 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in  PN1995.9.G3 A44 2008 Blu-ray VideoDVD : Frank Lucas is a crime boss armed with ruthless, streetwise tactics and a strict sense of honor. Through ingenuity and a strict business ethic, Lucas comes to rule the inner-city drug trade.  Cast : Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Cuba Gooding Jr., Josh Brolin, Ted Levine, Armand Assante, John Oritz, John Hawkes, Rza.  Features Denzel Washington.

American son (2008) / Miramax Films presents a Winghead Films production in association with Map Point Pictures and Night & Day Pictures, a Neil Abramson film.  Burbank, CA : Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2009. 1 DVD videodisc (ca. 85 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  86 minuts.  PN1995.9.M53 A447 2009 VideoDVD : Take an intimate look into the heart and mind of an American soldier in the riveting urban drama that captivated audiences at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. What would you do if you had just four days to say goodbye to everyone who was importrant to you? Nineteen year old Mike Holland (Nick Cannon) has 96 hours to make peace with his frieds and family and maybe even begin a new relationship on the eve of his deployment to Iraq. Get a glimpse of the emotional battlefield our troops navigate as they leave America's streets to fight in a completely different world. Experience a gripping story that rises above politics and centers on the personal challenges of a tough young man with an uncertain future. It's a facinating film you won't soon forget.

Amistad (1997) / [presented by] DreamWorks Pictures in association with HBO Pictures ; produced by by Steven Spielberg, Debbie Allen, Colin Wilson ; written by David Franzoni ; directed by Steven Spielberg. Universal City, Calif. : DreamWorks, c1998.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 155 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PN1997 .A3435 1998 Videocassette (Also available in MSU College of Law Library) : Chronicles the 1839 revolt on board a slave ship bound for America. Much of the story involves the court-room drama about the slave who led the revolt.  Cast : Morgan Freeman, Nigel Hawthorne, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey.

And the Children Shall Lead / producer, Topper Carew ; teleplay by Emma Pullen and Ilunga Adell ; director, Michael Pressman.  [Salt Lake City, Utah] : All Things Family, [2003]  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 58 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 A45 2003 VideoDVDIt is 1964, in the segregated town of Catesville, Mississippi, and Rachel who is black and Jenny who is white are best friends, caught up in the firestorm surrounding black voter registration. The adults, both black and white, afraid of the inevitable changes that are surely coming, hang onto the old ways of dealing with their differences. Stars Danny Glover, Pam Potillo LeVar Burton, Denise Nicholas, Andrew Prine....This drama, set in Catesville, Mississippi during the height of the civil rights movement, looks at the effects of political change on children -- who can often prove wiser than their elders....Despite segregation, 12-year-old Rachel has maintained close ties with several white children. Then, civil rights activists arrive in Catesville determined to assure equal rights for blacks. As tension and distrust between the races grow, Rachel and her friends decide they must help the town unite and overcome prejudice...When a group of civil rights activists arrive in a sleepy Mississippi town and bring the citizens' simmering racial tensions to the surface, a 12-year-old girl named Rachel joins the fight against segregation and leads the adults to better racial understanding....A Rainbow Television Workshop production.

Anna Lucasta  Santa Monica, Calif. : MGM Home Entertainment, 2005. 1 DVD videodisc (97 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. PS3575.O6 A8 2005 VideoDVD : "When wild child Anna Lucasta is thrown out of the house by her self-righteous father, she falls into a life of prostitution ... and into the arms of street-wise sailor Danny Johnson. But after Anna shocks them all by finally finding true love with a well-heeled young suitor, her unforgiving father sets a vengeful plan in motion to remind his daughter of her sordid past ... and destroy her future forever!"  Cast: Eartha Kitt, Sammy Davis, Jr.

Antwone Fisher (2002) / Fox Searchlight Pictures presents a Mundy Lane/Todd Black production, a Denzel Washington film ; produced by Todd Black, Randa Haines, Denzel Washington ; written by Antwone Fisher ; directed by Denzel Washington20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, [2003], c2002.  1 DVD videodisc (120 min.) PN1995.9.N4 A589 2003 VideoDVD : Guided by a determined Navy psychiatrist, a troubled sailor embarks on a personal, emotionally inspiring journey to confront his past and connect with the family he never knew. Inspired by the true life experiences of Antwone Fisher.  Features Denzel Washington. Trailer.

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman  (1973)  Los Angeles, Calif. : Prism Entertainment, 1985.  1 BETA videocassette (106 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.N4 A97 1985 Videocassette : This superb historical drama tells the fictional story of 110-year-old former slave Jane Pittman. Or more accurately, the movie allows the fictional Miss Jane to tell her own story as both eyewitness and participant in 110 years of painfully real American history. Cicely Tyson gives a powerhouse performance as the plainspoken and spirited Jane, tracing her turbulent life journey from the skittish young slave girl freed at the end of the Civil War to the withered but indomitable old woman who finds herself at the center of a local civil rights struggle. Tyson’s portrayal is made all the more vivid by the thoroughly believable "aging" make-up created by Stan Winston and a young Ric (Star Wars) Baker. Tracy Keenan Wynn’s brilliant screenplay, adopted from Ernest J. Gaines’s novel, manages to convey the complexity of the black experience in this country with a subtlety and intelligence rarely achieved in film or television. The movie is also full of excellent supporting performances, including iconic folk singer Odetta as fellow slave Big Laura, Katherine Helmond as a Confederate widow, and Thalmus Rasulala as Jane’s adopted son, Ned. But the movie belongs to Tyson, whose tour-de-force performance earned her one of the production’s nine Emmy awards and universal acclaim as one of the greatest actresses of her generation.  Cast : Cicely Tyson, Richard A. Dysart.

Selected Feature Films, B

All African American feature films, either featuring African American studies themes or African American actors,  are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.  Movies can be checked out unless reserved for a class.

Bad Boys (1995) / Columbia Pictures ; story by George Gallo ; screenplay by Michael Barrie & Jim Mulholland and Doug Richardson ; produced by Don Simpson & Jerry Bruckheimer ; directed by Michael Bay.  Culver City, CA : Columbia TriStar Home Video, c2000.  1 DVD videodisc (119 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9 .A3 B33 2000 VideoDVD : A cheerfully over-the-top action film, Bad Boys is notable chiefly for the rapport between its two stars, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, as two Miami cops on the trail of a drug kingpin as they try to protect a witness (Tea Leoni). Smith is the swinging bachelor and Lawrence the family man, and both must juggle their personal lives as they baby-sit the one chance they have to recover a stolen drug shipment, save their jobs, and take down the drug dealer. While the film is almost always implausible and its story is something seen many times before, director Michael Bay (The Rock) keeps things moving stylishly and at a feverish pace, as Smith and Lawrence prove themselves a terrific comic pairing. Their odd couple banter flies at a faster clip than the bullets and explosions, and becomes the best reason to see this hyperbolic but entertaining action flick.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.  

Bamboozled (2000) / New Line Cinema.  [Calif.] : New Line Home Entertainment, c2001.  1 DVD videodisc (136 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997 .B35 2001 VideoDVD  : Director Spike Lee has never shied away from controversy, and with Bamboozled he tackles a thorny mix of racism and how images are bought and sold. A frustrated TV writer named Delacroix (Damon Wayans), unable to break his contract, tries to get fired by proposing a new minstrel show, complete with dancers in blackface. But the network loves the idea, and Delacroix hires two street performers (Savion Glover, who is truly the finest tap dancer since Fred Astaire, and Tommy Davidson) whose hunger for success and ignorance of history combine to make them accept the blackface. Despite protests, the show is a huge success--but gradually, the mental balance of everyone involved starts to crumble. As an argument, Bamboozled is incoherent--but how can racism be discussed rationally in the first place? Lee takes a much braver approach: Every time something seems to make sense or make a point, he complicates the situation. At one point, Delacroix goes to see his father, a standup comedian working at a small black club. Delacroix perceives his father as a broken failure. But his father's routine is full of articulate critiques of white hypocrisy, and the older man describes refusing to play the narrow movie roles that Hollywood had offered him, while Delacroix has convinced himself that his minstrel show is actually doing some social good. And what is the effect of the show itself? Lee obviously finds blackface abhorrent, but the minstrel routines are perversely fascinating and Glover's dancing, even when he mimics Amos and Andy-era routines, is outstanding. Most cuttingly, Lee points out parallels between minstrel and contemporary hip-hop personas. By the time it's over, Bamboozled won't have told you what to think, but you will have to think about these issues--and that alone is a remarkable accomplishment.Director : Spike Lee.  Performers : Damon Wayans, Savion Glover, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Tommy Davidson, Michael Rapaport.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Barbershop & Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004) / Culver City, Calif. : Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2006.   2 DVD videodiscs : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.C55 B373 2006 VideoDVD : Barbershop description : From the producers of Soul Food comes this "warm, generous" taleabout a Chicago barbershop where razor-sharp comedy never goes out of style! Starring Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve and Cedric the Entertainer, Barbershop is both a "sweet, life-affirming movie" and outrageous, bust-a-gut fun!  Calvin (Ice Cube) is a would-be entrepreneur with big plans and running his family's barbershop isn't one of them. But when he impulsively sells the shop to a shady loan shark, he soon realizes just how important the neighborhood parlor is to him and just how far he'll go to get it back!  Barbershop 2 description : Ice Cube triumphantly returns as Calvin Palmer, proud proprietor of a neighborhood barbershop in Barbershop 2. The first Barbershop was a surprise smash; even more surprising is how good this sequel is. The plot isn't much--there's a corporate haircutting chain opening across the street, leading to the usual sentiments about the importance of small businesses and neighborhoods--but the well-conceived characters and the loose, genuine banter give this movie a striking richness of feeling. Barbershop 2 cuts back and forth in time, flashing back to when Eddie (garrulous Cedric the Entertainer), the shop's oldest and most outspoken barber, first came to work for Calvin's father. Glimpses of black history give weight to the modern-day struggles; most impressively, this device doesn't feel forced or cynical. Also returning are Eve, Troy Garity, and Sean Patrick Thomas; Queen Latifah is a new face on the block.

 Beasts of the southern wild  / Fox Searchlight ; producers, Chris Carroll ... [et. al.] ; writers, Benh Zeitlin, Lucy Alibar ; director, Benh Zeitlin.  [Beverly Hills, Calif.] : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2012.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 94 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.F36 B43 2012 VideoDVD : The devastated landscape of the Louisiana bayou becomes a primordial world in the eyes of 6-year-old Hushpuppy (the fierce and magnetic Quvenzhané Wallis). Hushpuppy's father Wink (Dwight Henry), emotionally unstable and increasingly ill, fights to maintain their ramshackle home, along with the rest of the precarious community of the area known as the Bathtub--but a Katrina-esque storm leaves the Bathtub flooded, driving Wink to desperate lengths. Faced with the loss of everything she knows, Hushpuppy decides her only hope is to find her mother, but her only clue is a winking light in the distance. Beasts of the Southern Wild tells its story entirely from the 6-year-old girl's perspective; the actions and emotions of adults take on a mythic scope, as does the damaged environment in which she lives. The movie is dense and rich, often as obscure and murky as the overgrown bayou itself, sometimes off-putting and enticing at the same time. Wallis, her performance brimming with feral energy and a wounded soul, carries the movie with more star power than most adults could muster. The dialogue is thick with intriguing metaphors and the images resist being easily interpreted into a conventional plot, but the story gradually emerges, rising to a potent end. Viewers who take the time to sink into its mysteries will be rewarded.

Beauty Shop (2005) / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures presents ; A State Street Pictures, Mandeville Films production ; produced by David Hoberman ... [et al.] ; screenplay by Kate Lanier and Norman Vance, Jr. ; directed by Bille Woodruff.  [Santa Monica, Calif.] : MGM Home Entertainment, c2005.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 105 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.C55 B43 2005 VideoDVD  : With Queen Latifah holding court over a cast of sassy females, Beauty Shop continues the Barbershop franchise in entertaining style. Reprising her role from Barbershop 2: Back in Business, Latifah plays Gina the big-booty stylist, now on her own (she's a widow) and moving from Chicago to Atlanta, where she gets sick of her flamboyantly bitchy boss (played by... Kevin Bacon?), inherits her two best clients (Andie MacDowell and Mena Suvari) and her popular formula for "hair crack" conditioner, and opens her own styling shop with a $30,000 loan and a rainbow coalition of hairdressers played by Golden Brooks, Sherri Shepherd, Alfre Woodard and Alicia Silverstone. While it lacks the frank, sharply observant racial humor of Barbershop, this easygoing comedy moves along at an agreeable pace, with a supporting cast of beauty-shop customers (and a love interest, played by Djimon Hounsou) who play off Queen Latifah's effortless appeal with energy to spare. Sure it's conventional, and most of the characters are thinly developed, but Beauty Shop is a fun place to visit for 105 hassle-free minutes.

Beloved (1998) / directed by Jonathan Demme ; screenplay by Akosua Busia ... [et al.] ; produced by Edward Saxon ... [et al.] ; Touchstone Pictures ; a Harpo Films/Clinica Estetico production.  Burbank, CA : Touchstone Home Video, [1999?]  1 DVD videodisc (171 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PS3563.O8749 B433 1999 VideoDVD  : Jonathan Demme directed this adaptation of Toni Morrison's fact-based fifth novel (winner of a 1988 Pulitzer Prize), written in an experimental stream-of-consciousness flow and capturing the impact and aftermath of slavery on the human soul. In 1873, middle-aged Sethe (Oprah Winfrey) lives near Cincinnati with her teenage daughter, Denver (Kimberly Elise). She gets a surprise visit from her old friend Paul D (Danny Glover), whom she knew when they were both slaves on the Kentucky plantation Sweet Home. Paul D moves in, and a number of mysteries are introduced, including Sethe's memories of her dead older daughter and the fact that Sethe has been abandoned by her husband, two sons, and Denver's grandmother, Baby Suggs (Beah Richards). When a feral, insect-covered, stuttering teenager (Thandie Newton) turns up at Sethe's house, she is nursed back to health by Denver and called "Beloved." Violent flashbacks begin to explore shocking episodes from Sethe's past. (The film is rated R "for violent images, sexuality and nudity.") Hints of the supernatural surface as the question arises -- could Beloved be Sethe's older daughter, back from the dead? This film was a pet project of producer-star Oprah Winfrey, who spent over a decade bringing this work to the screen after she bought the film rights in 1987.   Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Best Man (1999) / Universal Pictures.  Universal City, CA : Universal Studios, c2000.  1 DVD videodisc (121 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.M3 B47 2000 VideoDVD : A glossy romantic comedy, The Best Man centers on four college friends and the women in their lives, all brought back together for a wedding. Taye Diggs (How Stella Got Her Groove Back) plays the title character, a young writer whose first novel is a barely fictionalized account of his college days, featuring barely fictionalized versions of all his friends. This novel hasn't yet been released, but ambitious TV producer Nia Long (Soul Food) has snagged an advance copy in the hopes of getting an early interview with Diggs. Unfortunately, when this advance copy begins circulating among the college gang, they discover it reveals some secrets that may have a disastrous effect on the wedding. The Best Man features a handsome, charming cast and a propulsive story, but the female characters are poorly developed and the male banter is, to say the least, chauvinistic. This banter is mostly to comic effect, but by the end it still leaves a sour taste that the movie's happy ending doesn't counter. With a particularly strong performance by Terrence Howard as an aimless but relentlessly honest member of the college quartet.  2000 NAACP Image Award winner.

Beware (1946) / [released by] Astor Pictures CorpNorth Hollywood, CA : Hollywood Select Video : Timeless Video [distributor], c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 60 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 B483 1993 Videocassette  : Louis and his band are stranded at his college where they find a feud between the Dean and a pretty gym teacher.  Want more info?  Try the Internet Movie Database.

The Big Timers (1945) / All American News. [S.l.] : Hollywood's Attic, [199-?]  1 VHS videocassette (40 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9 .N4 B55 1990 Videocassette :  A poor girl falls in love with an army officer, and her mother pretends to own the hotel she works at as a chambermaid to encourage her daughter's romance. Cast : Stepin Fetchit, Francine Everett, Lou Swarz, Duke Williams.  Part of the Black artists of the silver screen   series.  Want more info?  Try the Internet Movie Database.

The Big Timers  (1945)   / North Hollywood, Ca : Hollywood Select Video : Timeless Video [distributor], c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (40 min.) PN1995.9 .N4 B55 1993 Videocassette : A poor girl falls in love with an army officer, but her mother pretends to own the hotel she works at as a chambermaid to encourage her daughter's romance.  Try the Internet Movie Database.

The Birth of a Nation 1915) / Lumivision Corporation & International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House ; director and producer, D.W. Griffith ; writers, Thomas F. Dixon, Jr., D.W. Griffith, Frank E. Woods.  Burbank, CA : Triton Multimedia, c2002. 1 DVD videodisc (200 min.) : si., b&w ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.75 .B57 2002 VideoDVD : The story of two families, North and South, who are caught up in the Civil War and then the Reconstruction period. Includes an abbreviated version of "The birth of a race" which was conceived as a protest against the racism of "Birth of a nation", the story of the birth of the Ku Klux Klan.  Additional notes from Wikipedia: Set during and after the American Civil War, the film was based on Thomas Dixon's The Clansman, a novel and play.  Although the first movie "blockbuster" using innovative filming techniques, the movie  provoked great controversy for promoting white supremacy and positively portraying the Ku Klux Klan as heroes. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People protested premieres of the film in numerous cities. It also conducted a public education campaign, publishing articles' protesting the film's fabrications and inaccuracies, organizing petitions against it, and conducting education on the facts of the war and Reconstruction.  When the film was originally shown, riots broke out in Boston, Philadelphia, and other major cities. Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis refused to allow the film to open. The film's inflammatory character was a catalyst for gangs of whites to attack blacks.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Birth of a Nation (New York, NY; Kino International, 1915) 193 minutes. available as streaming video via Silent Film Online by Alexander Street Press.  A film adaptation of Thomas Nixon's novel The Clansman.

The Black Brigade (1970 ) (1:10 min) Streaming video via Matinee Classics Cast: Stephen Boyd, Robert Hooks, Paul Stewart, Richard Pryor, Susan Oliver, Glynn E. Turman, Billy Dee Williams. DVD release of the television movie Carter's Army, which aired as an ABC Movie of the Week on January 27, 1970. The movie is a war drama that stars a host of prominent African-American film actors, including Richard Pryor, Rosie Grier, Robert Hooks, Billy Dee Williams, and Moses Gunn. A redneck officer (Stephen Boyd) is put in charge of a squad of all black troops charged with the mission of securing an important hydro dam in Nazi Germany. Their failure would delay the Allied advance into Germany, thus prolonging the war. These African-Americans had been relegated to cleaning latrines and therefore have little real military training, but Captain Beau Carter has no choice. He leads the rag-tag unit to secure the dam and the men reveal themselves as heroic.

Black Caesar (1973)  Los Angeles, CA : Orion Home Video, 1998.  1 VHS videocassette (96 min.) PN1995.9.N4 B55333 1998 Videocassette : Fred Williamson is "imposing, tough and unflappable" as a street kid who muscles his way into the big time mob racket.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine. 

Black Gunn (1972)  / Columbia Pictures presents a John Heyman production of a Robert Hartford-Davis film ; produced by John Heyman and Norman Priggen ; screenplay by Franklin Coen ; directed by Robert Hartford-Davis.  Culver City, Calif. : Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, 2004.  1 DVD videodisc (97 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.M23 B53 2004 VideoDVD : A successful and popular nightclub owner who believes financial independence is the path to equality and success must act as a go-between for his militant-minded brother and the white gang syndicate his brother has attacked and robbed. Their involvements lead to a breathless race-course chase, the destruction of a dope pusher and a violent waterfront climax. Stars Academy Award® Winner Martin Landau and Jim Brown.

The Black King (1932) / presented by Sack Amusement EnterprisesNorth Hollywood, CA : Hollywood Select Video : Timeless Video [distributor], c1993. 1 VHS videocassette (ca. 72 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 B572 1993 Videocassette : Fiery preacher Charcoal Johnson, though no model of sanctity, gains control of a Mississippi Baptist church through personal magnetism; he uses this springboard to organize a 'Back to Africa' movement among his fellow afro-Americans, along the lines of evangelical religion. Weathering accusations of swindling, he emerges as the self-styled (future) Emperor of the United States of Africa. But his tin-plated pomp is threatened by greed, personalities, and practicalities... The film is based on the career of Marcus Garvey, who organized a Back-to- Africa movement among blacks in the United States, and is not an "All-Black-Cast" film, as there are white actors, including the director/producer Bud Pollard, playing some minor, uncredited roles. Deacon "Charcoal" Johnson is heading a Back-to-Africa group and raising funds (to his pockets, mostly) all the way from Logan, Mississippi to New York City's Harlem, where a procession of Johnson's followers and elite troops parade to the music of Victor Herbert's "March of the Wooden Soldiers." Try Internet Movie Database.

Black Nativity / Fox Seachlight Pictures presents a Maven Pictures/Wonderful Films production ; produced by Celine Rattray, William Horberg, Galt Niedrhoffer ; written for the screen and directed by Kasi Lemmons.   Los Angeles, CA : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment ; [2014}.  1 DVD videodisc (approximately 93 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.  N1995.9.F35 B533 2014 VideoDVD    : "I would rather be a lamppost in Harlem than the Governor of Georgia." This is a famous quote from Langston Hughes (1902-1967), who was part of the Harlem Renaissance that began in the early 1920s. His classic play, "Black Nativity," appears on American stages each holiday season, so it's time an updated musical version is offered on film....We have a fatherless boy sent by his destitute mother in Baltimore to stay with her estranged parents in Harlem until she finds a new job and another place to live. He is confused and angry; plus his backpack is stolen just minutes after he gets off the bus in New York City.  The cast includes:
 * Jacob Latimore (Lots of TV) is Langston, bewildered by the rift between his mother and his grandfather. No one will tell him why they aren't speaking, so all he wants is to go back to Baltimore and try to help his mom.
* Forest Whitaker ("The Butler") is Langston's grandfather, the Reverend Cornell, a dedicated minister and loving husband, but inflexible where his daughter is concerned.
* Angela Bassett ("American Horror Story") is the lovely and wise Aretha Cobbs. Langston says, "I don't even know what I'm supposed to call you. Should I call you Grandma?"
* Jennifer Hudson ("Winnie Mandela") is Langston's single mother, out of options and desperate to protect her son, even though she will NOT accept any help from her family. That inflexible apple didn't fall very far from that inflexible tree....
* Vondie Curtis-Hall (Lots of TV) is the pawnbroker our young hero visits in a naïve attempt to raise money for his mother.
* Tyrese Gibson ("Fast Five") is a spooky guy who just seems to keep showing up in that Harlem neighborhood.
This PG-rated musical features a wide range of selections, from original ballads and traditional hymns to rap, so it has something for everyone. The finale is the Christmas nativity presented in Reverend Cornell's Harlem church, so it's seasonal as well.

Black Picket Fence  (2002)  / Holysneakers, Inc. ; Seventh Art Releasing ; director, Sergio Goes ; producers, Sergio Goes, Keiko Takahashi. Chatsworth, CA : Image Entertainment, Inc., c2003.  1 DVD videodisc (93 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in  ML420.M55 B53 2003 VideoDVD : Tiz has a dream. He wants to be a successful hip-hop rapper, get out of the projects and have a nice house in the suburbs where he can chill without worrying about a bullet in his back. But at 25, with a young son and close friends depending on him, is real escape ever possible? An inspiring story of survival, this hard-hitting documentary from award-winning Sergio Goes follows Tislam Miller, a struggling rapper in the public housing projects of Brooklyn's East New York. Mentored by the legendary Kool G Rap, Tiz is making impressive strides in his career but remains tied to his old life, primarily through his drug-dealing best friend, Mel, who has just gotten out of prison. With candid interviews, lyrical moments of grim beauty and powerful verite footage taking us beyond rap world stereotypes, Black Picket Fence is an powerful experience honored by the Brooklyn International Film Festival.

Black Rebels (1959) / screenplay by Morris Lee Green ; story by William Rowland and Irma Berk ; added scenes created and directed by William Rowland ; produced by William Rowland ; directed by Richard L. Bare. Murder in Mississippi (1956) / written by Herbert S. Altman ; produced by Herbert S. Altman, J.P. Mawra ; directed by J.P. Mawra.  [United States] : Something Weird Video, c2005.  1 DVD videodisc (177 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.R23 B553 2005 VideoDVD : Black Rebels summary - "'We don't want your kind around here....' When drug-dealing Buck kills the boyfriend of Lola Montalvo (West Side Story Oscar winner Rita Moreno) then pins the rap on her brother, Lola seeks revenge by pretending to love Buck -- moments after Buck's former girlfriend (Dyan Cannon!) tries to stick a switchblade in his back! All of which culminates in a race riot at the home of a high-school rich kid involving black, white, and Mexican gangs, undercover cops, Lola's poor ol' papa, and even a pool full of naked girls...." Murder in Mississippi summary - "Voter registration leads to Murder in Mississippi when a 'cracker' Sheriff arrests white dilettante Carol Byrd and two other 'Communist Yankees' for 'agitating colored folks.' Though her friends are killed, Carol is kept alive as the personal sex slave of two white-trash cretins in this nasty lesson in racial intolerance..." Two examples of Black exploitation films.  Want more info?  Try Internet Movie Database.

Blackboard Jungle (1955) / MGM presents ; produced by Pandro S. Berman ; screen play by Richard Brooks ; directed by Richard BrooksBurbank, CA : Warner Home Video, 2005.  1 DVD videodisc (100 min.)  PS3558.U473 B55 2005 VideoDVD : Urban drama about an idealistic teacher in a slum area who fights doggedly to connect with his unruly students. Based on Evan Hunter's novel.  Features Sidney Poitier in one of his earliest roles.  More details.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Blacula (1972) / American International Pictures.  [Los Angeles, CA] : Orion Home Video, c1998.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 93 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 B55338 1998 Videocassette : In 1780, African Prince Mamuwalde visits Count Dracula at his castle in Transylvania, seeking his support in ending the slave trade. The Count curses the prince and murders his wife. Mumuwalde is transformed into a vampire and is confined to a coffin for nearly two centuries until he was unwittingly freed by two interior decorators who become his first victims.  Want more info? Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Blade (1998New Line Cinema presents an Amen Ra Films production  [Canada] : Alliance Films, [2009?]  1 Blu-ray videodisc (120 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.S26 B5 2009 Blu-ray VideoDVD : Wesley Snipes plays a half-mortal, half-immortal in charge of ridding the earth of a race of vampires led by Stephen Dorff in this action-packed blockbuster.  Want more info? Try Movie Review Query Engine

Blade II (2002) / New Line Cinema presents an Amen Ra Films production in association with Imaginary Forces.  Canada] : Alliance Films, [2009]  1 Blu-ray videodisc (117 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.S26 B52 2009 Blu-ray VideoDVD  : Aptly described by critic Roger Ebert as "a vomitorium of viscera," Blade II takes the express route to sequel success. So if you enjoyed Blade, you'll probably drool over this monster mash, which is anything but boring. Set (and filmed) in Prague, the plot finds a new crop of "Reaper" vampires threatening to implement a viral breeding program, and they're nearly impervious to attacks by Blade (Wesley Snipes), his now-revived mentor Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), and a small army of "normal" vampires who routinely combust in a constant conflagration of spectacular special effects. It's up to Blade to conquer the über-vamps, and both Snipes and director Guillermo del Toro (Mimic) serve up a nonstop smorgasbord of intensely choreographed action, creepy makeup, and graphic ultraviolence. It's sadistic, juvenile, numbing, and--for those who dig this kind of thing--undeniably impressive. With the ever-imposing Ron Perlman as a vampire villain. Want more info? Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Blade : Trinity (2004) / New Line Cinema presents an Amen Ra Films Production. [Canada] : Alliance Films, c2009.  1 Blu-ray videodisc (1 hr. 53 min.) : digital, col. ; 4 3/4 in.   PN1995.9.S26 B522 2009 Blu-ray VideoDVD : Even skeptical fans of the Blade franchise will enjoy sinking their teeth into Blade: Trinity. The law of diminishing returns is in full effect here, and the franchise is wearing out its welcome, but let's face it: any movie that features Jessica Biel as an ass-kicking vampire slayer and Parker Posey--yes, Parker Posey!--as a vamping vampire villainess can't be all bad, right? Those lovely ladies bring equal measures of relief and grief to Blade, the half-human, half-vampire once again played, with tongue more firmly in stone-cold cheek, by Wesley Snipes. With series writer David S. Goyer in the director's chair, the film is calculated for mainstream appeal, trading suspenseful horror for campy humor and choppy, nonsensical action. The franchise still offers some intriguing ideas, however, including Drake (Dominic Purcell), the original vampire, whose blood contains the secret that could destroy all blood-suckers in a plot that incorporates a sinister "blood farm" where humans are held--and drained--in suspended animation. And Biel's wise-cracking sidekick (Ryan Reynolds) in her cadre of "Nightstalkers" provides comic relief in a series that's grown increasingly dour. All of which makes Blade: Trinity a love-it-or-hate-it sequel... supposedly the last in a trilogy, but the ending suggests otherwise. Want more info? Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Blade : Trinity (2004) / New Line Cinema ; producers, David S. Goyer, Lynn Harris ; written and directed by David S. Goyer.  [United States] : New Line Home Entertainment, 2005.  2 DVD video discs (124 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. Special Collections Comic Art PN1995.9.S26 B522 2005 VideoDVD (Note : Library use only) : A group of vampires resurrect "Drake" the all-powerful Count Dracula. Teaming up with the Nightstalkers, a group of similar-minded hunters, Blade is ready for battle. A scientist creates a potion that can kill Drake and the entire bloodsucking race.  Cast : Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Dominic Purcell, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, Parker Posey, Triple @H.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Blind Side (2010) / Alcon Entertainment ; Zucker/Netter Productions ; produced by Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove, Gil Netter ; written by John Lee Hancock ; directed by John Lee Hancock.  Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, [2010]  1 Blu-ray Disc (128 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997.2 .B55 2010 Blu-ray VideoDVD : Michael Oher is a homeless African-American teenager who is from a broken home. Mike is taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher's presence in the Touhys' lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own. Living in his new environment, Mike faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome - as both a football player and student. Mike works hard and, with the help of his coaches and adopted family, becomes an All-American offensive left tackle.  Cast : Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Jae Head, Lily Collins, Ray McKinnon, Kim Dickens, Adriane Lenox, Kathy Bates, Catherine Dyer, Andy Stahl.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Blood of Jesus (1941)   / Amegro Films ; written and directed by Spencer WilliamsNorth Hollywood, CA : Hollywood Select Video : Distributed by Timeless Video Inc., c1994. 1 VHS videocassette (57 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 B5566 1994 Videocassette : Spencer Williams, who had been an actor and screenwriter since 1929, was one of the most important African-American filmmakers of the 1940s, producing dramas with all-black casts that found a ready audience in all-black movie houses. Williams made his directorial debut with this low-budget drama, for which he was also the producer, screenwriter, and lead actor. Highly religious Martha (Cathryn Caviness) is married to Razz (Williams), a ne'er-do-well who has trouble supporting his family and rarely goes to church. Razz accidentally shoots Martha while tending to his hunting rifle, and her fellow parishioners pray over her as she hovers between life and death. Her spirit leaves her body, transported to the Crossroads between Heaven and Hell. There, Martha is tempted from the path of righteousness by Judas Green (Frank H. McClennan), a smooth-talking demon sent by Satan (James B. Jones) who introduces her to the pleasures of liquor and dancing and tries to talk her into a new career as a nightclub hostess, before she realizes that she has begun to travel the path of sin and degradation. Shot in Texas on a budget of only $5000, The Blood of Jesus uses both ethereal gospel music and down-and-dirty blues on the soundtrack is an effective metaphor for the film's battle of sacred and profane influences. Williams would direct seven more films before the decade was over, and in the 1950s he gained fame as Andy on the Amos 'n' Andy TV series.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Blood of Jesus (1941) (56 min.) Streaming video from Internet Archive : A classic example of the "race film" genre of films by African-American directors and casts, geared exclusively for an African-American audience. This film, written and directed by Spencer William Jr. of the TV show Amos & Andy Show (who also played Razz Williams in the film), is a morality tale about a woman (Cathryn Caviness) who is accidentally shot to death by her husband. Facing death, she must choose between Hell, represented as urban life, and Zion, represented as pastoral America, and between Satan and God. The climax comes when she makes her decision at the foot of the cross and wakes up to singing of her church choir. Intended to promote a Black Southern Baptist ideal of a virtuous rural life, the film was a major success and the most popular hit in its genre. 

The Blood of Jesus (1941) (57 minutes)  Streaming video via Matinee Classics : Directed by Spencer Williams.  In the rural south of the United States, a godly young woman is accidentally wounded by her un-churched husband. She succumbs to the injuries, whereupon a good angel bids her to journey with him to the Crossroads of Life. Before she can travel far, the devil lures her with the temptations of juke joints and the city. Can she regain the straight and narrow before it's too late? And what is to become of those she left behind?

The Blood of Jesus / Sack Attractions ; Amegro Films presents ; written and directed by Spencer Williams ; Lying lips / Alfred N. Sack presents ; a Monogram Picture ; written and directed by Oscar Micheaux.  Narberth, PA : Alpha Home Entertainment, ©2006.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 144 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in.  ROVI Film Collection CP9 D0072999 VideoDVD

Blue Caprice / Sundance Selects presents ; produced by Isen Robbins, Aimee Schoof ; screenplay by R.F.I. Porto ; produced and directed by Alexandre Moors. 1 DVD videodisc (94 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.B55 B58 2014 VideoDVD  : Inspired by true events, Blue Caprice investigates the notorious and horrific Beltway sniper attacks from the point of view of the two perpetrators, whose distorted father-son relationship facilitated their long and bloody journey across America. Recently abandoned by his mother, teenager Lee Malvo (Tequan Richmond) finds an unlikely father figure in John Allen Muhammad (Isaiah Washington, Grey's Anatomy), who takes the boy in and shows him the moral decay of the society that declared him unfit to be a husband and parent. Before long the impressionable Lee follows in John's footsteps and learns the art of killing for vengeance. When John obtains the whereabouts of his estranged wife and children, he outfits a blue Chevy Caprice with a shooting bay and he and Lee head for Maryland. What follows is a weeks-long assault that held the nation's capital in fear as the duo's sniper attacks took the lives of innocent men, women, and children until their apprehension by police. Featuring captivating performances by Washington and Richmond, Blue Caprice paints a riveting portrait of 21st-century America and is a haunting depiction of two cold-blooded killers that endures long after the final frame.

Boarding House Blues (1948) (80 min.) Directed by Josh Binney. Streaming video via Matinee Classics : Cast: Jackie 'Moms' Mabley, Dusty Fletcher and Lucky Millinder. 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 specialty acts.

Body and Soul (1924) / produced and directed by Oscar MicheauxChicago, Ill. : Facets Video, [1994]   1 VHS videocassette (100 min.) : si., b&w ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.N4 B62 1980z Videocassette  : An article about an escaped prisoner posing as a preacher causes a terrible nightmare for the readers....Paul Robeson in his first screen role, plays two parts, an evil preacher and his good brother, who wage a personal war for the body and soul of the heroine.... Cast : Paul Robeson, Marshall Rodgers, Chester A. Alexander, Walter Comick.  Silent film with music and English subtitles. Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Bodyguard (1992)  / Warner Bros. ; directed by Mick Jackson.  Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 130 min.) : sd., col., stereo. ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.D4 B339 1993 Videocassette : In her spectacular film debut, Houston plays Rachel Marron, a music/movie superstar at her peak. Fans want to see her, hear her, touch her. But one wants to kill her - and that's where security expert Frank Farmer (Costner) comes in. Farmer is a professional who never lets his guard down. Rachel's glamorous life often puts her at risk. Each expects to be in charge. What they don't expect is to fall in love.  Cast : Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Book of Eli (2010)  / produced by Broderick Johnson ... [et al.] ; written by Gary Whitta ; directed by the Hughes Brothers.  Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, 2010.  1 DVD videodisc (118 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997.2 .B66564 2010 VideoDVD : A man travels across a post-apocalyptic American protecting a sacred book that holds secrets to the survival of humans.  Cast : Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Beals, Ray Stevenson.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Boss nigger / Dimension Pictures presents ; Jacs Films Inc. and 3P Productions presents ; written by Fred Williamson ; produced by Jack Arnold, Fred Williamson ; directed by Jack Arnold.  [United States] : Kit Parker Films : Blair and Associates : distributed by VCI Entertainment, c2008.  1 videodisc (93 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.W4 B67 2008 VideoDVD : The Boss (former football star Fred Williamson), has "decided to hunt white folks for a change," becoming a bounty hunter and setting out on the trail of fugitive outlaw Jed Clyton (William Smith). With his comic sidekick Amos (D'Urville Martin), he rides into the town of San Miguel, finds that it has no sheriff and takes the job himself. Boss takes a bite out of local crime and brings the hammer down on Clyton in this amusing and action-filled parody of the 1970s blaxploitation genre, as he institutes black man's law in this white man's town! 

Boyz 'n the Hood (1991) / Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. ; written and directed by John Singleton ; produced by Steve Nicolaides.  Burbank, CA : Columbia TriStar Home Video, 1998, c1991.  1 DVD videodisc (112 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.N4 B699 1998 VideoDVD  A 12-inch disc version is also available : John Singleton, at the age of 23, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his debut film, Boyz N the Hood. The film stars Laurence Fishburne, Angela Basset, Ice Cube, and Academy Award-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. in his first starring role in a feature film. Gooding plays Tre Styles, a teenager growing up in South Central Los Angeles. His father, Furious (Fishburne), is divorced and living away from Tre and his mother (Basset), but he's still involved in Tre's upbringing, teaching him the values of right and wrong and responsibility. Meanwhile, Tre's childhood buddies Ricky (Morris Chestnut) and Doughboy (Ice Cube) are living their lives in terms of the epidemic of violence and poverty that has plagued their neighborhood. Ricky, a talented football player, strives to get a full athletic scholarship to college. If only his SAT scores were higher. Doughboy lives a life full of crime but still remains true to his friends. The obstacles that these three young men come across result in dire consequences, devastatingly avoidable and inevitable at the same time. Boyz N the Hood is a landmark film beyond its commercial success, presenting a portrait of South Central in the late '80s and early '90s as painted by Singleton (who grew up in that neighborhood), achieving accuracy and dramatic resonance in this story of at-risk youth. Cast : Larry Fishburne, Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Morris Chestnut.  1993 NAACP Image Award winner.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Brian's Song (1971) / Columbia Pictures.  Burbank, Calif. : Columbia TriStar Home Video, 2000.  1 DVD videodisc (74 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.S67 B75 2000 VideoDVD : A drama about the deep friendship between Gale Sayers, black halfback for the Chicago Bears, and his white teammate, Brian Piccolo, who died of cancer in 1970.  This biopic about the Chicago Bears' Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers is no mere sports film. It's one of those transcendent stories that struck a rare cultural nerve, a sensitive film about love, friendship, cancer, racial harmony, and football that came along at just the right time. James Caan is at his free-spirited best as Piccolo, and Billy Dee Williams is very charming as the quiet Sayers destined for superstardom. Roommates and rivals, these two rookies soon become best friends because of their competitive natures and complementary personalities. When Piccolo becomes stricken with cancer, his relentless will to live inspires the talented Sayers to reach his athletic potential. Jack Warden, as the masterful coach George Halas, superbly manipulates the ying and yang relationship for all it's worth. Michel Legrand's melancholy theme still lingers in the mind as one of the all-time greats.

Broken Strings (1940) / [presented by] Goldport ; an International Roadshow Release ; an L.C. Borden Production.   [S.l.] : Matinee Classics, [199-?]  1 VHS videocassette (70 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.N4 B76 1990 Videocassette : An all-Black melodrama concerning a classical violinist who injures his fingers. His son tries to earn the needed cash to restore his father's paralyzed hand by following in his father's footsteps as a violinist but to his father's displeasure, he prefers swing to classical music. Cast : Clarence Muse, Sybil Lewis, William Washington, Tommiwitta Moore, Stymie Beard, Pete Webster, Edward Thompson, Buck Woods, Jess Lee Brooks, Earl Morris.  Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series.  Want more info?  Try Internet Movie Database.

The Bronze Buckaroo (1939) (55 min.)  Streaming video from Internet Archive.  Bob Blake and his boys arrive at Joe Jackson's ranch to find him missing. While Slim cheats Dusty out of his money using ventriloquism and marked cards, Blake tries to find Jackson. Learning that Thorne and his gang hold him prisoner, he and his men trail them. When Thorne's gang gets the drop on them, Slim puts his ventriloquism to work.  Example of early African American western.  Source : Internet Archive, Feature Film.  For a related article, see Michigan History: Hollywood's First African-American Cowboy : In the 1930s, when white singing cowboys like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers carved out names for themselves, Herbert Jeffries decided there should be black cowboy films especially since there had been many African American cowboys in the American west.

The Bronze Buckeroo (1939) (57 minutes)  Streaming video via Matinee Classics :  Directed by Richard C. Kahn. Cast: Herb Jeffries, Artie Young and Rollie Hardin.  Bob Blake and his boys arrive at Joe Jackson’s ranch to find him missing. While Slim cheats Dusty out of his money using ventriloquism and marked cards, Blake tries to find Jackson.  Learning that Thorne and his gang hold him prisoner, he and his men trail them. When Thorne’s gang gets the drop on them, Slim puts his ventriloquism to work.

The Bronze Buckaroo (1939) Streaming video from YouTube.

The Brother From Another Planet (1984) / MGM, 2003. 1 DVD (108 minutes) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.C55 B767 2003 VideoDVD : The visionary writer-director behind such films as Passion Fish, Lone Star and Sunshine State, Oscar nominee John Sayles has been at the forefront of independent cinema for more than twenty years. In this "vastly amusing, offbeat fantasy" (Variety), Sayles takes "a fresh look at our society" (Los Angeles Times) through the eyes of a black extraterrestrial (Joe Morton) who crash-lands on Earth in Harlem and is taken in by the regulars of a local bar. The alien changes everyone he meets on his "original and eye-opening" (The Hollywood Reporter) journey through the streets of urban America. But can his message of brotherly love resonate with the intergalactic bounty hunters trying to track him down?  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Bubbling Over (1934) (20 minutes) Streaming video via Matinee Classics : Cast - Ethel Waters, Southernaires Quartet, Hamtree Harrington.  In this all-black short musical comedy a woman has a husband so lazy she can stick a pin in him without waking him up, but announcing lunch gets him up pretty fast.  She’s also saddled with a bevy of his lazy relatives.  Four more come by and sing as a quartet.  After the wife learns they had been traveling men, she advises them to keep traveling and kicks them out.

Buck and the Preacher (1971) / Columbia Pictrues prsents an E&R BEI production ; producer, Joel Glickman ; screenplay, Ernest Kinoy ; directed by Sidney Poitier. Culver City, Calif. : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2007, c1971. 1 videodisc (117 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.W4 B835 2007 VideoDVD : Sidney Poitier made his directing debut with this 1972 action comedy with an edge to it. Made at the height of the Black Power movement in America, the film has an unmistakable militancy in its story of a wagon-train guide and a con man who team up to throw a posse of white nightriders off the trail of escaped slaves. Poitier has never been a distinctive filmmaker, and Buck and the Preacher certainly doesn't indicate any early signs of raw talent that later went undeveloped. But the film's energy and sense of fun, hand in hand with the suggestively political zing, make it watchable.

Bucktown (1975) / American International Pictures.  [Santa Monica : MGM Home Entertainment, c2001]   1 DVD videodisc (94 min.) : sd., col., 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 B83 2001 VideoDVD : This middling but entirely watchable blaxploitation thriller from 1975 stars football-legend-turned-actor Fred Williamson as the brother of a murdered bar owner in a racially divided town. After bringing in a gaggle of tough street buddies from the old neighborhood to help break up a corrupt police force, Williamson's character figures he can settle into domestic bliss with Pam Grier. But there's a snag: the hero's restless posse decides to take over the white cops' graft operation, forcing a bloody finale of retribution. In the '70s genre of reactionary revenge movies, Bucktown is a minor entry, and Grier's rather passive performance is certainly anomalous in the blaxploitation vein. But it is worth a visit, especially for cult film completists. 

Buffalo Soldiers (1997) / TNT presents a Trilogy Group/Citadel Enterprise productions ; producer, Gordon Wolf ; teleplay, Frank Military, Susan Rhinehart ; story, Jonathan Klein, Frank Military ; director, Charles Haid. Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, [2006]  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 120 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 B844 2006 VideoDVD   : Frank Militar and Susan Rhinehart scripted this western, a look back at the post-Civil War Black cavalry troops known as the Buffalo Soldiers, the fierce fighting unit previously covered in a PBS four-parter (1970) and an NBC pilot (1979). In the New Mexico Territory, ex-slave Sgt. Wyatt (Danny Glover) and the Buffalo soldiers arrest Captain Draper (Robert Knott) and other Texas Rangers, but politics mean the Rangers are quietly freed later. Back at Fort Craig, Wyatt reports to anti-black General Pike (Tom Bower) and Col. Grierson (Bob Gunton), a white responsible for assembling and supporting the black regiment. A search is underway for Indian chief Victorio (Harrison Lowe). Indian prophet Nana (Chesley Wilson) is tortured in an effort to get him to reveal Victorio's whereabouts. Determining that Victorio is at Rattlesnake Springs, the Buffalo Soldiers head in that direction for a confrontation. Filmed in the desert of Arizona's Cochise County, Buffalo Soldiers premiered December 7, 1997 on TNT. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Burlesque in Harlem (1954) / produced by Joseph Tuller ; directed by William Alexander. Burbank, Calif. : Hollywood's Attic, c1996. 1 VHS videocassette (60 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.M86 B89 1996 Videocassette : A filming of a burlesque act in 1954 Harlem, complete with singers, baggy-pants comics and "exotic" dancers.  Movie review.

The Butler, see Lee Daniels' The Butler.

Bush Mama  / [producer/director, Haile Gerima].  Washington, DC : Mypheduh Films, Inc, [1993?]  1 VHS videocassette (98 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in.  E185.86 .B87 1993 Videocassette : A powerful drama of a black woman living on welfare in the Los Angeles ghetto, trying to care for her daughter after being stranded alone by her man's imprisonment for a crime he didn't commit.

Selected Feature Films, C

All African American feature films, either featuring African American studies themes or African American actors,  are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.  Movies can be checked out unless reserved for a class.

Cab Callaway’s Jitterbug Party (1935) (7:32minutes) Streaming video via Matinee Classics : A Paramount Picture.  In the film, Cab Calloway and his Orchestra perform Hotcha Razz-Ma-Tazz and 'Long About Midnight at the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York before going to a house party and performing Jitter Bug. In the final sequence, a young Lena Horne can be seen dancing.

Cabin in the Sky (1943)  / Loew's Inc. directed by Vincent Minnelli ; produced by Arthur Freed.  New York : Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment, 1999, c1943.  1 VHS videocassette (99 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.M86 C24 1999 Videocassette : Hollywood's first all-black film since The Green Pastures tells the vibrant fable of rascally Little Joe, torn between the love of his good wife Petunia and the wiles of good-time bad girl Georgia Brown...and caught in a tug-of-war between emissaries from the Lord and Satan. How can virtue triumph over evil? Well, as Petunia says, "Sometimes when you fight the devil, you gotta jab him with his own pitchfork." Debuting movie director Vincente Minnelli (An American in Paris, Gigi) and stars Ethel Waters, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington are more than a match for the devil in this musical treasure. With a soundtrack of dazzling standards including Taking a Chance on Love and Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe, Cabin in the Sky is a joyous classic.  This musical offers its pleasures, but also may make you squirm at the racial stereotypes that were considered both acceptable and entertaining in 1943. Also have a 1985 VHS version.  Want more info?  Try Internet Movie Database.

Cadillac Records (2008)   / Sony Music Film and Parkwood Pictures present a Sony Music Film production ; produced by Andrew Lack, Sofia Sondervan ; written and directed by Darnell Martin.  Culver City, Calif. : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, [2009]  1 Blu-ray DVD videodisc (ca. 108 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.M86 C33 2009 Blu-ray VideoDVD : Chess Records was located on the south side of Chicago. In 1947, it began recording blues music with Muddy Waters and Little Walter. This eventually gave birth to rock and roll in 1955 with Chuck Berry. Record producer, Leonard Chess has an ear for this different type of music and believes he can cash in by signing up new talent such as songwriter, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, and Etta James. Chess makes all of his artist part of his family and takes care of them. This is not easy since they spend a small fortune on booze, drugs, and the high life. When Chuck Berry goes to jail, Leonard is able to find another talented performer, Etta James, to take his place. In the late sixties, as their music goes out of favor, Leonard Chess gets out of the record business.  Cast : Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Gabrielle Union, Columbus Short, Cedric the Entertainer, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Eamonn Walker, Mos Def, Beyoncé Knowles.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Carmen Jones, see Oscar Hammerstein's Carmen Jones.

Catfish in Black Bean Sauce (2001)  / produced, written, and directed by Chi Muoi Lo.  [S.l.] : First Look Media Home Entertainment, c2001  1 DVD videodisc (119 mins.) : 4 3/4 in  PN1995.9.F35 C38 2001 VideoDVD : Dwayne and his sister are Vietnamese siblings who were adopted by an African-American couple. Now in their mid-20s, they both have chosen different paths, but when they learn that their biological mother is coming to Los Angeles, they eagerly await the reunion. This drama is both funny and moving in an emotionally rewarding journey through the tapestry of one group of immigrants searching for what it means to call themselves a family. Cast : Paul Winfield, Mary Alice, Chi Mudi Lo, Kieu Chinh, Lauren Tom, Sana Lathan, Tyler Christopher, George Wallace.

Chameleon Street (1989) / Northern Arts Entertainment, Inc. ; Films Around the World, Inc.  [United States] : Academy Entertainment ; [New York] : Fox Lorber Home Video, 1992.  1 VHS videocassette (95 min.) : sd., col., ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.B55 C36 1992 Videocassette : Dramatizes the true story of William Douglas "Chameleon" Street, a quick-witted, self-tutored young man from Detroit who barely managed to earn a high school diploma, yet in the 70’s pulled off a series of high-profile hoaxes.

The Charles Burnett Collection  [Harrington Park, N.J.] : Milestone Film & Video ; [New York, N.Y.] : Distributed by New Yorker Video, c2007.  2 DVD videodiscs (332 min.) PN1997.A1 C53 2007 VideoDVD :  1st movie - Killer of Sheep (1977) : An African-American slaughterhouse worker searches for tiny moments of beauty in his predominantly bleak life.  2nd movie - My Brother's Wedding (1983) : A young African-American man navigates his conflicting obligations while trying to figure out what he really wants in life.

Charlotte Forten's Mission: Experiment in Freedom, see Half Slave, Half Free  : Pt. 2 : Charlotte Forten's Mission.

Claudine (1974) / Twentieth Century Fox presents a Third World Cinema production ; produced by Hannah Weinstein ; directed by John Berry.  Beverly Hills, Calif. : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, c2002.  1 DVD videodisc (92 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 C553 2002 VideoDVD : It's easy to get hooked by Charlotte Forten's Mission, a lean, funny, Nixon-era movie about a romance nearly undone by a patronizing welfare system. Diahann Carroll stars as Claudine, single mother of six children in Harlem and a maid working for under-the-table wages. Forever worried that her white caseworker will discover her meager, outside income (thus eliminating meager government benefits), Claudine further complicates her domestic situation by falling in love with Roop (James Earl Jones). An affable Romeo and absent but financially supportive father of several kids, Roop by his presence jeopardizes Claudine's official status as a mom without means. The couple's decision to go forward results in welfare backlash, personal humiliation, family strain, and corrosive behavior. A sharp script layers the personal story within a socially conscious treatment, while Jones and Carroll's special chemistry turns the characters into fully rounded people. John Berry, an interesting if forgotten director, brings a clipped vitality to this urban affair.  Also available as streaming video from YouTube.

Clockers (1995)  / Universal Pictures presents a 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks production ; screenplay by Richard Price and Spike Lee ; produced by Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, John Kilik ; directed by Spike Lee..  MCA Universal Home Video, [1996]  1 VHS videocassette (129 min.)  PS3566.R544 C562 1996 Videocassette ; Two brothers grow up together in the same Brooklyn housing projects, but they are as opposite as good and evil. Victor Dunham has a family, works two jobs and leads a respectable life. His 19-year-old brother, Strike, hangs out with his friends on a bench and sells crack cocaine. Strike agrees to kill a rival dealer as a favor to Rodney, the neighborhood drug kingpin, but when the man is murdered, it is Victor who confesses. Detective Rocco Kleine won't buy Victor's confession, and attempts to break down the stories of both brothers in order to save Victor.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Coffy (1973)  / [presented by] Samuel Z. Arkoff ; produced gy Robert Papazian ; written and directed by Jack Hill. Los Angeles, Calif. : Filmways Home Video ; Los Angeles, Calif. : [Distributed by] Orion Home Video, 1988.  1 VHS videocassette (91 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 C655 1988 Videocassette : Coffy (Pam Grier) is a nurse turned avenger, becoming a one-woman, anti-drug vigilante who roots out the dealers who "turned on" her 11-year-old sister. This violent, sexy drama is a variation on urban vigilante flicks, where family members fight crime more effectively than the cops, and in much more provocative ways.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Color of Courage.  Universal City, CA : Universal Studios, c1999.  1 VHS videocassette (92 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.D555 C65 1999 Videocassette    : In Detroit 1944, after welcoming Minnie McGhee and her family into the neighborhood, Anna Sipes is shocked to learn that the community, even her own husband, is plotting civil action to evict the McGhees because of their skin color. Anna and Minnie become close friends and that friendship is tested as each struggles with tensions rising around them.  The movie tells the story of the 1940's Sipes v. McGhee trial - the case which considered the question of the legality of restrictive deed covenants in Detroit.   (Restrictive covenants created segregated neighborhoods and kept blacks out of all white neighborhoods)

The Color Purple (1985)   / Warner BrothersBurbank, CA : Warner Home Video, c1997.  1 DVD videodisc (154 min.)  PS3573.A425 C62 1997 VideoDVD   : An uneducated woman living in the rural American south who was raped by her father, deprived of the children she bore him and forced to marry a brutal man she calls "Mister" is transformed by the friendship of two remarkable women, acquiring self-worth and the strength to forgive. 1988 NAACP Image Award winner.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Coming to America (1988)  / Paramount Pictures presents an Eddie Murphy production ; a Landis/Folsey film ; story by Eddie Murphy ; screenplay by David Sheffield & Barry W. Blaustein ; produced by George Folsey, Jr. and Robert D. Wachs ; directed by John Landis.  Hollywood, California : Paramount Home Entertainment, 1988.  1 Blu-ray DVD videodisc (116 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.C55 C663 2007 Blu-ray VideoDVD : Comedy about a wealthy, pampered African prince who comes to America in search of a bride. Accompanied by his closest companion, the prince quickly finds a new job, new friends and lots of trouble.  Cast : Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Madge Sinclair, Shari Headley.  1990 NAACP Image Award winner.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Cooley High (1975) / Orion Pictures ; American International ; Samuel Z. Arkoff presents a Steve Krantz production Santa Monica, CA : MGM Home Entertainment, [2000]  1 DVD videodisc (107 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.C55 C6654 2000 VideoDVD : Cooley High has frequently been compared to American Graffiti, and for good reason. Like that classic, Cooley High has a loose, multicharacter structure, autobiographical origins, and the rich texture of its time. Set in Chicago in 1964, the movie follows aspiring writer Preach (Glynn Turman) and local basketball star Cochise (Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs, who went on to star in Welcome Back, Kotter) as they wander their neighborhood, drifting in and out of their classes at Cooley Vocational High School. The two friends pull pranks, crash parties, commit petty crimes, and generally try to enjoy their lives in an impoverished urban environment. Preach falls in love with a smart girl named Brenda (Cynthia Davis), whom he wins over by reciting poetry--leading to one of the silliest and sweetest love scenes you'll ever see. When Preach and Cochise go on a joy ride with a pair of young hoods, they end up arrested. Their history teacher, Mr. Mason (a superb Garrett Morris), gets them off, but the hoods think the boys sold them out and come seeking revenge. Cooley High depicts the rough life of African Americans in the 1960s with honesty and humor, offering no easy solutions or pat lessons. It's a roughly made movie, but Turman and Jacobs are both excellent, and there's an attention to reality that makes it engaging, refreshing, and ultimately moving. The soundtrack is a great compilation of 1960s soul, including the Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops, and Smokey Robinson. An unjustly neglected film that deserves rediscovery.

Cotton Comes to Harlem / Formosa Productions, Inc. ; directed by Ossie Davis.  Culver City, CA : MGM/UA Home Video, c1993. 1 VHS videocassette (97 min.) : sd., col., stereo. ; 1/2 in. PS3515.I713 C62 1993 Videocassette : St. Jacques is Coffin Ed. Johnson, Cambridge is Gravedigger Jones, black cops who suspect preacher Lockhart's back-to-Africa campaign is a swindle. Neatly combines action and comedy.

Courage Under Fire  / Twentieth Century Fox ; produced by John Davis, Joseph M. Singer, David T. Friendly ; directed by Edward Zwick ; screenplay by Patrick Sheane Duncan.  Beverly Hills, CA : Fox Video, c1997.  1 VHS videocassette (115 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.W3 C68 1997 Videocassette : Lt. Colonel Nathaniel Sterling (Denzel Washington) investigate whether Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan), killed during Operation Desert Storm, deserves the Medal of Honor.

Crash (2005) /  Lions Gate Films and Bob Yari Productions & DEJ Productions present a Blackfriar's Bridge and Harris Company production ; an Apolloproscreen production ; a Bull's Eye Entertainment production ; a film by Paul Haggis ; produced by Cathy Schulman ... [et al.] ; story by Paul Haggis ; screenplay by Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco ; directed by Paul Haggis.  Santa Monica, Calif. : Lions Gate Entertainment, 2004.  1 DVD (122 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997 .C7374 2004 VideoDVD  : Movie studios, by and large, avoid controversial subjects like race the way you might avoid a hive of angry bees. So it's remarkable that Crash even got made; that it's a rich, intelligent, and moving exploration of the interlocking lives of a dozen Los Angeles residents--black, white, latino, Asian, and Persian--is downright amazing. A politically nervous district attorney (Brendan Fraser) and his high-strung wife (Sandra Bullock, biting into a welcome change of pace from Miss Congeniality) get car-jacked by an oddly sociological pair of young black men (Larenz Tate and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges); a rich black T.V. director (Terrence Howard) and his wife (Thandie Newton) get pulled over by a white racist cop (Matt Dillon) and his reluctant partner (Ryan Phillipe); a detective (Don Cheadle) and his Latina partner and lover (Jennifer Esposito) investigate a white cop who shot a black cop--these are only three of the interlocking stories that reach up and down class lines. Writer/director Paul Haggis (who wrote the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby) spins every character in unpredictable directions, refusing to let anyone sink into a stereotype. The cast--ranging from the famous names above to lesser-known but just as capable actors like Michael Pena (Buffalo Soldiers) and Loretta Devine (Woman Thou Art Loosed)--meets the strong script head-on, delivering galvanizing performances in short vignettes, brief glimpses that build with gut-wrenching force.  2006 NAACP Image Award winner.

Crimson Tide (1996) / produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer ; directed by Tony Scott ; screenplay by Michael Schiffer.   Burbank, CA : Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2006. 1 DVD videodisc (116 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.A3 C75 2006 VideoDVD : Dynamic Denzel Washington joins Hollywood favorite Gene Hackman  along with Viggo Mortensen  and James Gandolfini (in this intense action thriller that's a smash hit with audiences and critics alike! In the midst of a global crisis, the USS Alabama receives an unconfirmed order to launch its nuclear missiles -- signaling the start of Word War III! The tension quickly rises as the sub's respected commander (Hackman) and his brilliant executive officer (Washington) clash over the validity of their orders ... battling each other for control of the sub! As this epic struggle rages under the sea, Crimson Tide brings motion picture excitement to a new level -- and you to the edge of your seat!

Crooklyn (1994 / Universal Pictures presents a 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks production in association with Child Hoods Productions ; story by Joie Susannah Lee ; screenplay by Joie Susannah Lee, Cingué Lee and Spike Lee ; co-producer, Monty Ross ; produced and directed by Spike Lee.  MCA Universal Home Video, c1994.  1 videocassette (1 hr., 54 min.) PN1995.9.F35 C766 1994 Videocassette  : Director Spike Lee fashions a bold, flavorful picture of family life in a crowded but cozy Brooklyn neighborhood nicknamed "Crooklyn" by the Carmichaels, who experience one very special summer in their hometown under difficult but often wonderful circumstances.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Cry, the Beloved Country (1952)  / a British Lion Film Corporation production ; a United Artists release ; London Films ; screenplay adapted from his novel by Alan Paton ; produced and directed by Zolton Korda.  Malibu, CA : Monterey Home Video, c1992.  1 VHS videocassette (100 min.) PR6031.A757 C73 1992 Videocassette  : This is a story of two men, two fathers, one black, one white, drawn together through one father's search for a lost son.  Featuring Sidney Poitier.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Cry Freedom / Universal City Studios.  Universal City, CA : MCA Home Video, c1999.  1 DVD videodisc (139 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. DT1949.B55 C79 1999 VideoDVD : Story of Black activist Stephen Biko (Denzel Washington) and a liberal white newspaper editor Donald Woods (Kevin Kline) who risks his own life to bring Biko's message to the world.

Selected Feature Films, D

All African American feature films, either featuring African American studies themes or African American actors,  are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.  Movies can be checked out unless reserved for a class.

Darryl F. Zanuck's Pinky (1949) / Twentieth Century Fox ; producer, Darryl F. Zanuck ; director, Elia Kazan, screenplay by Philip Dunne and Dudley Nichols.  Beverly Hills, Ca. : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2005 . 1 DVD videodisc (102 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.N4 P56 2005 VideoDVD : Pinky (Jeanne Crain), a black woman who works as a nurse in Boston, finds she is able to "pass for white." Afraid her true heritage will be discovered, she leaves her white fiancé (William Lundigan) and returns home to Mississippi. There, she helps her ailing grandmother (Ethel Waters) by caring for her employer (Ethel Barrymore), an imperious plantation owner. When she names Pinky heiress to her estate, the community rises in resentment, triggering a sensational court trial....Subject of landmark Supreme Court case in film censorship, this story about a mulatto woman's rights against prejudice, became itself, a battle for civil rights.  Also available in VHS format.

Daughters of the Dust (1991)  : a film by Julie DashKino Video, [1992], c1991.  1 VHS videocassette (113 min.)  PN1995.9 .N4 D383 1992 Videocassette : A large African-American family prepares to move north at the dawn of the 20th century, bringing to life the changing values, conflicts and struggles they face. The family drama reveals the unique culture of the Gullah people, descendants of slaves who lived in relative isolation on the Sea Islands off the Georgia Coast.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Deacons for Defense (2003)   / Showtime presents a Robert Rehme production ; a film by Bill Duke ; producer, Mark Little ; produced by Nick Grillo ; story by Michael D'Antonio ; screenplay by Richard Wesley and Frank Military ; directed by Bill Duke.  [United States] : Showtime Entertainment : Hallmark Entertainment Distribution, LLC, c2003.  1 DVD videodisc (99 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 D42 2003 VideoDVD :  Set in Louisiana in the 1960s, a group calling themselves Deacons for Defense rise up against the Ku Klux Klan. A hard-working man forms the Black militia group which then became a focal point during civil rights movement.  Cast : Forest Whitaker, Jonathan Silverman, Ossie Davis, Paul Benjamin, Gene Mack, Beau Starr, Tyrone Benskin, Melanie Nicholls-King, Chris Britton. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Dead Presidents (1995) / Hollywood Pictures presents in association with Caravan Pictures an Underworld Entertainment production ; a Hughes Brothers film.  [S.l.] : Hollywood Pictures Home Video, c1995.  1 DVD videodisc (119 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.C66 D43 1995 VideoDVD : Get ready for action with this explosively exciting hit! On the streets they call cash dead presidents. And that's just what a Vietnam veteran (Larenz Tate -- Menace II Society) is after when he returns home from the war only to find himself drawn into a life of crime. With the aid of his fellow vets he plans the ultimate heist -- a daring robbery of an armored car filled with unmarked U.S. currency! From the Hughes Brothers, acclaimed directors of the smash hit Menace II Society -- you'll love every pulse-pounding second as these bold thieves risk it all for the score of a lifetime!

Dear White People (2014) Lionsgate.  DVD.  on order :H ow many times have you heard some fool say "We have a black President so racism must be over"? How many stories have we seen in just the last couple of years about white people throwing black-themed parties full of insulting racial stereotypes? No other film came with more pre-festival buzz than Justin Simien's debut feature, Dear White People, particularly amongst the black community expecting a blistering new voice similar to a Spike Lee. There's no doubt Simien has a lot to say about race relations in a supposedly post-racial America, but a lack of focus on the core issues and a ponderous script muddle any message to today's young black generation.  Also see Rebecca Koenig, "'Dear white People': A New Movie About Race on Campus Is, Sadly, Spot-on", The Chronicle of Highed Education, October 16, 2014.  Includes teasers.

The Defiant Ones (1958) / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ; produced and directed by Stanley Kramer ; written by Nathan E. Douglas and Harold Jacob Smith.  Santa Monica, CA : MGM Home Entertainment, c2001.  1 DVD videodisc (96 min.) : sd., b&w. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.P68 D44 2001 : This 1958 variation on Huck Finn's adventures with Jim finds a white convict (Tony Curtis) chained to a black convict (Sidney Poitier) as they both escape their captors. With each man literally stuck with the other, racial conflicts take a back seat to survival. Directed by Stanley Kramer (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner), the film's obvious consciousness-raising is mitigated by a pair of raw performances from the stars, memorable appearances by Lon Chaney Jr. and Cara Williams, and Kramer's strong storytelling abilities. The award-winning script was cowritten by blacklisted writer-actor Nedrick Young.  Best Picture, 1958.

Déjà Vu (2006)  / Touchstone Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films present a Scott Free Productions ; a film by Tony Scott ; produced by Jerry Bruckheimer ; written by Bill Marsilii & Terry Rossio ; driected by Tony Scott.  Burbank, CA : Touchstone Home Entertainment : Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2007.  1 DVD videodisc (126 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.S87 D45 2007 VideoDVD : A ferry filled with crewmen from the USS Nimitz and their families is blown up in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. BATF Doug Carlin is brought in to assist in the recovery of evidence from the massive investigation, and gets attached to an experimental FBI surveillance unit. The unit uses technology to directly look back in time a little over four days into the past. While tracking down the bomber, Carlin gets an idea in his head: would it be possible to use the device to actually travel back in time and not only prevent the bombing but also the murder of a local woman whose truck was used in the bombing?  Features Denzel Washington.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Devil in a Blue Dress  / TriStar Pictures presents a Clinica Estitico and Mundy Lane Entertainment production ; screenplay by Carl Franklin ; produced by Jesse Beaton and Gary Goetzman ; directed by Carl Franklin.  Culver City, Calif. : Columbia TriStar Home Video, c1995.  1 VHS videocassette (101 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PS3563.O88456 D482 1995 Videocassette : Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins is a decorated war hero who returns home to work as a private eye. His job of finding a missing socialite puts him between the white power elite and the vibrant black commumnity of Central Avenue. As soon as Easy and his trigger-happy friend Mouse find Daphne Monet, trouble follows....Denzel Washington stars in this moody and sexy murder based on Walter Mosley's novel and series about the Black detective Easy Rawlins. 

The Devil’s Daughter (1939Streaming video via Matinee Classics : Directed by Arthur H. Leonar.  Sylvia Walton (Ida James) of Harlem inherits a Jamaican banana plantation and returns to manage it. Since her arrival, there's been no sign of her disinherited half-sister Isabelle, who ran the plantation until their father's death. But Sylvia, her two rival suitors, and her comic-relief servant Percy are disturbed by the constant, growing sound of drums.

Diary of a mad black woman (2005) / Lions Gate Films in association with BET Pictures present a Lions Gate Films and the Tyler Perry Company, Inc. production in association with Reuben Cannon Productions. LionsGate.  Santa Monica, Calif. : Lions Gate Home Entertainment, 2005.  1 DVD videodisc (116 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in  PN1995.9.M27 D537 2005 VideoDVD : Charles, an attorney, and Helen, the devoted wife, seem to have everything: money, a beautiful mansion - the American Dream. But just as Helen prepares to celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary, her life takes a surprising turn.  Director Tyler Perry had very little support from the studio for this film. It was up to him to promote it through his extensive contacts from performing plays in African American churches around the country. Expected to gross under $2 Million in the opening weekend, the film exploded onto the scene when it grossed upwards of $22 million making it one of the best February opens of all time. Perry became a franchise and the market for African American moral tales was born.

Die Hard With a Vengeance  / Twentieth Century Fox presents in association with Cinergi ; an Andrew G. Vajna production ; a John McTiernan film.  Beverly Hills, CA : FoxVideo, 1995.  2 laserdiscs (130 min.) : sd., col. ; 12 in.  PN1995.9.A3 D54 1995 Video (12 inch) disc ; New York cop John McClane is the personal target of the mysterious Simon, a terrorist determined to blow up the entire city if he doesn't get what he wants. Accompanied by an unwilling civilian partner, McClane careens wildly from one end of New York to the other as he struggles to keep up with Simon's deadly game. It's a battle of wits between a psychopathic genius and a heroic cop who once again finds himself having a really bad day....In the third version of the Die Hard franchise, John McLane (Bruce Willis) is separated from his wife and is working clear across the country for the NYPD.  He pairs with a Harlem electrician, Zeus Carver (Samuel L. Jackson), to foil the plot of a master bomber, who has threatened to blow up several sites in the city.

Django Unchained  / Weinstein Company and Columbia Pictures present ; produced by Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar ; written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Beverly Hills, CA : Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2013.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 166 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.V5 D53 2013 VideoDVD : From the moment Jamie Foxx throws off a filthy, tattered blanket to reveal a richly muscled back crisscrossed with long scars, it's obvious that Django Unchained will be both true to its exploitation roots but also clear-eyed about the misery that's being exploited. Django (Foxx), a slave set free in the years before the Civil War, joins with a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter (the marvelous Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds), who has promised to help Django rescue his wife (Kerry Washington), who's still enslaved to a gleeful and grandiose plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio, plainly relishing the opportunity to play an out-and-out villain). What follows is a wild and woolly ride, crammed with all the pleasures one expects from a revenge fantasy written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Plot-wise, some things happen a little too easily (for example, Django instantly becomes a master gunslinger), but the moral perspective is not glib. For all its lurid violence and jazzy dialogue, this is a still-rare movie that paints slavery for what it was: a brutal, dehumanizing practice that allowed a privileged few to profit from the suffering of many, a practice guaranteed by the gun and the whip. Think of it as the antidote to Gone with the Wind. Tarantino is more heartfelt in Django Unchained than in any of his previous movies--without sacrificing any of the pell-mell action, tension, and delicious language that made Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill, and Pulp Fiction so very enjoyable.

Do the Right Thing (1989)  / a Universal release ; a Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks production ; a Spike Lee joint ; produced, written and directed by Spike Lee.  Universal City Studios, 2001.  2 DVD videodiscs (ca. 240 min.) PN1997 .D6 2001 VideoDVD : "The hottest day of the year explodes onscreen in this vibrant look at a day in the life of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. A portrait of urban racial tensions sparked controversy while earning popular and critical praise."  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Dorothy Dandridge : an American Beauty  (2003)  North Hollywood, Calif. : Passport Video, c2003.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 60 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 4 3/4 in. PN2287.D256 D676 2003 VideoDVD : Dorothy Dandridge was both goddess and trailblazer. Here is the Dorothy you haven't been introduced to, a close-up look at her triumphant and tragic life.  Cast : Halle Berry, Brock Peters, Fayard Nicholas, Joe Adams, Jasmine Guy, Laurence Fishburne.

Double Deal (1950)  / [presented by] Alfred N. Sack ; produced by Dixon R. Harwin.   North Hollywood, CA : Hollywood Select Video : Timeless Video [distributor], c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 60 min.) PN1995.9.N4 D68 1993 Videocassette : Rivals for a pretty singer get mixed up in gangster trouble. One of the beaus is a crook who robs a jewelry store and frames the other boyfriend. The girl sorts the truth out for herself.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Down in the Delta (1998) / directed by Maya Angelou ; written by Myron Goble ; produced by Rick Rosenberg ... [et al.] ; an Amen Ra Films production ; a Chris/Rose production ; a Miramax Films and Showtime presentation.  [Burbank, Calif.] : Miramax Home Entertainment : Distributed by Buena Vista Home Video, [1999]  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 112 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 D69 1999 VideoDVD : A troubled single mother from a tough Chicago neighborhood is sent to spend a summer at her family's home in rural Mississippi.  Cast : Alfre Woodard, Al Freeman, Jr., Esther Rolle, Mary Alice, Loretta Devine, Wesley Snipes.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Dreamgirls (2006)   / DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures present a Laurence Mark production, a Bill Condon film ; produced by Laurence Mark ; written for the screen and directed by Bill Condon.  Universal City, Calif. : DreamWorks Home Entertainment, [2007]  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 130 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.M86 D75 2007 VideoDVD :  Three young women, Deena Jones, Effie White and Lorrell Robinson desire to become pop stars. They get their wish when they are picked to be backup singers for the legendary James "Thunder" Early. When they are set free for leads, Curtis Taylor and Effie's brother C.C. decide that Deena should be the lead singer, which upsets Effie. The girls discover exactly what it takes to be in the music business and what they must give up to realize their dreams.  Cast : Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Anika Noni Rose, Keith Robinson, Jennifer Hudson.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Driving Miss Daisy (1989)   / Warner Bros. Pictures ; Zanuck Company production ; screenplay by Alfred Uhry ; produced by Richard D. Zanuck, Lili Fini Zanuck ; directed by Bruce Beresford.  [New York : Jewish Media Fund, 1997]  1 VHS videocassette (99 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.C55 D75 1997 Videocassette : It tells the story of genteel but strong-willed Southern matron Daisy Werthan and her patient but equally determined chauffeur Hoke. For two people so different, they have a lot in common. And the bumpy road they travel ultimately leads to the friendship of a lifetime.  Other copies available.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Drumline (2002)   / Fox 2002 Pictures ; producers, Wendy Finerman, Timothy M. Bourne, Jody Gerson ; screenplay by Tina Gordon Chism and Shawn Schepps ; director, Charles Stone III.  Beverly Hills, CA : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2002.  1 Blu-ray DVD videodisc (118 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in  PN1997.2 .D78 2008 Blu-ray VideoDVD : Once you've seen Drumline, halftime shows will become works of art. This formulaic yet surprisingly captivating movie honors the military precision of college football marching bands, those battalions of eager, sternly disciplined brass sections, drummers, and fly girls who turn halftime shows into well-oiled Vegas variety acts on steroids. Devon (played by Will Smith protégé Nick Cannon) is a cocky Brooklyn kid with a snare-drumming scholarship to (fictional) Atlanta A&T University. He can't read music (he lied on his application) and his attitude sucks, but he's the best natural drummer the college has ever had, so he quickly rises through the marching band ranks. The school year brings Devon the obligatory girlfriend (Zoë Saldana, smart and charming); clashes with his old-school band director (Orlando Jones); and well-earned redemption at the championship marching band showdown. No surprises here, but great chemistry all around, and a fantastic, positive role-model showcase for a musical form that has evolved far beyond the main street parades of Smalltown, U.S.A.  Cast : Nick Cannon, Zoe Saldana, Orlando Jones.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine

The Duke is Tops (1938) / Million Dollar Productions.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 75 min.)  PN1995.9.M86 D85 1996 Videocassette : If The Duke Is Tops needs to be remembered today, it's for two reasons. First, this was Lena Horne's first movie. She was 21 and still has a little baby fat. The voice catches you immediately. She's no actress yet, and all that sleek sophistication is in the future. She's already a stunning looker, however, with a great smile. In a satin dress with her shoulders just a little sloped and a toss of her head while she looks at the sky, she reminds me a lot of Jean Harlow, sexy and good-natured. "Look at that personality," a promoter says while the character she's playing is on-stage singing, "she's a cinch for the big-time. Hear that voice? That's what they're buying!" The second reason, as with all the other cheaply-produced all-Negro films aimed for the movie equivalent of the chitlin circuit, are the specialty acts. This circuit was made up of law-enforced segregated movie houses in the south and de facto segregated movie houses everywhere else. The speciality acts preserved on these films are often the only things we have left to witness some great black entertainers. In The Duke Is Tops we have William Covan, a stylish tap dancer; Rubber Neck Holmes, a singular combination of tap and odd gymnastics; Cats and the Fiddle, a swinging singing group; Marie Bryant, a terrific exotic dancer in African costume; the Basin Street Boys, a singing group who are all style; plus the Harlemania Orchestra.  Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Duke is Tops (1938) (63 minutes)  Streaming video via Matinee Classics  : Directed by Leo Popkin.  Cast: Lena Horne, Ralph Cooper and Lawrence Criner.  Lena Horne plays a night club singer who gets a chance at Broadway.

Selected Feature Films, E-F

All African American feature films, either featuring African American studies themes or African American actors,  are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.  Movies can be checked out unless reserved for a class.

Early Works of Cheryl Dunye [United States] : First Run Features, 2008.  1 DVD videodisc (80 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.L48 E35 2008 VideoDVD : Vilified by conservatives in Congress, defended by major newspapers, and celebrated by audiences and festivals around the world as one of the most provocative, humorous and important filmmakers of our time, Cheryl Dunye practically invented a new form of cinema - call it the 'Dunyementary.', featuring the world of urban, young black lesbians as they make their way through the murky waters of love, friendship and dating. Using a mixture of narrative and documentary techniques, the 'Dunyementary' challenges social and cultural norms through a sharply funny and reflexive lens. Never scholarly or didactic, Dunye appreciates the value in entertaining viewers....Her acclaimed first feature The Watermelon Woman (1996) introduced Cheryl to wider audiences, who quickly fell in love with her self depreciating and insightful wit - not to mention the great casts she assembled (including herself). But what came before this modern-day classic? Presented here for the first time on DVD are the films that started it all - the early works which gave birth to an extraordinary and original filmmaking talent. Made on miniscule budgets, they represent the first chapter of the Cheryl Dunye oeuvre.

The Emperor Jones (1933)  ; and, Paul Robeson, tribute to an artist[Chicago, Ill.] : Home Vision, [1993?]  1 VHS videocassette (101 min.)  PS3529.N5 E5 1993 Videocassette : 1. Brutus Jones, a fugitive Pullman porter, who jumps ship and becomes the cruel, despotic emperor of a Caribbean island. -- 2. Tribute to an artist celebrates the warmth, dignity, courage, and talent of one of the greatest American artists of all time. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Emperor Jones (1933) (73 min.) Streaming video from Internet Archive : The Emperor Jones is a 1920 play by American dramatist, Eugene O'Neill which tells the tale of Brutus Jones (Paul Robeson), an African-American man who kills a man, goes to prison, escapes to a Caribbean island, and sets himself up as emperor.  Source : Internet Archive, Open Source Movies.

Enemy of the State (1998) / Touchstone Pictures presents a Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer production in association with Scott Free Productions ; written by David Marconi ; produced by Jerry Bruckheimer ; directed by Tony Scott.  Burbank, Calif. : Touchstone Home Video ; Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, [1999?]  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 132 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. Schaeffer Law Library Reserve Video E : A lawyer becomes a target of a corrupt politician and his NSA goons when he accidently receives key evidence to a serious politically motivated crime.  Cast : Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Regina King, Loren Dean, Jake Busey, Barry Pepper, Gabriel Byrne

Enemy of the State (1998) / Touchstone Pictures ; Jerry Bruckheimer Films ; a Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer production in association with Scott Free Productions ; a film by Tony Scott ; produced by Jerry Bruckheimer ; written by David Marconi ; directed by Tony Scott.  Burbank, Calif. : Touchstone Home Video : Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2006.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 132 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.A3 E54 2006 Blu-ray VideoDVD : Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith) is a lawyer with a wife and family whose happily normal life is turned upside down after a chance meeting with a college buddy (Jason Lee) at a lingerie shop. Unbeknownst to the lawyer, he's just been burdened with a videotape of a congressman's assassination. Hot on the tail of this tape is a ruthless group of National Security Agents commanded by a belligerently ambitious fed named Reynolds (Jon Voight). Using surveillance from satellites, bugs, and other sophisticated snooping devices, the NSA infiltrates every facet of Dean's existence, tracing each physical and digital footprint he leaves. Driven by acute paranoia, Dean enlists the help of a clandestine former NSA operative named Brill (Gene Hackman), and Enemy of the State kicks into high-intensity hyperdrive.

Eve's Bayou (1997)  / Trimark Pictures presents a Chubbco/Addis-Wechsler production ; a Kasi Lemmons film ; produced by Caldecot Chubb and Samuel L. Jackson ; written and directed by Kasi Lemmons and Samuel L. Jackson.  [S.l.] : Trimark Home Video, c1997.  1 DVD videodisc (108 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4.  PN1995.9.M27 E87 1997 VideoDVD c.2 : Roz Batiste is a beautiful and dedicated mother of three, who is forced to admit that her family is falling apart due to her philandering husband Louis. Her younger daughter, Eve, witnesses one of her father's infidelities. Struggling to make sense of what she has seen, Eve turns to her older sister Cisely, who dismisses her in fear of the truth, and then to her Aunt Mozelle, a known psychic and rumored black widow. Unable to find the understanding she is looking for Eve decides to take matters into her own hands. For the Batiste family, the ties that bind may not be strong enough to keep them together, and what they learn will change their lives forever.  Cast : Samuel L. Jackson, Lynn Whitfield, Debbi Morgan, Vondie Curtis Hall, Branford Marsalis, Lisa Nicole Carson, Jurnee Smollett, Diahann Carroll.  Want more info?  Try Movie Reiew Query Engine.

The Exile (1931) / Frank Schiffman presents Oscar Micheaux's production ; written and directed by Oscar Micheaux.  [S.l.] : Distributed by A Cinema Apart, [200-?]  1 DVD videodisc (92 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.N4 E93 2000z VideoDVD : A milestone in American film history, The Exile (1931) was the first all-black-cast independently produced “talkie” (or sound film). Also remarkable was the film’s depiction of hero Jean Baptiste, an ambitious “decent colored man.” Critical of his fiancée Edith’s plan to turn a mansion she has inherited into a house of ill repute, Baptiste leaves her and travels from Chicago to South Dakota. There, he establishes his own homestead and falls in love with Agnes, a hard-working, enlightened woman; and after overcoming numerous obstacles, the pair decides to marry and start a new life on the plains, away from the depravity and temptations of the big city. Unlike the fashionable but disresputable Edith, the virtuous Agnes is as simple as the prairie from which she hails. And the aspiring Baptiste, who succeeds because of his hard work and talents, represents the new (if somewhat idealized) generation of blacks whose ambitions and achievements Oscar Micheaux typically celebrated in his films.

The Express (2008)  : the Ernie Davis Story / Davis Entertainment ; IDEA Filmproduktions ; Relativity Media ; produced by John Davis ; written by Charles Leavitt ; directed by Gary Fleder.  Universal City, Calif. : Universal Studios Home Entertainment, [2009]  1 Blu-ray DVD videodisc (130 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.S67 E9 2009 Blu-ray VideoDVD :  Witness the inspirational true story of a real American hero, Ernie Davis. Rising from humblest of beginnings, Ernie Davis overcame impossible odds to become the first African-American to win college football's greatest honor-the Heisman Trophy.  Cast : Dennis Quaid, Rob Brown, Aunjanue Ellis, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Clancy Brown, Omar Benson Miller, Nelsan Ellis, Saul Rubinek, Charles S. Dutton.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Fighting Temptations (2003)  / Paramount Pictures presents an MTV Films production in association with Handprint Films, a Jonathan Lynn film ; produced by David Gale, Loretha Jones, Jeff Pollack ; screenplay by Elizabeth Hunter and Saladin K. Patterson ; directed by Jonathan Lynn.  Hollywood, Calif. : Paramount, [2004], c2003.  1 DVD videodisc (122 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.C55 F54 2004 VideoDVD : Darren (Cuba Gooding) is a New York ad executive who travels to a small town in the deep south after receiving word that his aunt has left him a sizable inheritance. Darren is informed that he will only receive the money if he successfully leads a local gospel choir to victory at an upcoming competition. Darren takes on the task of finding the best singers in town and forming the group. There, he meets Lilly (Beyonce) , a single mother who not only possesses an incredible voice but also the ability to warm Darren's cold heart.  2004 NAACP Image Award winner.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Finding Forrester (2000) / Columbia Pictures presents a Laurence Mark production in association with Fountainbridge Films ; written by Mike Rich ; produced by Laurence Mark, Sean Connery and Rhonda Tollefson ; directed by Gus Van Sant. Culver City, Calif. : Columbia TriStar Home Video, [2001], p2000. 1 DVD videodisc (136 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.B29 F56 2001 VideoDVD : Jamal Wallace (Ron Brown) is an African-American and inner-city kid from the Bronx who has an aptness at basketball and a genius at writing. While always a C student, Jamal comes to the attention of a prestigious New Yorkprep school when he scores highly on his standardized tests. While Jamal is given a heavy load at his new school, both he and the school know that the real reason they took him on is for his prowess on the court. Befriended by fellow student Claire (Anna Paquin) and helped along by Pulitzer-prize winning author and recluse William Forrester (Sean Connery), Jamal pursues his dreams both on and off the court while overcoming obstacles placed by his bitter literature teacher (F. Murray Abraham). As Jamal is shaped by Forrester, he finds that he is changing the old writer as well, forcing him to confront his past...and his future.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Flight / Paramount Pictures presents ; directed by Robert Zemeckis ; written by John Gatins ; produced by Walter F. Parkes ... [et al.] ; an ImageMovers production ; a Parkes + MacDonald Image Nation production. Hollywood, Calif. : Paramount Pictures, c2013. 1 DVD videodisc (138 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.S87 F55 2013 VideoDVD : Few directors can meld high-tech whiz-bang with solid narrative values like Robert Zemeckis, a filmmaker whose best work (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Back to the Future trilogy, Cast Away) stands tall among the blockbusters. Although there have been times when Zemeckis's insistence on pushing the special effects envelope can end up overshadowing the story being told (as in his animated version of A Christmas Carol), his innate gifts persist: when he's in the groove, he can show you something you've never seen before, as well as a reason to care about it. Flight, the director's first wholly live-action film in over a decade, serves as a reminder of just how good he can be, featuring both an exquisitely terrifying crash sequence and a fearless central performance from Denzel Washington. John Gatins's script serves as a bizarro inversion of the Sully Sullenberger tale: when a routine flight over Atlanta goes terrifyingly wrong, the aircraft's pilot (Washington) saves his passengers with a near-miraculous display of skill. As the investigation into the disaster begins, however, it becomes apparent that its hero's impromptu bravery hides a multitude of bad habits. Washington does a brilliant job as a man who is all too aware of his feet of clay, subverting his innate nobility to shattering effect. (As in the earlier Training Day, when he goes to the dark side, the shock ripples the screen.) The strength of his central performance is only amplified by some outstanding supporting work from Kelly Reilly (as a recovering heroin addict), Don Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood, and a scene-stealing John Goodman, who gets a few lines crass enough to remind you that yes, Zemeckis is the same person who once made the low-taste classic Used Cars. Impressive as the cast is, though, it's unlikely that things would work nearly as well without the director's grasp of the material, which shifts between horror, black comedy, and uplifting pathos without missing a beat. In his hands, this potential sap story makes for a smart, worldly addiction saga that blessedly refuses to stay within the usual melodramatic lines. Just don't ever, ever expect to see it as the in-flight entertainment.

Flyboys (2006)  / [Electric Entertainment presents in association with Skydance Productions and Ingenious Film Partners a Dean Devlin production ; a Tony Bill film ; directed by Tony Bill].  Beverly Hills, CA : Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, c2006.     Blu-ray videodisc (138 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. D522.23 .F59369 2006 Blu-ray VideoDVD : A dramatization of the LaFayette Escadrille in 1916-1917, a pioneering French air-combat unit that welcomed American enlistees prior to the United States' entry into the war.  One of the characters in the film was a black pilot, Eugene Bullard, who actually served with a different unit -- the American Flying Corps and is recorded as the only Black pilot in WWI.  For more about Eugene Bullard, see Wikipedia or the National Museum of the American Air Force web site.

For Colored Girls (2011) / a 34th Street Films/Lionsgate production ; produced by Roger M. Bobb and Paul Hall ; written for the screen, produced and directed by Tyler Perry.  Santa Monica, Calif. : Lions Gate Entertainment, 2011.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 134 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 F67 2011 VideoDVD : Tyler Perry breaks through to a new level of achievement as a writer and director in his remake of For Colored Girls (based on the groundbreaking 1970s play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf, by Ntozake Shange). The cast is superb, especially Kimberly Elise and Phylicia Rashad. And the rest of the cast is just as compelling, including a low-key Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine, singer Macy Gray, Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington, and Anika Noni Rose. For Colored Girls follows each actress/character as she faces prejudice, economic challenges, male abandonment, role upheaval--and all the emotions that go along with them. The original play was performed as poetry, and while the editing of For Colored Girls is a little uneven, Perry lets Shange's poetry truly shine through. Any person of color, any woman, and anyone who cares about them, will be drawn in to the deepest dramas a woman of color can experience--in the '70s or today. Viewers will get goose bumps when Newton's character, Tangie, says, "Being alive and being a woman is all I got, but being colored is a metaphysical dilemma I haven't conquered yet." And Elise as Crystal is utterly heartbreaking, with a performance reminiscent of her unforgettable turn in Beloved. The soundtrack of For Colored Girls is as unforgettable as the film, with performances by Gray, Sharon Jones, and others, including Estelle, in a showstopping version of "All Day Long (Blue Skies)." The blues may be wrenching--but in For Colored Girls, they make up the poetry of life.

Foxy Brown (1974)   / [presented by] Samuel Z. Arkoff ; written and directed by Jack Hill ; produced by Buzz FeitshansLos Angeles, Calif. : Filmways Home Video ; Los Angeles, Calif. : [Distributed by] Orion Home Video, 1988.  1 VHS videocassette (92 min.)  PN1995.9.A3 F699 1988 Videocassette : Foxy Brown goes undercover to breakup a crime ring headed by Miss Katherine, who keeps a male harem of violent strong men, along with a stable of female prostitutes. Foxy is sexy, and angry, as she avenges the death of her boyfriend, betrayal by her brother, and her own rape and beating, in this urban vigilante drama about drugs, prostitition, political corruption, and family meltdown.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Friday (1995) / New Line Home Entertainment ; New Line Productions presents an Ice Cube/Pat Charbonnet production in association with Priority Films ; produced by Patricia Charbonnet ; co-produced by W.E. Baker ; directed by F. Gary Gray ; written by Ice Cube & DJ Pooh.  Burbank, Calif. : New Line Home Video, c1999.  1 DVD videodisc (91 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 F75 1999 VideoDVD  : The rarest specimen of African American cinema: a 'hood movie refreshingly free of the semiseriousness and moralism of shoot 'em up soaps such as Boyz N the Hood, yet still true to the inner-city experience. Scripted by rapper Ice Cube, Friday is a no-frills tale of a typical day in the life of a pair of African American youth in South Central. Cube plays Craig, a frustrated teen who endures the ultimate humiliation: getting fired on his day off. Then unknown Chris Tucker plays Smokey, a marijuana-worshipping homeboy whose love for the green stuff lands him in predicament after predicament. Sitting on the stoop of Craig's rundown home, the two hilariously confront a kaleidoscopic array of gangbangers, weed dealers, crack heads, prostitutes, scheming girlfriends, and neighborhood bullies--all of whom, it should be noted, come off as sympathetic even as they are being caricatured, a true achievement in the crass, "booty call" environment of '90s African American comedy.  Includes two music videos "Keep Their Heads Ringin'" by Dr. Dre and  "Friday" by Ice Cube.

Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) / Universal Pictures and Act III Communications present in association with Electric Shadow Productions an Avnet/Kerner production ; directed by Jon Avnet.  Universal City, CA : MCA Universal Home Video ; [Boston, Mass.] : Distributed by DVS Home Video, c1992.  1 VHS videocassette (130 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.W6 F75 1992 Videocassette : A chance encounter in a nursing home between a dowdy housewife and a spry octagenarian leads to an unexpected friendship. The story told of a fiercely independent woman half a century ago in Alabama inspires the housewife to change her life, often with hilarious results.  Includes cameos by Cicely Tison as Tipsey and Stan Shaw as Big George, and a Ku Klux Klan scene.

Selected Feature Films, G-H

All African American feature films, either featuring African American studies themes or African American actors,  are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.  Movies can be checked out unless reserved for a class.

The Gang's All Here (1941) [videorecording] / Monogram Pictures. 1 VHS videocassette (63 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.N4 G364 1980z Videocassette : While this comedy does not feature the complex screenplay of "Up In the Air," the best of the Frankie Darro and Mantan Moreland team-ups, it is certainly an above-average comedy for its time -- that being a time of segregation laws and the dawning of the nascent civil rights movement. And as if a Black/White buddy movie were not enough of a ground-breaker for 1941, this film also features the wonderful Chinese-American actor Keye Luke as an insurance investigator. Nowadays dual-racial and cross-cultural buddy movies are so common as to hardly merit special notice, but long before such famous films as "48 Hours" with Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy, savvy audiences were amazed at the comedic interplay between Frankie Darro and Mantan Moreland. I sincerely believe that in their own way, fun little movies like this laid the groundwork for racial tolerance and an end to segregation laws -- but that is not the only reason to watch them -- the truth is, Mantan Moreland is one of the great comedians of the 20th century, and every film he made is worth a look. Cast Frankie Darro, Marcia Mae Jones.

Gang War  (1940) / Million Dollar Productions, Inc. ; produced by Clifford Sanforth ; written by Walter Cooper and Lewis Sherman ; directed by Leo C. Popkin.  Burbank, CA : Hollywood's Attic, 1996.  1 VHS videocassette (65 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.N4 G36 1996 Videocassette : Classic battle between 2 gangs for control of the juke box machines in Harlem.  Cast : Ralph Cooper, Gladys Snyder, Reggie Fenderson, Lawrence Criner, Monte Hawley, Jesse Brooks, Johnny Thomas, Maceo Sheffield, Charles Hawkins, Robert Johnson, Henry Roberts, Harold Garrison.  Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series.

Gang War (1940)  (63 minutes) Streaming video via Classic Matinees : Directed by Leo C. Popkin. Cast:  Ralph Cooper, Gladys Snyder. An ambitious gangster fights his way towards the top of the Harlem underworld by taking over what appears to have been a lucrative business in jukeboxes.  It’s a pretty good gangster movie and a chance to see life in Harlem prior to WWII, and quite probably, one of the few chances to see these entertainers on film.

Get on the Bus / Columbia Pictures presents a 15 Black Men production in association with 40 Acres & a Mule Filmworks ; a Spike Lee joint ; produced by Reuben Cannon, Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush ; written by Reggie Rock Bythewood ; directed by Spike Lee.   Culver City, Calif. : Columbia TriStar Home Video, c2000.  1 DVD videodisc (121 min.) : sd. col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 guide ([4] p. : ill. ; 19 cm.).  PN1995.9.N4 G48 2000 VideoDVD  (Also available as part of the ROVI Movie Collection AF9 D0002288 VideoDVD ) : Prolific director Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X) offers the fictionalized account of the pilgrimages black men all across the country made to the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., and the process showcases a fine ensemble cast of eclectic actors. Shot in a fast-paced low-budget style, the film chronicles a bus trip beginning in Los Angeles and the passengers, all from vastly divergent ages, backgrounds, and beliefs, getting to know one another and discussing their respective reasons for making the trip. The group, including a gay couple, a father and his son, a cop, and an actor, each confront the hostilities and prejudices they have faced as well as the ones they hold within themselves. And along the road they encounter incidents that bring into sharp focus the need they feel to acknowledge their heritage and shared struggle. Frequently entertaining in its rapid pace and cutting dialogue, this small but ambitious effort is sure to provoke debate even as it entertains. 

Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)   / Castle Rock Entertainment ; produced and directed by Rob Reiner ; written by Lewis Colick ; producers, Frederick Zollo, Nicholas Pallologos, and Andrew Scheinman.  [United States] : Columbia Pictures, c1996.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 131 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  MSU College of Law Library Reserve Video G : The film features the final trial of the assassin of the '60s civil rights leader Medgar Evers.  Cast : Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, James Woods.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Gifted Hands : The Ben Carson Story (2009)/ Sony Pictures Television Inc. ; written by John Pielmeier ; directed by Thomas Carter.  [United States] : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, [2009]  1 DVD videodisc (88 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  RD592.9.C37 A3 2009 VideoDVD  : Follows the life of Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, who overcame problems in school and obstacles in life to become a world-renowned neurosurgeon. His lifelong journey led him to become director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, a bestselling author, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Includes behind-the-scenes, and featurettes.  Cast : Cuba Gooding, Jr., Kimberly Elise, Ron Coden.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Girl 6 (1996) / Fox Searchlight Pictures presents ; written by Suzan-Lori Parks ; produced and directed by Spike Lee.  20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, c1996.  1 videocassette (108 min.) PN1995.9.C55 G57 1996 Videocassette : Perhaps only Spike Lee could make a dignified yet extremely funny comedy-drama about phone sex. Theresa Randle (Bad Boys) is the title character, a hard-working actress who becomes addicted to this peculiar form of safe sex (the movie is verbal, not physical, in that department) at a high-class New York agency. Throughout the film, Girl 6 (she's unnamed beyond this) sports a dazzling array of new looks, hairstyles, and clothes. Randle radiates every step of the way. Lee even delivers on fantasy elements when Girl 6 finds herself in a send-up of blaxploitation films and a keen lampoon of The Jeffersons (the three-minute sequence is better than any planned TV-to-movie film that may come along). Revelations about Girl 6's life are brought out through her ex-husband (Isaiah Washington), who, in his very flawed but honest way, plans to reunite with her. Better yet are conversations with the next-door neighbor (Spike Lee, doing some of his best work). Solitary, experimental, with plenty of delicious cameos (including Madonna), Girl 6 is playwright Suzan-Lori Parks's first screenplay. Similar in tone to Lee's debut, She's Gotta Have It, Girl 6 also boasts an energetic mix of old and new songs by Prince and, as always with Lee, colorful camerawork. An alleyway kiss near the end is a great romantic image.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Girl from Chicago (1932)  Chicago : Facets Video, c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (69 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 .G573 1993 Videocassette :  A young secret service agent falls in love with a schoolteacher in a small Mississippi town. Later in New York, he has to save her friend from the numbers racket and is accused of murder. Micheaux produced an earlier, silent version of this crime melodrama in 1926 under the title The spider's web. The film is controversial because Micheaux was accused of selecting his stars on the basis of their "high yellow" skin color.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Girl in Room 20  (1946)  / produced by United Films.  North Hollywood, CA : Hollywood Select Video : Timeless Video [distributor], c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 63 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 G57 1993 Videocassette : A girl goes to New York to make her way as a singer. Befriended by Joe, a kind hearted taxi driver, she finally gets a job singing only to be pursued by a slick club manager who just happens to also be married. Joe calls her boyfriend back home and he comes running to save the girl.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Glory (1989)  / Tri-Star PicturesColumbia TriStar Home Video, c1990.  1 VHS videocassette (122 min.)  E513.5 54th .G55 1990 Videocassette : Two idealistic young Bostonians lead the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, America's first Black regiment in the Civil War.  Features Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman.  1992 NAACP Image Award winner.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Glory Road (2006)   / Walt Disney Pictures presents in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Films ; produced by Jerry Bruckheimer ; written by Christopher Cleveland & Bettina Gilois ; directed by James Gartner.  Burbank, CA : Walt Disney Home Entertainment : Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, [2006]   1 Blu-ray DVD videodisc (ca. 118 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.S67 G55 2006 Blu-ray VideoDVD : Don Haskins, a future Hall of Fame coach of tiny Texas Western University, bucks convention by simply starting the best players he can find: history's first all-African American lineup.  Cast : Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, Austin Nichols, Jon Voight.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Go Down, Death (1944)   / [presented by] Alfred N. SackNorth Hollywood, CA : Hollywood Select Video : Timeless Video [distributor], c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 50 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 G6 1993 Videocassette :  Religious race film from Spencer Williams of "Amos N' Andy" fame. A bar owner attempts to discredit the new preacher with whom he is feuding by framing him with a photograph showing him drinking with women with bad reputations. The bar owner's adoptive mother, a member of the minister's church, supports the preacher and gets the photographic prints. When the bar owner struggles with his mother for the prints, he accidentally kills her. After the preacher's funeral sermon, the bar owner's conscience drives him to his death. Director: Spencer Williams Production Company: Harlemwood Studios Audio/Visual: sound, black and white Cast. Myra D. Hemmings Samuel H. James Eddye L. Houston Spencer Williams ... Big Jim Bottoms Amos Droughan Walter McMillion Irene Campbell Charlie Washington Helen Butler.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

God's Step Children  (1938) / a Micheaux production ; distributed by Micheaux Pictures Corporation ; Sack Attractions.  1 VHS videocassette (70 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9 .N4 G63 1996 Videocassette : Oscar Micheaux's film deals with a light-skinned African-American orphan who refuses to acknowledge her race.  A girl named Naomi of mixed white and black blood is left on the doorstep of a goodhearted black woman and her son. Naomi grows up to be a holy terror running wild, slandering her teacher, picking fights, filled with hatred toward the black race she lives among, and is sent to live with the nuns. She comes back as an adult and inflicts further damage (she also falls in love with her stepbrother). The ending of this film, which I will not describe here, is one of the most psychologically troubling you will ever see for such a low-budget film. A deep message about self-hatred among blacks and one of Micheaux's best surviving films.  Cast: Alice B. Russell, Trixie Smith, Jacqueline Lewis, Charles Thompson, Ethel Moses, Carman Newsome, Gloria Press, Alec Lovejoy, Columbus Jackson, Laura Bowman, Sam Patterson, Charles Moore, Consuelo Harris.  Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series. 

Gone With the Wind  : Margaret Mitchell's Story of the Old South (1939) / [presented by] Selznick International in association with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ; produced by David O. Selznick ; screenplay by Sidney Howard ; directed by Victor Fleming.  Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, [1999].  1 DVD videodisc (233 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PS3525.I972 G6 1999 VideoDVD : Focuses on the life and loves of the beautiful and selfish Scarlett O'Hara. The story begins on the O'Haras' Georgia plantation of Tara in antebellum days and moves through the Civil War and Reconstruction.  Cast : Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Olivia De Havilland, Thomas Mitchell, Hattie McDaniel, Butterfly McQueen.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Gospel (2005) / Screen Gems and Rainforest Films present a Willpower production ; produced by William Packer ; writer, Rob Hardy ; directed by Rob Hardy. [Culver City, CA] : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, [2006]  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 111 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997 .G67 2006 VideoDVD : As a teenager, David was studying to follow in his fathers footsteps, by becoming a minister. However, after his mother suddenly dies and his father arrives late, David accuses his father of caring more about others than his mother. David decides to run away and eventually becomes a hot young R & B performer. However, when his father becomes ill he returns home to find his father's church in disarray. David finds that his former best friend, now a minister and in charge of the congregation, seems to care more about his own image than the welfare of the church or its members. Now David must find a way to save the church as well as his own soul. Cast : Boris Kodjoe, Idris Elba, Clifton Powell, Aloma Wright, Donnie McClurkin, Omar Gooding, Tamyra Gray, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Nona Gaye. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.    

The Great Debaters (2007)  / TWC presents a Harpo Films production ; produced by Todd Black ... [et al.] ; story by Robert Eisele & Jeffrey Porro ; screenplay by Robert Eisele ; directed by Denzel Washington.  [New York, N.Y.] : Weinstein Company ; Santa Monica, CA : Distributed by Genius Products, [2008]  2 DVD videodiscs (124 min.) PN1995.9.M45 G7438 2008 VideoDVD : Melvin B. Tolson is a professor at Wiley College in Texas. Wiley is a small African-American college. In 1935, Tolson inspired students to form the school's first debate team. Tolson turns a group of underdog students into a historically elite debate team which goes on to challenge Harvard in the national championship. Inspired by a true story.  2008 NAACP Image Award winner.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Great White Hope (1970)   / Twentieth Century Fox.  Beverly Hills, Calif. : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2004.  1 DVD videodisc (102 min.)  PS3537.A156 G7 2004 VideoDVD : "Based on the life of boxer Jack Johnson, this fictional account of his rise to fame chronicles the battles that the flamboyant champion fought in and out of the ring".  Based on the 1970 film.  Cast : James Earl Jones, Jane Alexander. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Green Mile (1999)    Warner Bros. Pictures ; [presented by] Castle Rock Entertainment ; a Darkwoods presentation ; written for the screen and directed by Frank Darabont ; produced by David Valdes, Frank Darabont.  Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, [2000]  2 VHS videocassettes (188 min.)  MSU College of Law Library VIDEO G : Death Row guards at a penitentiary in the 1930's have a moral dilemma with their job when they discover one of their prisoners, a convicted murderer, has a special gift.  Features Michael Clarke Duncan in the role of  the inmate who has special healing powers.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Green Pastures (1935)  / Warner Bros. Pictures ; Warner Bros. Productions Corporation ; directors, Marc Connelly, William Keighley.  [United States] : Warner Home Video, [2006] 1 DVD videodisc (ca. 93 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.B53 G7446 2006 VideoDVD :   The Green Pastures began life as a group of "revisionist" Biblical stories titled Ol' Man Adam and His Chillun, written in exaggerated Negro dialect by white humorist Roark Bradford. These Old Testament stories were purportedly told from the point of view of an elderly black Sunday School teacher, who translated the Biblical prose into words that his congregation ("untutored black Christians" was Bradford's description) could readily understand. Thus, "De Lawd" behaves very much like a Southern black Baptist preacher; Heaven is a wondrous bayou-like land of big cigars and eternal fish fries; "Cap'n" Noah is a languid ferryboat skipper who argues with De Lawd over the advisability of bringing along a couple of kegs of liquor on the Ark; and the court of the Pharoah is redefined as a "Mystic Knights of the Sea" type lodge hall, with Moses introduced as a "conjure man." It is, of course, a white man's perspective on black life, but both the original "Ol' Man Adam," and the subsequent Pulitzer Prize-winning stage version written by Marc Connelly and retitled Green Pastures, have a lot more clarity, profundity and spiritual reverence than most "serious" Biblical adaptations. In this 1936 film version of the Connelly play, Rex Ingram is nothing less than brilliant as De Lawd, speaking the most ludicrous of lines with dignity and quiet authority. Others in the all-black cast include Eddie "Rochester" Anderson as Noah, Frank Wilson as Moses, George Reed as Rev. Deshee, and Oscar Polk as Gabriel, who has the film's single most stirring line: "Gangway! Gangway for de Lawd God Jehovah!" Unlike many other so-called racist films of decades past, The Green Pastures nearly always charms and captivates its modern-day audiences; even the most adamant of "P.C" advocates will probably thoroughly enjoy the experience. Playwright Marc Connelly is credited as director of Green Pastures, as he was for the original stage version, but co-director William Keighley and director of photography Hal Mohr deserve most of the credit for the film's strong cinematic sense.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.  Also available as streaming video from YouTube.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)   / Columbia Pictures Corporation presents a Stanley Kramer production ; written by William Rose ; produced and directed by Stanley Kramer.  Culver City, CA : Columbia TriStar Home Video, 1998.  1 DVD videodisc (108 min.) PN1997.G84 K723 1998 VideoDVD : When the daughter of well-to-do liberal parents plans to marry a black doctor, both families must sit down face to face and examine each other's level of intolerance.  Featuring Sidney Poitier.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner  / Columbia Pictures Corporation presents a Stanley Kramer production ; written by William Rose ; produced and directed by Stanley Kramer.  Burbank, CA : RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video, [1985?], c1967.  1 videocassette (VHS) (108 min.)  PN1997.G84 K723 1985 Videocassette : Joanna, the daughter of a crusading publisher, Matthew Drayton, and his patrician wife, Christina, returns home with her new fiance, John, a distinguished black doctor. Christina's mother accepts her daughter's decision to marry John, but Matthew is shocked by this interracial union, and the doctor's parents are equally dismayed. Features Sidney Poitier.

Half Slave, Half Free  : Pt. 2 : Charlotte Forten's Mission (1985)   [S.l.] : Xenon Home Video, c1991.  1 VHS videocassette (120 min.) : sd., col., 1/2 in.  LA2317.F67 H35 1992 Videocassette  : Frail, sickly and from a free Black family in Philadelphia no one could imagine that Charlotte Forten would risk her life to teach on the Sea Islands of South Carolina prior to Emancipation. Charlotte Forten was no ordinary woman. She defied her family and challenged the white missionairies to send her to help her people as they undergo the process of becoming free.  Melba Moore stars as this brilliant heroine who is determined to make a difference in spite of all the set backs she must endure. Charlotte shares with us her brief time in the islands where she learns how to overcome distrust, how to appreciate the religious faith of the newly freed slaves but most of all how to love with her heart. Charlotte has much more in common with the white missionairies than the former slaves but in time she is able to break through those barriers that impede her mission. This is a good film depicting the work of abolitionists trying to educate the newly freed slaves. It also shows the unsavory side of northern capitalists who are more interested in the freedmen's labor than they are about distributing land among the disinfranchised. A number of issues are raised in the film as Charlotte tries to make a difference in the lives of the people that she has come to support and love.  Cast : Melba Moore, Ned Beatty, Moses Gunn and Glynn Turman. 

Hallelujah (1929)  / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ; story and direction by King Vidor ; scenario by Wanda Tuchock ; treatment by Richard Schayer ; dialogue by Ransom Rideout.  Culver City, CA : MGM/UA Home Video ; [S.l.] : Turner Entertainment, c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (90 min.) PN1995.9.M86 H3554 1993 : Made in 1929, Hallelujah is an artifact of no small historical significance: the first major studio movie with an all-black cast and a white director (the esteemed King Vidor), it was also one of the earliest "talkies" after the silent film era. But it also has considerable artistic merit; simply put, Hallelujah is damned entertaining. Sure, the story isn't exactly subtle, a morality tale chronicling the tribulations of Zeke (Daniel L. Haynes), a poor cotton farmer who, succumbing to the carnal charms of the sexy Chick (Nina Mae McKinney, who was sometimes known as "the black Garbo"), finds himself caught up in a soul-scarring cycle of sin and salvation. There's also some painful dialogue of the "Where is you gwine?" and "Honey, I likes anything you's got!" variety. But the major themes presented here--temptation and transgression, redemption and repentance--are pure and universal, the dancing and singing (including two songs by Irving Berlin) are marvelous, and there are several scenes of extraordinary intensity. Those include Zeke's family's weeping, wailing response to the tragic death of his younger brother, followed by the repentant Zeke's turning to God, a sequence in which he's transformed into a latter day Martin Luther King, Jr., preaching with rhythms and cadences of hypnotic power. A final note: Victoria Spivey, who portrays Missy Rose, the down home girl devoted to Zeke, was also one of the finest blues singers of the time. When she underwent a career revival in the early 1960s, she formed a record label whose first recording featured accompaniment by none other than Bob Dylan. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine

Hancock (2008) (Blu-ray)  / Columbia Pictures presents Relativity Media in association with Blue Light, Weed Road Pictures, Overbrook Entertainment, Forward Pass, GH Three ; produced by Akiva Goldsman, James Lassiter, Michael Mann, Will Smith ; written by Vy Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan ; directed by Peter Berg.  Culver City, Calif. : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, c2008.  1 Blu-ray DVD videodisc (102 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in +Bonus digital disc.  PN1995.9.S76 H36 2008 Blu-ray VideoDVD  discs 1-2 : John Hancock is an unhappy and reluctant superhero who is depressed and has drinks heavily. He has saved many lives in Los Angeles, but in doing so, he has no regards for the damages he causes. The public has had enough of Hancock. Then one day, Hancock saves the life of Ray Embrey from being hit by a train. Ray is a public relations executive who now can go home to his wife and child, thanks to Hancock. Ray owes Hancock his life, and he makes it his mission to change his superhero's image. Ray's wife doesn't want Hancock around and makes certain that Hancock knows it.  Cast : Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Jae Head, Eddie Marsan.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Harlem Rides the Range (1939)  [videorecordin] / [presented by] Hollywood Productions ; story by Spencer Williams, Jr. ; screen play by Spencer Williams, Jr., F.E. Miller ; directed by Richard C. Kahn.  Chicago, Ill. : Facets Video, [1994]  1 VHS videocassette (58 min.) PN1995.9.N4 H37 1994 Videocassette : A sagebrush singer's two-gun law is all that stands between the claim-jumpimg villains and the heroine and her father's uranium mine.  Videocassette release of the 1939 motion picture.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Harlem Rides The Range (1939) Steaming video from YouTube.  55 minutes.

Have a Little Faith / produced by Andrew Gottlieb ; written by Mitch Albom ; directed by Jon Avnet.  [United States] : Hallmark Hall Of Fame Productions, c2011.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 95 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.F83 H34 2011 VideoDVD : Mitch Albom has a pretty great life. He lives in Detroit and is happily married, he's an award-winning sportswriter, a must-read newspaper columnist, a screenwriter, a radio and television broadcaster. Then two men come into his life, and he realizes something's missing. Rabbi Albert Lewis presides over a thriving synagogue in a comfortable New Jersey suburb, and pastor Henry Covington, a recovering drug user and dealer, preaches to the poor and homeless in a crumbling Detroit inner-city church.

He Got Game (1998)  / Touchstone Pictures ; a 40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks production ; produced by John Kilik and Spike Lee ; written and directed by Spike Lee.  Touchstone Home Video ; Burbank, Calif. : Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, [1998]  2 12 inch videodiscs (ca. 136 min.)  PN1995.9.B29 H4 1998 Video (12 inch) disc : With promises of a reduced sentence, a man is granted temporary release from state prison in order to persuade the nation's top college basketball recruit, his estranged son, to play ball for the Governor's alma mater. But just as the son faces intense pressures and irresistible temptations contemplating his big decision, the father is also forced to consider not only what's best for himself but what's best for his son.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Heavens Fall (2006)  / Allumination FilmWorks ; Strata Productions ; executive producers, Timothy Hutton, Norman Twain ; produced by Anna Marie Crovetti, Gloria Everett, Wade W. Danielson ; written and directed by Terry Green.  Woodland Hills, Cal. : Allumination FilmWorks, 2007.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 105 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997.2 .H438 2007 VideoDVD : A tragic true story of nine black men who were pulled off an Alabama freight train and accused of raping two young white women, quickly tried, and sentenced to the electric chair. Forcing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, a lone man defends them.  Cast : Timothy Hutton, Anthony Mackie, Bill Sage, Azura Skye, James Tolkan, Bill Smitrovich, Maury Chaykin, Joseph Lyle Taylor, Leelee Sobieski, David Strathairn.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Hell on wheels : the complete first season / an Entertainment One/Nomadic Pictures production ; created by Joe Gayton, Tony Gayton ; written by Joe Gayton ... [et al.] ; directed by David Von Ancken ... [et al.]. [United States] : E1 Entertainment, 2012. 3 videodiscs (450 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1992.77 .H466 2012 VideoDVD Season 1 : The AMC series "Hell on Wheels" is a wonderful glimpse of life after the Civil War during the building of the Transcontinental Railroad -- a story line that has only been briefly touched-on in past westerns.  Interlaced within the 1865 details is the unlikely friendship between an ex-confederate soldier and a former slave (flawlessly portrayed by Anson Mount and Common respectively). Their bond grows with each episode as their commonality becomes apparent and they have each other's back in revolving dilemmas....The two strongest components of the show (evident from the very beginning) are its lavish depiction of the Old West with some spectacular battles and effects and a dynamic lead villain in Colm Meaney. The story opens in a post-Civil War America with an enigmatic soldier (Anson Mount) seeking revenge for the murder of his wife by Union officers. His journey puts him in the heart of a railroad construction project led by Meaney at an untamed post on the outskirts of civilization. There are working girls, disgraced clergy, thuggish bosses, newly emancipated slaves, a Native American presence and a myriad of other unscrupulous business types coexisting in this tempestuous microcosm and seeking to exploit the new possibilities on the road west. Meaney is absolutely terrific and other notable performances are turned in by Common (unexpectedly solid as a sometimes ally of Mount) and Tom Noonan (as a preacher trying to reform his life).

Hell on wheels. The complete second season / produced by Michael Frislev, Chad Oakes ; written by Joe Gayton ... [et al.] ; directed by David Von Ancken ... [et al.].  Port Washington, New York : eOne, 2013. 3 videodiscs (413 minutes) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in. PN1992.77 .H466 2013 VideoDVD Season 2

Hellfire Austin (1932) (52 min.) Streaming video from the Internet Archive. : Heading west, Ken and Bouncer end up at the Brooks ranch where Ken is to ride Tarzan in the big race. But both the Sheriff and Edmonds are after him and he must hide both himself and the horse until race time.  Example of early African American western.

The Help (2011)  / Dreamworks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment present in association with Participant Media and Imagenation ; a 1492 Pictures/Harbinger Pictures production ; produced by Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan ; written for the screen and directed by Tate Taylor. [Burbank, Calif.] : Touchstone Home Entertainment, [2011]  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 146 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.N4 H457 2011 VideoDVD  : There are male viewers who will enjoy The Help, but Mississippi native Tate Taylor aims his adaptation squarely at the female readers who made Kathryn Stockett's novel a bestseller. If the multi-character narrative revolves around race relations in the Kennedy-era South, the perspective belongs to the women. Veteran maid Aibileen (Doubt's Viola Davis in an Oscar-worthy performance) provides the heartfelt narration that brackets the story. A widow devastated by the death of her son, she takes pride in the 17 children she has helped to raise, but she's hardly fulfilled. That changes when Skeeter (Easy A's Emma Stone) returns home after college. Unlike her peers, Skeeter wants to work, so she gets a job as a newspaper columnist. But she really longs to write about Jackson's domestics, so she meets with Aibileen in secret--after much cajoling and the promise of anonymity. When Aibileen's smart-mouthed friend Minny (breakout star Octavia Spencer) breaches her uptight employer's protocol, Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard) gives her the boot, and she ends up in the employ of local outcast Celia (Jessica Chastain, hilarious and heartbreaking), who can't catch a break due to her dirt-poor origins. After the murder of Medgar Evers, even more maids, Minny among them, bring their stories to Skeeter, leading to a book that scandalizes the town--in a good way. Not since Steel Magnolias has Hollywood produced a Southern woman's picture more likely to produce buckets of tears (and almost as many laughs).

A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich (1978) / Radnitz/Mattel Productions Inc. presents ; a Robert B. Radnitz, Ralph Nelson Film ; produced by Robert B. Radnitz ; screenplay by Alice Childress ; directed by Ralph Nelson.  Port Washington, NY : Koch Vision, c2009.  1 videodisc (107 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PS3505.H76 H47 2009 VideoDVD :  : Like the revolutionary novel for young adults by Alice Childress that was its source, the film adaptation of A Hero Ain’t Nothing But a Sandwich told the compelling story of a young man’s addiction to heroin and chronicled the ways that his drug habit almost destroys his family. Thirteen-year-old Benjie Johnson (Larry B. Scott), who lives with his single mother Rose (Cicely Tyson) and his widowed grandmother, starts shooting up on a dare from another boy. Soon Benjie is “skin-popping” regularly, stealing money from his family, and isolating himself from old friends. After two of his teachers report him, he is forced to enter a hospital detoxification program. But when he is released, he falls back into his old ways. After coming close to death, he is rescued by his mother’s hardworking boyfriend, Butler (Paul Winfield), a father figure who reaches out to him, literally and figuratively. Although the realism was less gritty at times than in the novel (in which Benjie lives in a cramped apartment in Harlem, not a little house in Los Angeles, and relates his experiences in the first person), the film vividly conveyed the boy’s sense of loneliness and abandonment, his search for his missing father, and his difficult rehabilitation. (The detoxification was graphically depicted in a series of black-and-white still photos and in lengthy encounter-group sessions with actual former addicts.) Like Native Son, A Hero Ain’t Nothing But a Sandwich offered a frightening portrait of black adolescent turmoil, of a boy’s maturation in a modern society that is hostile to him, and of the failure of even a loving family to shield or save him from harm.

Hi De Ho (1947)  [Baker City, OR : Nostalgia Family Video, c2000.]  1 videocassette (ca. 65 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in.  M1630.18 .C235 2000 Videocassette : Big band leader Cab Calloway is torn between two womens' desires, his manager Nettie and his jealous girlfriend Minnie, who hires killers to do him in.  Cast : Cab Calloway, Ida James, Jeni Le Gon.  Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series.

High Crimes  (2002) / Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises present a New Regency/Manifest Film Company/Monarch Pictures production, a Carl Franklin film in association with Epsilon Motion Pictures ; producers, Arnon Milchan, Janet Yang, Jesse B'Franklin ; screenplay writers, Yuri Zeltser, Cary Bickley ; director, Carl Franklin.  Beverly Hills, CA : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, c2002.  1 DVD videodisc (115 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.S87 H454 2002 VideoDVD : Claire Kubik, a smart and sexy attorney whose perfect world comes crashing down when the FBI charges her husband Tom with the murder of innocent civilians during a covert Army operation fifteen years earlier. Aided by a shrewd ex-military lawyer, Claire fights to clear Tom's name, but gets too close to exposing a government cover-up in the process. Now she must risk her career-- and even her life-- to find the truth.  Cast : Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman.

Hollywood Shuffle (1987) / Samuel Goldwyn Company ; Conquering Unicorn.  Beverly Hills, CA : Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, c2000.  1 DVD videodisc (81 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.C55 H654 2006 VideoDVD :  The alumni of Hollywood Shuffle are spread across dozens of current comedies and TV sitcoms--this is the movie that introduced Robert Townsend and the Wayans Brothers to the world. Townsend plays a young actor who struggles with being offered stereotyped street hustler roles while trying to maintain his self-respect and the approval of his family. Between scenes of comically humiliating auditions, Bobby has satirical fantasies about the plight of black actors, including the classic "Black Acting School" sketch, in which white teachers demonstrate jive talk and street moves for the befuddled black students. Townsend has a charming, low-key comic style, one considerably more subtle than that of some of the black comics who have risen to success with supposedly self-aware renditions of the stereotypes Townsend mocks. Townsend made this movie on his credit cards and it is clearly a heartfelt labor of love.

How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)  / 20th Century Fox ; screenplay by Terry McMillan & Ron Bass ; produced by Deborah Schindler ; directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan. Beverly Hills, Calif. : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, c1998. 1 DVD videodisc (124 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PS3563.C3868 H68 1998 VideoDVD  : Having made an impressive showing in the movie adaptation of one Terry McMillan novel (Waiting to Exhale), Angela Bassett eagerly accepted -- and did a bang-up job with -- the title role in this glossy 1998 interpretation of another McMillan story. Stella is a gorgeous 40-year-old San Francisco stockbroker who successfully runs with the bulls of the financial world but finds herself confronted with a bear market in romance. While on vacation in Jamaica with her friend Delilah (played by a scene-stealing Whoopi Goldberg), Stella meets and falls for handsome med-school hopeful named Winston (Taye Diggs). Only problem: He's 20 years old -- just half her age. Director Kevin Rodney Sullivan milks this dilemma for all it's worth, playing up the predictable disapproval of Stella's family and friends. A melodramatic subplot involving Delilah's critical illness and hospitalization temporarily diverts attention from the love affair, but Sullivan steers the film back on course and brings it to a dramatically satisfying conclusion. How Stella Got Her Groove Back tells McMillan's story of a May-September romance with élan, but even more important, it features the beautiful Bassett in a dazzling tour de force. The film's production is documented in a featurette included on the DVD.  2000 NAACP Image Award winner.  Want more info? Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Human Stain (2003)  / Miramax Films and Lakeshore Entertainment present ; a Lakeshore Entertainment and Stone Village production, in association with Cinerenta-Cineepsilon ; producers, Gary Lucchesi, Scott Steindorff, Tom Rosenberg ; screenplay by Nicholas Meyer ; directed by Robert Benton.  Burbank, CA : Miramax Home Entertainment : Distributed by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment, 2011.  1 DVD videodisc (106 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  ROVI MOVIE COLLECTION   CW6 D0130075 VideoDVD  : Coleman Silk is a respected professor at a New England college who suddenly finds his life unraveling after a comment he makes about some African-American students is misinterpreted as a racial slur. As the scandal heats up, Nathan Zuckerman, a writer researching a biography of Silk, begins to dig deeply into Silk's life. Eventually, matters are made worse when Coleman's affair with a young married janitor named Faunia Farley is exposed. But amid the controversy, Silk must struggle to keep his greatest secret, a secret he's held for the majority of his life, from becoming made public.

The Hurricane (1999)  / Universal Pictures and Beacon Pictures present an Azoff Films/Rudy Langlais production ; produced by Armyan Bernstein, John Catcham, Norman Jewison ; screenplay by Armyan Bernstein and Dan Gordon ; directed by Norman Jewison.  Universal, [2000]  1 VHS videocassette (146 min.)  MSU College of Law Library Reserve Video H L Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, in the prime of his boxing career, finds himself wrongfully convicted of murder. Sentenced to life in prison, Carter's published memoir, The sixteenth round, inspires a teenager from Brooklyn and three Canadian activists who believe in the truth, to join forces with Carter to prove his innocence.  Features Denzel Washington.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Selected Feature Films, I-J

All African American feature films, either featuring African American studies themes or African American actors,  are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.  Movies can be checked out unless reserved for a class.

I Am Legend  (2007) [(Blu-ray)  / Warner Bros. Pictures presents in association with Village Roadshow Pictures a Weed Road/Overbrook Entertainment production ; produced by Akiva Goldsman, James Lassiter, David Heyman, Neal Moritz ; screenplay by Mark Protosevich and Akiva Goldsman ; directed by Francis Lawrence.  Burbank, Calif. : Warner Home Video, [2008]  1 Blu-ray DVD videodisc (100 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.S26 I24 2008 VideoDVD  : The last man on earth is not alone. Somehow immune to an unstoppable, incurable virus, military virologist Robert Neville is now the last human survivng in New York City. He believes he may be the last human alive in the world. Mutant plague victims lurk in the shadows. They watch Robert's every move and wait for him to make a fatal mistake. Robert is driven by only one remaining mission - to find an antidote using his own immune blood. But, he is outnumbered and quickly running out of time.  Cast : Will Smith, Alice Braga, Dash Mihok.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

I, Robot (2004)  / 20th Century Fox ; Davis Entertainment ; Laurence Mark Productions ; Canlaws Productions ; Mediastream Vierte Film GmbH & Co. Vermarktungs KG ; Overbrook Entertainment ; produced by John Davis, Topher Dow, Wyck Godfrey, Laurence Mark ; screenplay, Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsman ; directed by Alex Proyas.  20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, c2004.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 114 min.) PS3551.S5 I72 2004 VideoDVD : In the year 2035, robots are a common, trusted part of life. But that trust is broken when a scientist is found dead, and a skeptical Chicago police detective investigating the murder believes that a robot is responsible. It seems impossible for a robot to break the Three Laws of Robotics, for if that were to happen there would be nothing to stop them from taking over the world. Aiding the detective in his investigation is a psychologist who specializes in the psyches of robots. Will technology ultimately lead to mankind's salvation or annihilation?  Features Will Smith. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

I Spy Season One (1965) /  Peter Rodgers Organization ; Three F Productions.  Chatsworth, Calif. : Distributed by Image Entertainment, [2008]   5 videodiscs (1429 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1992.8.S67 I22 2008 VideoDVD Season 1  discs 1-5 :  International espionage agents Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott go on highly dangerous missions posing as a world-class playboy/tennis player and his trainer.  The first major tv series to feature an African American in a starring role.   I Spy entry from the Encyclopedia of Television.

Idlewild (2006) / Universal Pictures and HBO Films present a Mosaic Media Group/Forensic Films production; produced by William Green, Scott Macaulay, Robin O'Hara ; written and directed by Bryan Barber. Universal City, CA : Universal Pictures, c2006.  1 DVD videodisc (2 hrs., 1 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.M86 I354 2006 VideoDVD : OutKast duo André "Andre 3000" Benjamin and Antwan Andre "Big Boi" Patton star as two Prohibition-era performers determined to fend off the vicious gangsters currently attempting to gain a stake in the pair's lucrative club in this musical drama directed by longtime collaborator Bryan Barber and featuring choreography by three-time Tony award winner Hinton Battle. In the 1930s, Idlewild was the hottest speakeasy in the South thanks to the impressive showmanship of flamboyant manager/lead performer Rooster (Patton) and the notable talents of introverted pianist Percival (Benjamin). Everything changes, however, when a powerful gangster and his ruthless henchmen move in on the scene with every intention of landing a healthy portion of the club's considerable profits. Ving Rhames, Terrence Howard, Faizon Love, Patti LaBelle, Macy Gray, Ben Vereen, and Cicely Tyson co-star.

I'm Gonna Git You Sucka  / United Artists Pictures, Inc.  [New York] : Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment, c1988.  1 VHS videocassette (88 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.C55 I232 1988 Videocassette : Jack Spade, a goody-goody war hero with medals for short-hand, returns to the ghetto to discover that his brother, Junebug, has OG'd, (Over-golded on jewelry). Jack swears revenge against the local gang boss, Mr Big, and sets off to enlist an army of Shaft, Superfly and Black Caesar--look-a-likes, that is.  Cast : Bernie Casey, Jim Brown, Isaac Hayes, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Antonio Fargas, Ja'net Dubois.

Imitation of Life  (1934) / a Universal picture ; a John M. Stahl production ; produced by Carl Laemmle ; screenplay, William Hurlbut ; directed by John M. Stahl.  Universal City, CA : Universal Home Video, [1998]  1 videocassette (111 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in.  PS3515.U785 I55 1998 Videocassette : Claudette Colbert and Louise Beavers star in this 1930's melodramatic tale of two mothers struggling for their children. Colbert plays Beatrice "Bea" Pullman, a widow with a young daughter. Life is hard for Bea until Delilah Johnson, Louise Beavers, arrives with her daughter Peola and becomes Bea's maid. Delilah cajoles Bea to give her a job as her maid. Bea discovers that Delilah has a delicious pancake recipe. Bea acquires this recipe, and uses it to start her empire; with Delilah getting a not so equal cut. However, this empire has a price for both. For one, the price is happiness in a relationship. For the other, the price is dealing with racial confusion. Ironically, their daughters serve them the check. When the girls grow up, Peola realizes that she can "pass" for white, and in the 1930's, with racism and joblessness rampant, her choice makes sense, for the times. When Peola, played by Fredi Washington, completely rejects her mother, it is heartbreaking. To see Louise Beavers sobbing onto the counter in the department store is truly painful.  Also have a DVD version of the 1934 and a 1959 remake.  The DVD package also includes bonus commentary by African-American cultural scholar Avery Clayton.

In the Heat of the Night (1967)  / Culver City, Calif. : MGM/UA, c1992.  1 VHS videocassette (110 min.)   PS3552.A455 I58 1992 Videocassette : A small town Southern sheriff finds himself in an uneasy alliance with a big-city black homicide detective as they investigate a murder. Features Sidney Poitier.

In the Heat of the Night (1967)  / the Mirisch Corporation ; the Norman Jewison-Walter Mirisch production ; United Artists ; screenplay by Sterling Silliphant ; produced by Walter Mirisch ; directed by Norman Jewison.   [United States] : Metro Goldwyn Mayer Home Entertainment : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, [2008].  1 DVD videodisc (112 min.) PS3552.A455 I582 2008 VideoDVD : A black homicide expert is asked to help solve the murder of a wealthy businessman in a small town.  Videodisc release of the 1967 motion picture.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Independence Day (1996)  / Twentieth Century Fox presents a Centropolis Entertainment production ; directed by Roland Emmerich ; written by Dean Devlin & Roland Emmerich ; produced by Dean Devlin.  Beverly Hills, Calif. : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, [2000]  2 videodiscs (153 min.)  PN1997.A1 I53 2000 VideoDVD : Massive spaceships appear in Earth's skies and wonder turns to terror as the ships blast destructive beams of fire down on cities all over the planet. The world's only hope lies with a determined band of survivors. Cast : Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Margaret Colin, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia, James Rebhorn, Harvey Fierstein, Brent Spiner. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999) / HBO Pictures presents an Esparza/Katz production in association with Berry/Cirrincione ; a Martha Coolidge film.  [New York, NY] : HBO Home Video, c1999.  1 DVD videodisc (115 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN2287.D256 I67 1999 VideoDVD : Dorothy Dandridge was a singer, nightclub entertainer, and actress who became the first African-American woman to receive an Academy award nomination as Best Actress (for her standout performance in 1954's Carmen Jones; she lost to Grace Kelly). However, despite her striking beauty and obvious talent, Dandridge was a sexy, glamorous black femme fatale at a time when Hollywood pin-up queens were supposed to be giggly blondes. The film industry didn't know what to do with her, and while her nightclub act was a bit too smooth for the Southern roadhouse circuit, as a black performer she wasn't allowed to stay in many of the hotels and resorts where she performed. Dandridge also had a sad personal life, filled with tragedy and romantic disappointment, and she died of an overdose of pills in 1965, at the age of 41. This made-for-cable biographical drama stars Halle Berry as Dorothy Dandridge, supported by Brent Spiner, Obba Babatunde, and Klaus Maria Brandauer.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Intruder in the dust / a Clarence Brown production ; screen play by Ben Maddow ; produced and directed by Clarence Brown.  Hollywood, CA : Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 90 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in.  PS3511.A86 I52 1993 Videocassette  :  Based on the novel by William Faulkner.  In a small Mississippi town, a white boy rescues a black man who is about to be lynched for a murder he did not commit.

The Jackie Robinson Story (1950) / Jewel Pictures Corporation ; Sterling Entertainment Group ; Eagle Lion Films release ; William Joseph Heineman presents ; producer, Mort Briskin ; director, Alfred E. Green.  Charlotte, NC : Ovation Home Video, c1999. 1 DVD videodisc (76 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. GV865.R6 J334 1999 VideoDVD Also available on VHS videocasette : Blurring the lines of documentary and narrative, the story tackles the abuse and ultimate glory of being the first African American Major League baseball player....As a student at UCLA in 1940, Jackie Robinson developed the athletic skills to play baseball, basketball, football, and track, earning him a statewide reputation in sports. In 1941 he played professional football with the Los Angeles Bulldogs and, following service as a lieutenant in World War II, was signed by the Montreal Royals, a minor league farm club of the Brooklyn Dodgers. After winning the league's batting title in 1946, Robinson joined the major leagues as first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers....He made his debut at Ebbet's Field on April 15, 1947, breaking the "color line" to become the first African American to play major league baseball. Hostile opponents and racist spectators publicly provoked him with bean-ball pitches and death threats. Conscious of his unique position as a role model, Robinson managed to ignore all racial epithets, even his own teammates' attempt to eject him from the team. In 1947, he led the National League in stolen bases and was named Rookie of the Year. In 1949, he won the National League batting title and the Most Valuable Player award. Robinson gained respect and became a symbol of black accomplishment and opportunity. His story quickly captured the nation's imagination, and after the Dodgers won the 1949 pennant, he took time off to star in The Jackie Robinson Story, a film about the story of his life....It co-stars Ruby Dee, Louise Beavers, Joel Fluellen, Bernie Hamilton and football great Kenny Washington. Branch Rickey, the tough-minded crusader and owner of the Dodgers, stood up to all criticism and offered many reasons for hiring Robinson. Initially, Rickey maintained that he wanted to put the best possible team on the field. Teams at that time relied almost exclusively on ticket sales to pay for spring training, travel, salaries, stadium upkeep, and still try to make a profit. Attendance was always higher for winning teams and Rickey believed that African-American players could improve his team....The Dodgers succeeded with such black stars as Robinson, Roy Campanella, and Don Newcombe. Rickey later acknowledged that his belief in equal rights was also a strong motive in signing African Americans to the Dodgers. With baseball's door open for black players, others soon followed. In that first year, Dan Bankhead pitched for the Dodgers, Larry Doby played for the Cleveland Indians, and Henry Thompson and Willard Brown played briefly for the St. Louis Browns. Although some teams began to integrate right away, it was not until 1959 that all major league teams fully integrated. Robinson succeeded in breaking racial barriers and paving the way for other black athletes to participate in professional sports....Having endured years of openly expressed racial prejudice, he became the first African American to receive recognition in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, in 1962. Robinson played his entire major league career for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1947-1956). As a tribute, in 1997, major league baseball retired Robinson's jersey number 42. Source : Separate Cinema.

The Jackie Robinson Story (1950) (1:13 minutes)  Streaming video from Hulu. : The life of Jackie Robinson from his college days to the military and then his becoming the first African-American professional baseball player in the modern era is covered in this feature. Robinson portrays himself in this feature that allows you insight into the psyche of Robinson, Branch Rickey and his fellow Brooklyn Dodgers teammates. This feature shows the pressure that was placed upon Robinson by the public and by some of his fellow players due to the racism that was common during that era.

Jefferson in Paris (1995) / Touchstone Pictures and Merchant Ivory Productions.  Burbank, CA : Touchstone Home Entertainment, 2004, c1995.  1 DVD videodisc (139 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.H5 J444 2004 VideoDVD  :  Best known for their historical epics that examine class and social issues in British life through a thick lens of tasteful production design and good manners, director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant set their sights on an American protagonist for a change with Jefferson in Paris. As the title suggests, Jefferson in Paris deals with the five years that Thomas Jefferson (Nick Nolte) spent as U.S. ambassador to France prior to the French Revolution; while Jefferson is sympathetic to the revolutionary forces in France, he's become well enough acquainted with the ruling aristocracy that he finds himself torn between the two sides of the issue. Jefferson, a recent widower, also becomes friends with Maria Cosway (Greta Scacchi), who is married to a foppish British artist; while it's obvious the two are in love, neither is in a position to do anything about their infatuation. And while Jefferson's daughter Patsy (Gwyneth Paltrow) loves her father, she's very upset with him when he sends her to a convent school. In this midst of this personal turmoil, Jefferson's younger daughter Polly (Estelle Eonnet) arrives in Paris, with her slave Sally Hemmings (Thandie Newton) in tow. Attractive and bright (if uneducated), Sally catches Jefferson's eye, and a friendship develops that grows into something deeper; in time, Sally becomes pregnant, and her family claims that Jefferson is the father. At the time Jefferson In Paris was released, the question of Sally Hemmings' relationship with Thomas Jefferson was a matter of lively historical debate; since then, genetic evidence has shown that, while Jefferson's paternity can't be proved beyond a doubt, it is likely that he did father children with Hemmings.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Jerry Maguire (1996)  / TriStar Pictures presents a Gracie Films ProductionColumbia TriStar Home Video, 1997.  1 DVD videodisc (138 min.) PN1995.9.S67 J4 1997 VideoDVD : The surprise box-office smash of 1996, Jerry Maguire reestablished Tom Cruise as a star of romantic comedies, earned stardom for Renée Zellweger, and won writer-director Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous) a spot on Hollywood's A-list. It also scored an Oscar for supporting player Cuba Gooding Jr. and thrust a new catchphrase -- "Show me the money!" -- into the popular lexicon. Crowe's zesty romance has an enduring charm: Cruise still shines as the brash but vulnerable sports agent whose moment of uncharacteristic frankness gets him fired. Opening his own small agency, the dispirited go-getter receives encouragement from his only employee, a single mom (Zellweger) who secretly adores him. Tom's twinkling eyes and toothy grin notwithstanding, the show is nearly stolen by Gooding's comically conceited athlete -- Maguire's lone client -- who makes his demands very clear. Crowe's Oscar-nominated script sparkles with clever lines and fleshes out characters in ways not typical of breezy Hollywood love stories. This winning combination of snappy storytelling, endearing characters, and incisive direction keeps Jerry Maguire fresh and contemporary.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Jivin’ in Be-Bop (1946) (59 minutes)  Streaming video via Matinee Classics : Directed by Leonard Anderson and Spencer Williams. Cast: Dizzy Gillespie, Freddy Carter and Milt Jackson. A well-crafted hour full of solid entertainment. Singers, instrumentalists, dancers both male and female, even comedy. Add to that getting to see such performers as Milt Jackson, Ray Brown, Benny Carter and Gillespie himself, along with many more, in what amounts to a front-row seat for a very cool variety show, photographed intelligently and orchestrated to please.

The Joe Louis Story (1953) / Federated Films Inc. production ; released by United Artists Corp. ; produced by Stirling Silliphant ; directed by Robert Gordon ; original screenplay by Robert Sylvester. Narbeth, Pa. : Alpha Video Distributors, 2003, c1953. 1 DVD videodisc (88 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. GV1132.L6 J64 2003 VideoDVD : Dramatization of the life story of "The Black Bomber" Joe Louis who became a World Heavyweight Champion and defended his title for twelve years- longer than any fighter before ore since. Includes actual footage from his greatest fights, including matches with Rocky Marciano, Max Schmeling, Primo Carnera, Max Baer, and Jim Braddock.

John Q  (2002) / New Line Cinema presents a Burg/Koules production ; producers, Mark Burg, Oren Koules ; writer, James Kearns ; director, Nick Cassavetes.  [United States] : New Line Home Entertainment, c2002.  1 DVD videodisc (116 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.S87 J64 2002 VideoDVD : A desperate father takes hospital employees hostage when his HMO refuses to pay for his son's life-saving surgery.  Cast : Denzel Washington, James Woods, Robert Duvall.

The Josephine Baker Story  (1991) / HBO Pictures presents in association with RHI Entertainment, Inc. and Anglia Television Ltd. ; a John Kemeny production ; a Brain Gibson film ; produced by John Kemeny ; teleplay by Ron Hutchinson ; directed by Brian Gibson.  New York?] : HBO Video, [2001]  1 DVD videodisc (131 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. GV1785.B3 J685 2001 VideoDVD : Brian Gibson's made-for-cable biography of the famed singer Josephine Baker stars Lynn Whitfield as the black American who found stardom and scandal as the toast of the Paris night-life during the 1920s and '30s. Cast : Lynn Whitfield, Rubén Blades, David Dukes, Craig T. Nelson. Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys (1976) / Tomorrow Entertainment.  1 BETA videocassette (96 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  PN1997 .J8 1980z Beta Videocassette : In 1933 the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a new trial for nine young Black men who had been falsely accused of rape and sentenced to death. Describes how Judge James E. Horton struggled to insure a fair trial in a lynch mob atmosphere.  Cast : Arthur Hill, Lewis J. Stadlen, Ken Kercheval, Vera Mills, Ellen Barber, Suzanne Lederer.

Juke Joint (1947)  / Alfred N. Sack presents ; directed by Spencer Williams ; a Bert Goldberg production[Baker City, OR : Nostalgia Family Video, c1996.]  1 VHS videocassette (75 min.) PN1995.9.N4 J85 1996 Videocassette  : "Juke Joint" (1947) was the product of Spencer Williams, best remembered as "Andy" from the Amos & Andy comedies. Not only did he write and direct this, he co-starred in this Dalls-made comedy with his then-partner July Jones (nee' Robert Orr) as two likeable con artists who pose as "thespians" to gain free room and board at Mama Lou's Boarding house. They also show their good side by stopping Mama Lou's wayward daughter from being tricked by an (implied) pimp who wants to take her to Chicago. This is a very pleasant and likeable comedy and interesting to compare to Williams's later work with Tim "King Fish" Moore in Amos & Andy. The jitterbug contest is an amazing highlight, but the camera is anchored a bit too far from the dancers. The cinematography is rough, but can be overlooked by the overall good feelings one gets from this film.  Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series.   Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Juke Joint (1947) (58 minutes)  Streaming video via Matinee Classics ; Directed by Spencer Williams. Cast: Spencer Williams, July Jones, Inez Newell, Melody Duncan and Katherine Moore. This feature presents Williams and Jones as down and out in the Great Southwest.  They pose as theatrical experts and get free room and board in the Holliday home for helping Honeydew prepare to win a beauty pageant.  Florida, the other daughter, is propositioned by the owner of a Juke Joint, who wants to take her to Chicago, but the two 'theatrical experts' and Mama Lou's sense of righteousness keep the family intact....Hitch-hiking con-men Bad News Johnson and July Jones arrive in a Midwestern small town with a capital of twenty-five cents. Taking a room with Mama Lou, whose daughter is entered in a local beauty contest, they pose as Hollywood actors who can train Honey Dew in stagecraft. Meanwhile, Mama's other daughter Florida prepares to elope to Chicago with Johnny, owner of the Juke Joint, where, after a jitterbug contest, Mama herself takes a hand.

Jumpin' Jack Flash / Twentieth Century Fox presents a Lawrence-Gordon/Silver Pictures production ; produced by Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver ; directed by Penny Marshall.   Beverly Hills, Calif. : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, [2011]    1 DVD videodisc (105 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.C55 J867 2011 VideoDVD : Whoopi Goldberg (The Color Purple) gives one of her earliest and finest film performances as Terry Doolittle, a computer programmer who unwittingly becomes embroiled in an international espionage scheme, forced to outmaneuver the CIA and KGB in this riotous 1986 Cold War comedy. Doolittle, the outspoken and irreverent employee of an international bank, is working overtime one evening when her terminal receives an encrypted message pleading for help from Jumpin’ Jack Flash, code name for a British spy (Jonathan Pryce) trapped in Eastern Europe. At first reluctantly and then audaciously, Doolittle becomes privy to his predicament and essential to his escape while delivering a steady stream of ribald one-liners and witty slapstick—whether it’s her Mick Jagger impersonation, police station meltdown, or infamous dress-caught-in-the-paper-shredder escapade at the British Consulate ball. A host of supporting talent includes Annie Potts, Jon Lovitz, Jim Belushi, the late Phil Hartman, and Stephen Collins (who shines as Marty, the mole), yet the film belongs to Whoopi. Though the plot is far-fetched and often flimsy, Penny Marshall (in her directorial debut) gives Goldberg enough latitude to showcase her immense talent in a role she obviously relishes—and audiences will too. Rated R for extreme profanity and mature themes.

Jungle Fever (1991)  / Universal Pictures presents a 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks production ; produced, written and directed by Spike Lee.  MCA/Universal Home Video, c1992.  1 VHS videocassette (131 min.)  PN1995.9.R23 J86 1992 Videocassette : A black architect begins an affair with his working class Italian secretary. Their relationship causes them to be scrutinized by their friends, cast out from their families and shunned by their neighbors in this moving view of inner-city life. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Selected Feature Films, K-L

Keep Punching  (1939)   [S.l.] : Hollywood's Attic, [199-?]  1 VHS videocassette (80 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.N4 K446 1990 Videocassette : Henry Jackson, known as Little Dynamite, is a Golden Gloves champion, who agrees to turn professional when approached by fight manager Ed Watson, despite the opposition raised by his father and Fanny Singleton, his sweetheart. Soon, Jackson is ready to fight for the championship, when he runs into Frank Harrison, an old school friend. Harrison is not the faithful friend that Jackson believes him to be as he is betting heavily that the heavily-favored Jackson will lose the bout. To ensure he does, Harrison introduces Jackson to a hot mama, Jerry Jordan, who is instructed to make him drink, stay out late and generally mess him up by whatever means. The day of the fight, Harrison orders Jerry to slip Jackson a sleeping potion just before he leaves for the fight. Jerry, now in love with Jackson, finally agrees after Harrison threatens her. A few hours before the fight, Jackson, Windy, a Harlem hanger-on, Harrison and Jerry are in Harrison's apartment when Jerry proposes a toast to Jordan. When he is not looking, she slips the sleeping potion into his glass. Windy sees her and switches glasses with Jackson. Jerry, ringside at the fight, sees the boy she loves getting a bad beating.Sobbing wildly, she leaves the arena and runs to a near-by church, where she drops on her knees and prays to God to forgive her and to let Henry win.  Cast : Henry Armstrong, Willie Bryant, Mae E. Johnson, Hamtree Harrington.  Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series.

Killer Diller (1948). (1:12 min)  Streaming video from the Internet Archive.  African American musical variety show featuring The Nat King Cole Trio, the Clark Brothers and other musical and comedy acts.

Lackawanna Blues (2005)  / HBO Films presents a Bellah Films/Good Shepherd production ; a film by George C. Wolfe ; screenplay by Ruben Santiago-Hudson ; produced by Nellie Rachel Nugiel ; directed by George C. Wolfe.  [New York, N.Y.] : HBO Video, [2005].  1 DVD videodisc (95 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997.2 .L323 2005 VideoDVD : In a story fueled by rhythm and blues, a young boy's life is shaped by love and the stories of a cast of characters in the boarding house where he lives. Based on Ruben Santiago-Hudson's autobiographical play about his relationship with his guardian Rachel Crosby, set in 1950's and 1960's Lackawanna, New York. After the separation of his parents, young Ruben, a part-black, part-Hispanic child, is sent to live in a small-scale boarding house run by the kind-hearted "Nanny" Crosby and her younger husband Bill.  Cast : S. Epatha Merkerson, Marcus Carl Franklin, Mos Def, Carmen Ejogo, Louis Gossett, Jr., Macy Gray, Terrence Dashon Howard, Ernie Hudson, Delroy Lindo, Rosie Perez, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Liev Schreiber, Jeffery Wright. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Lady Sings the Blues (1992) / Paramount Pictures and Berry Gordy present ; produced by Jay Weston and James S. White ; screenplay by Terence McCloy and Chris Clark and Suzanne de Passe ; directed by Sidney J. Furie.  Hollywood, Calif. : Paramount Home Entertainment, [2005]. 1 DVD videodisc (143 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  ML420.H58 L33 2005 VideoDVD  : Diana Ross plays the magnificent, tragic song stylist Billie Holiday, who while writhing in a strait jacket in a prison cell, awaiting sentencing on drug charges, reflects on her turbulent life. Raped in her youth by a drunk (Adolph Caesar), then compelled to work as a domestic in a Harlem whorehouse, Holliday is encouraged to try for a singing career by the bordello's pianist (Richard Pryor). She rises as high as it is possible to go in the white-dominated show business world of the 1930s, but can't handle the pressure and turns to narcotics. The film takes several liberties with the 44-year existence of "Lady Day." Among the Billie Holiday standards performed by Ross are "My Man," "I Cried for You," "Lover Man," "Them There Eyes," and the title song.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Lean on Me / Warner Bros. ; produced by Norman Twain ; directed by John G. Avildsen ; written by Michael Schiffer.   Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, 2010.  1 DVD videodisc (109 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.S253 L43 2010 VideoDVD   : This is the fact-based story of high school principal Joe Clark, who armed himself with a bullhorn and a Louisville Slugger and slammed the door on losers at Eastside High in Paterson, New Jersey. Directed by John G. Avildsen.  Starring Morgan Freeman. 1991 NAACP Image Award winner.

The Learning Tree (1969) / a film by Gordon Parks ; written for the screen, produced and directed by Gordon Parks.  Burbank, Calif. : Warner Home Video, 1987.  1 BETA videocassette (107 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PN1997 .L4 1987 BETA Videocassette : Traces one year in the life of young Newt, in which he learns about love, fear, racial injustice, and his own capacity for honor.

The Learning Tree (1969)  / Warner Bros.-Seven Arts Inc. ; written for the screen, produced and directed by Gordon Parks. Burbank : : Warner Home Video [distributor, 2011]  1 DVD videodisc (107 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1997 .L4 2011 VideoDVD : Remember that special growing-up year in your life? When you had your first real adventure, discovered love, faced an enemy, withstood the death of a loved one, stood up for a principle, backed a friend? Maybe, like Newt Winger's growing-up year, it was all of them. A personal triumph for director-producer-writer-composer Gordon Parks (adapting his novel), The Learning Tree traces one watershed year in the life of young Newt (Kyle Johnson), in which he learns about love, fear, violent racial injustice and, during an emotional murder trial, his own capacity for honor. "Most important of all," Parks said, "he learns that hating is a waste of valuable energy." Poignant, passionate and powerful, The Learning Tree will make you smile, break your heart and heal your spirit.

Lee Daniels' The Butler  / the Weinstein Company ; Windy Hill Pictures ; Follow Through Productions ; Pam Wallace Productions ; screenwriters, Danny Strong ; producer/director, Lee Daniels.  [Beverly Hills, California] : Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2014.  1 DVD videodisc (132 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.F35 L44 2014 VideoDVD : The Butler tells the story of a White House butler who served eight American presidents over three decades. The film traces the dramatic changes that swept American society during this time, from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond, and how those changes affected this man’s life and family. Forest Whitaker stars as the butler with Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower, John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan, James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, and many more. Academy Award® nominated Lee Daniels (Precious) directs and co-wrote the script with Emmy®-award winning Danny Strong (Game Change).

A Lesson Before Dying (1999) / Spanky Pictures production in association with Ellen M. Krass Productions ; producer, Robert Benedetti ; teleplay by Ann Peacock ; directed by Joseph Sargent. New York : HBO Home Video, c1999. 1 DVD videodisc (101 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PS3557.A355 L47 1999 VideoDVD : Don Cheadle, Mekhi Phifer, and Cicely Tyson star in this drama set in the 1940s about a black man sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit and teacher who is to counsel him as he awaits execution. A Lesson Before Dying is based on a novel by Ernest J. Gaines.  Want more info? Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Lethal Weapon  (1987) / written by Shane Black ; produced and directed by Richard Donner ; Warner Bros.  Burbank, Calif. : Warner Home Video, 1987.  1 videodisc (LaserVision CLV) (110 min.) : sd., col. ; 12 in.  PN1995.9.P57 L47 1987 Video (12 inch) disc : Two Vietnam-vets-turned cops have only one thing in common : they both hate to work with partners, but when a routine murder investigation turns into a no holds barred war with an international heroin ring their partnership becomes the key to survival. Directed by Richard Donner.  Starring Mel Gibson & Danny Glover. 1989 NAACP Image Award winner.

Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) / directed by Richard Donner ; screenplay by Jeffrey Boam ; story by Shane Black and Warren Murphy ; produced by Richard Donner and Joel Silver ; a Silver Pictures Production.  Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, c1991.  1 videodisc (114 min.) : sd., col. ; 12 in.  PN1995.9.P57 L47 1991 Video (12 inch) disc : Riggs and Murtaugh must guard a free-wheeling witness in a comedy/drama of car chases, gun battles, under-water escapes, and the destruction of a chic hillside house.  Cast : Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Joss Ackland.

The Lion King (1994) / [presented by] Walt Disney Pictures ; produced by Don Hahn ; screenplay by Irene Mecchi and Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton ; directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff.  Burbank, Calif. : Walt Disney Home Entertainment : Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2003.  2 DVD videodiscs (ca. 90 min.)  PN1997.5.L56 L56 2003 VideoDVD  1-2 : Simba begins life as an honored prince, son of the powerful King Mufasa. The cub's happy childhood turns tragic when his evil uncle Scar murders Mufasa and drives Simba away from the kingdom. In exile, the young lion befriends the comically bumbling pair of Pumbaa the warthog and Timon the meerkat and lives a carefree jungle life. As he approaches adulthood, however, he is visited by the spirit of his father, who instructs him to defeat the nefarious Scar and reclaim his rightful throne.  Features the voice of Michigan's James Earl Jones as the voice of Mufasa. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Long Walk Home (1990) / Miramax Films.  Van Nuys, CA. : Live Home Video, 1991.  1 VHS videocassette (98 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. MSU College of Law Library Reserve Video L : Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg is Odessa Cotter, a quietly dignified woman, who works as a housekeeper for Miriam Thompson (Academy Award winner Sissy Spacek). When Odessa honors the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott by walking an exhausting nine miles to and from work, Miriam offers her a ride. Defying both Miriam's racist husband (Dwight Schultz) and the powerful White Citizen's Council, Miriam and Odessa put their lives in danger for civil rights. Their shared experiences draw them closer as a deep respect and lasting friendship forms. Together, in a difficult world of black versus white, they manage to discover a common ground. Cast : Sissy Spacek, Whoopi Goldberg, Dwight Schultz. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Lookout Sister (1946)  / [presented by] Astor Pictures Corp.  North Hollywood, CA : Hollywood Select Video : Timeless Video [distributor], c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 67 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 L66 1993 Videocassette : Louis Jordan not only sings but also proves that he can cowboy with the best of them in this shoot'em up musical romp.

Losing Ground /   Kathleen Collins.    Harrington Park, NJ : Milestone Films & Video, 1982/2012.  1 DVD.  86 minutes. PN1997 .L676 2012 VideoDVD   :At the time of her death from cancer in 1988, Kathleen Collins was just 46 years old, but she was already an internationally renowned playwright, a popular professor (at New York’s City College) and a successful independent filmmaker.  Her second film, Losing Ground tells the story of a marriage of two remarkable people, both at a crossroads in their lives. Sara Rogers, a black professor of philosophy, is embarking on an intellectual quest to understand “ecstasy” just as her painter husband Victor sets off on a more earthy exploration of joy. Celebrating a recent museum sale, Victor decides to rent a country house where he can return to more realism after years working as an abstract expressionist. Away from the city, the couple’s summer idyll becomes complicated by Sara’s research and by Victor’s involvement with a young model. When one of her students casts Sara as the woman scorned in a film version of the song “Frankie and Johnny,” she experiences a painful emotional awakening. While dealing with strong individuals and feelings, the film is also charming--Collins described it as a comedy about a young woman who takes herself too seriously. One of the very first fictional features by an African-American woman, Losing Ground remains a stunning and powerful work of art. Accomplished actors Seret Scott (who appeared in Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby and Ntozake Shange’s play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf”), Bill Gunn (Ganja and Hess) and Duane Jones (Night of the Living Dead) star. Funny, brilliant and personal, Losing Ground should have ranked high in the canon of indie cinema. But the early 1980s was not an easy time for women or independent filmmakers and the film was never theatrically released. It was shown once on PBS’s American Playhouse, and then it effectively disappeared. Twenty-five years after her mother’s death, Nina Collins rescued the original negative and created a beautiful new digital master of her mother’s film. Losing Ground now looks and sounds as fresh, bracing and complex as it did when it was first filmed. It is a testament to Kathleen Collins’ incredible talent and a lasting treasure of African American and women’s cinema.

Lost Boundaries (1949) / an RD-DR Production ; screen adaptation by Charles Palmer ; produced by Louis de Rochemont ; directed by Alfred L. Werker.  Burbank, Calif. : Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. : Warner Home Video, 2009.  1 DVD videodisc (99 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.N4 L67 2009 VideoDVD : Scott Carter is a skilled doctor - and a man without prospects. Rejection letters from hospitals pile up. His young wife is pregnant with their first child. Unable to land a job because of his race, Scott (Mel Ferrer) decides. "For one year of my life," he says, "I'm going to be a white man." That one year becomes two, then 10, then 20. But it's still only a matter of time before Scott's secret is out and he confronts racism in the New Hampshire town he's served for decades....A light-skinned black family passes for white in this powerful, fact-based tale. Produced by Louis de Rochemont, one of the most acclaimed filmmakers of the late 1940s, Lost Boundaries belongs to a forward-looking cluster of postwar films that declared war on society's ills. Like Boomerang!, Pinky, Gentleman's Agreement and others of the era, it resonates with conviction, proving great issues are the stuff of great filmmaking.

Love & Basketball (2004) / New Line Productions[United States] : New Line Home Entertainment, c2004. 1 DVD videodisc (127 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.B29 L68 2004 VideoDVD  : This refreshingly offbeat love story -- allegedly based on the life of Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Brown -- revolves around the game of basketball and the stabilizing influence it exerts on a pair of friends whose lengthy, erratic relationship ultimately blossoms into romance. Sanaa Lathan, a fresh, beguiling screen presence, plays Monica, a female basketball player with unusual talent and the drive to match. Omar Epps as Quincy, the gifted but cocky son of a fading Los Angeles Clippers star (Dennis Haysbert), initially ridicules her ambition. Eventually, though, he comes to realize that this is one young woman who's determined to get what she goes after. First as friendly rivals growing up in Los Angeles in the early '80s, then as lovers at USC and in the disparate worlds of men's and women's professional basketball, Epps's and Lathan's relationship has a definite ring of naturalness; so, too, does the film's adoring image of basketball as both a maker and breaker of hearts. (No surprise: New York Knicks fan No. 1 Spike Lee was one of the producers.) Writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood makes Lathan a likable, believable young woman for whom every audience can cheer. Epps, whose character is more edgy, veers close to the unsympathetic at several points, but ultimately convinces us that he's worthy of Lathan's energies. Unflinchingly contemporary in tone and presentation, Love & Basketball also shares the warm, uplifting feel of the screen's most popular romantic dramas. In short, it's a slam-dunk.

Lying Lips  (1939)  Chicago : Facets Video, c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (60 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 L956 1983 Videocassette : A classic melodrama by Oscar Micheaux.  A nightclub singer refuses to "date" customers, so she's framed for the murder of her aunt, convicted of the killing and sent to prison. However, her friend, who is a police detective, doesn't believe she did it and sets out to prove her innocence.  Want more info?  See Wild Realm Review.  Also available online.

Selected Feature Films, M

All African American feature films, either featuring African American studies themes or African American actors,  are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.  Movies can be checked out unless reserved for a class.

Malcolm X (1992)  / Director, Spike Lee ; producers, Marvin Worth & Spike Lee ; co-producers, Monty Ross, Jon Kulik & Preston Holmes ; screenplay, Arnold Perl & Spike Lee ; based on the book "The autobiography of Malcolm X" as told to Alex Haley ; music, Terence Blanchard.  Warner Home Video, [1993], c1992.  2 VHS videocassettes (ca. 3 1/2 hrs.)  E185.97.L5 M3534 1993 Videocassette : Screen version of the life of Malcolm X, who through his religious conversion to Islam, found the strength to rise up from a criminal past to become an influential civil rights leader. Trivia: Malcolm X lived in Lansing, Michigan during most of his youth.  1995 NAACP Image Award winner.  Need more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Malcolm X (1992)  / Warner Brothers Pictures ; Warner Bros. presents in association with Largo International N.V. ; a 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks production ; a Marvin Worth production ; a Spike Lee Joint ; screenplay by Arnold Perl and Spike Lee ; produced by Marvin Worth and Spike Lee ; directed by Spike Lee.  Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, c2000.  1 DVD videodisc (201 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  E185.97.L5 M3534 2000 VideoDVD : DVD version of the above movie.

Mama Flora's Family. [United States] : Hallmark Home Entertainment : Distributed by Family Home Entertainment, [2001]. 1 DVD videodisc (ca. 175 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PS3558.A3575 M35 2001 VideoDVD : This four-hour miniseries is based on author Alex Haley's continuing family saga. Covering the 1920s-1970s, the story centers on Mama Flora, the matriarch of a large black family who is determined to keep her brood together and close to their God during rapidly changing and tempestuous times.  Cast : Cicely Tyson, Blair Underwood, Queen Latifah, Mario Van Peebles.

Man on Fire (2004)  / Fox 2000 Pictures and Regency Enterprises present a New Regency/Scott Free production, a Tony Scott film ; produced by Arnon Milchan, Tony Scott, Lucas Foster ; screenplay by Brian Helgeland ; directed by Tony Scott. Beverly Hills, Calif. : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, c2007.  1 DVD videodisc (146 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PS3567.U36 M3 2007 Blu-ray VideoDVD : A wave of kidnappings sweeps through Mexico City spreading panic among its wealthier citizens. John Creasy is a burned-out ex-CIA assassin who has given up on life. Creasy's friend Rayburn brings him to Mexico City to be a bodyguard to nine-year-old Pita Ramos. Pita is the daughter of industrialist Samuel Ramos and his wife Lisa. Creasy is not interested in being a bodyguard, especially to a young girl, but he accepts the assignment. Slowly, Pita chips away at Creasy's seemingly impenetrable exterior, his defenses drop, and he opens up to her. Then Pita is kidnapped and Creasy is seriously wounded. He vows to kill anyone involved in or profiting from the kidnapping.  Features Denzel Washington.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Mandela and De Klerk (1997)  / Showtime presents a Bernard Sofronski production ; a Joseph Sargent film ; produced by Bernard Sofronski ; written by Richard Wesley ; directed by Joseph Sargent[Los Angeles, CA] : Evergreen Entertainment, 1997.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 114 min.) DT1949.M35 M354 1997 Videocassette : The film features the life of African National Congress co-founder Nelson Mandela. Movie features Sidney Poitier.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Mandingo (1975)  / Paramount ; produced by Dino De Laurentiis ; directed by Richard Fleischer ; screenplay by Norman Wexler.  Hollywood, Calif. : Paramount, [1991], c1975.  1 VHS videocassette (121 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  PS3529 .N732 1991 Videocassette : This shocking and controversial potboiler set in antebellum Louisiana chronicles the decline and fall of the slave-breeding Maxwell family, headed by dictatorial patriarch Warren (James Mason). Determined to have another heir, Warren persuades his randy son (Perry King) to wed a pouty Southern belle (Susan George) whose vengeance-fueled sexual encounters with a slave (Ken Norton) lead to disastrous consequences.  Shows the true brutalizing nature of slavery, which made victims of both owner and slave.  A back-alley parody of Gone With the Wind?    Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Mark of the Hawk (1957)  / Film Productions International.  [S.l.] : Distributed by American Video, c1988. 1 videocassette (VHS) (83 min.) PN1995.9.S553 M37 1988 Videocassette : Sidney Poitier stars as a rabble-rousing revolutionary among black plantation workers in the South after the Civil War. As his romantic interest, Eartha Kitt is at his side as he fights for their basic rights under the American Flag.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Men in Black (1997)  / Columbia Pictures presents an Amblin Entertainment production in association with MacDonald/Parkes Productions ; screen story and screenplay by Ed Solomon ; produced by Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald ; directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.  Columbia TriStar Home Video, c1997.  1 VHS videocassette (98 min.) PN1997 .M435 1997 Videocassette : New York City is being threatened by a villainous bug who has inhabited the body of a farmer. The mission is to locate and exterminate the bug before it destroys the planet.  Features Will Smith.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Men in Black II  : MIIB (2002) / Columbia Pictures presents an Amblin Entertainment production, in association with MacDonald/Parkes productions... [etal].  [United States] : Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, 2002.  2 DVD videodiscs (88 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1997 .M4352 2002 VideoDVD  1-2 : Four years after agents J and K averted an intergalactic disaster J is still working for the MIB while K has returned to the comforts of civilian life. While investigating a seemingly routine crime, J uncovers a diabolical plot masterminded by Serleena, an evil Kylothian monster who disguises herself as a sexy lingerie model. It's a race against the clock as J must find and convince K--who not only has no memory of his time spent with the agency, but is also the only person alive who has the expertise to save the galaxy--to reunite with the MIB before Earth is destroyed completely. Cast : Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Tony Shalhoub, Rip Torn.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine

Men of Honor (2000)  / Fox 2000 Pictures presents a State Street Pictures production ; directed by George Tillman, Jr. ; produced by Robert Teitel, Bill Badalato ; written by Scott Marshall Smith.  Beverly Hills, Calif. : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, c2001.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 128 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  V63.B73 M46 2001 VideoDVD : One of those rare films that grabs you by the gut and never lets go, Men of Honor was inspired by the life of Carl Brasher (Cuba Gooding Jr.), an African American who dared to dream of becoming a U.S. Navy Master Diver. Despite a bigoted training officer (Robert DeNiro) and a tragic shipboard accident, Carl never gives up and achieves the impossible in an incredible finish that will leave you cheering.  

Menace II Society (1993)  / New Line Cinema presents a New Line production ; a Hughes Brothers film ; directed by the Hughes brothers ; story by Allen Hughes, Albert Hughes, Tyger Williams ; screenplay by Tyger Williams ; produced by Darin Scott.  [New York, N.Y.] : New Line Home Video, c1997.  1 DVD videodisc (104 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequence ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.N4 M46 1997 VideoDVD Also available as a 12-inch disc : Tyrin Turner may not have broken out into stardom as was initially expected, but his work in Menace II Society is one of the more powerful cinematic debuts. The film, from the brother writer-director team of Allen and Albert Hughes, chronicles life in the Los Angeles 'hood. Similar territory was covered in the equally commanding Boyz N the Hood, but what makes this cautionary tale stand out is not only the Hughes brothers' forceful story, (written with their friend, Tyger Williams) and direction, but the naturalness of then-newcomer leads Turner as Caine, Larenz Tate as O-Dog, and Jada Pinkett as Ronnie. They are so credible--occasionally frighteningly so--that the repressive universe of violent ghetto life is captured effectively. Life as portrayed here--and no doubt accurately so--is both figuratively and literally narrow. As a very young boy, Caine witnesses his dad murdered over something inconsequential, and his mom OD. His is a world where respect comes from intimidation, power from violence. Despite his understanding of right and wrong (values passed on by a good friend, his kind grandparents, a caring teacher), his life and its entrapments are too much to overcome.  Cast : Tyrin Turner, Jada Pinkett, Larenz Tate, Arnold Johnson, MC Eiht, Marilyn Coleman, Vonte Sweet, Clifton Powell, Glenn Plummer, Bill Duke, Charles S. Dutton, Samuel L. Jackson.

Miracle at St. Anna  / Touchstone Pictures presents in association with On My Own Produzioni Cinematografiche and Rai Cinema, a Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks production, a Spike Lee joint ; produced by Roberto Cicutto, Luigi Musini, Spike Lee ; screenplay James McBride ; directed by Spike Lee.  Burbank, CA : Touchstone Home Entertainment : distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, [2009].  1 Blu-ray DVD videodisc : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PS3613.C28 M57 2009 Blu-ray VideoDVD : Spike Lee's World War II film Miracle at St. Anna begins in 1983 with Hector Negron, a veteran of that war, unexpectedly shooting a customer dead. Police discover that the suspect, a quiet postal worker, kept a statue head worth millions of dollars in his apartment. An eager young reporter (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) interviews Negron in his cell about the mysterious artifact. While serving in the all-minority 92nd "Buffalo Soldier" Division, Negron and three comrades managed to sneak deep into enemy territory in Italy. One of the men, Sam Train (Omar Benson Miller), picked the head up while they were serving in Florence and believes it brings him good luck. Negron (Laz Alonso), Train, and Bishop Cummings (Michael Ealy), along with their sergeant, Aubrey Stamps (Derek Luke), take refuge in the Italian village of St. Anna, harbored by locals who are resisting the Nazis -- who themselves surround the area. Train also protects an injured Italian boy he discovers while investigating a seemingly abandoned dwelling. Eventually, the soldiers make contact with their superiors, and are ordered to capture a German so that he may be interrogated about an upcoming attack. Lee adapted Miracle at St. Anna from a novel by James McBride, who also penned the screenplay.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Miss Evers' Boys (1997)  / HBO NYC presents in association with Anasazi Productions ; produced by Kip Konwiser and Derek Kavanagh ; teleplay by Walter Bernstein ; directed by Joseph Sargent.  New York : HBO Home Video, [2001]  1 DVD videodisc (118 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1992.8.F5 M57 2001 VideoDVD :  In 1932, Nurse Eunice Evers is invited to work with doctors on the "Tuskegee Experiment" to study the effects of syphilis. She is faced with a terrible dilemma when she learns the patients are denied treatment that could cure them.  Cast : Alfre Woodard, Laurence Fishburne, Craig Sheffer, Joe Morton, Obba Babatundé, E.G. Marshall, Ossie Davis.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Mississippi Burning (1988)   / Orion Pictures Corporation.  New York : Orion Home Video, c1989.  1 VHS videocassette (127 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.D4 M58 1989 Videocassette : Set in Mississippi in 1964, this is a fictionalized version of the case of the murder of three young civil rights workers, the FBI's attempts to find the missing boys and the clash between the authorities and the locals in a Klan-dominated town.  Cast : Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Mississippi Damned  /a Morgan's Mark production ; producers, Morgan R. Stiff & Lee V. Stiff ; written and directed by Tina Mabry.  [Los Angeles, Calif.] : Morgan's Mark, c2010.  1 DVD videodisc (120 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 M57 2010 VideoDVD  :  Wanting to escape was the easy part. Taking place in 1986 and 1998 and based on a true story, three poor, Black kids in rural Mississippi reap the consequences of their family's cycle of abuse, addiction, and violence. They independently struggle to escape their circumstances and must decide whether to confront what's plagued their family for generations or succumb to the same crippling fate, forever damned in Mississippi. Bitterly honest and profoundly subtle, writer/director Tina Mabry successfully captures growing up in a world where possibilities and opportunities seem to die in the face of the suffocating reality of physical and sexual abuse, obsession, and a myriad of destructive compulsions.  Winner of 14 awards.  Trailer.

Mississippi Masala (1991)  / SCS Films Inc. presents, in association with Odyssey/Cinecom International and Film Four International ; a Mirabai Films Production, in association with MovieWorks and Black River Productions ; produced by Michael Nozik, Mira Nair ; directed by Mira Nair ; written by Sooni Taraporevala.  [Burbank, CA] : Columbia TriStar Home Video, c1992.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 118 min.)  PN1995.9.R23 M577 1992 Videocassette : In this exotic and erotic interracial love story, an African American businessman falls for a beautiful Indian immigrant, only to encounter shock and outrage from both families.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Mitch Albom's Have a Little Faith (2011) / produced by Andrew Gottlieb ; written by Mitch Albom ; directed by Jon Avnet.  [United States] : Hallmark Hall Of Fame Productions, c2011.   1 DVD videodisc (ca. 95 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.F83 H34 2011 VideoDVD : Mitch Albom (Bradley Whitford) has a pretty great life. He lives in Detroit and is happily married, he's an award-winning sportswriter, a must-read newspaper columnist, a screenwriter, a radio and television broadcaster. Then two men come into his life, and he realizes something's missing. Rabbi Albert Lewis (Martin Landau) presides over a thriving synagogue in a comfortable New Jersey suburb, and pastor Henry Covington (Laurence Fishburne), a recovering drug user and dealer, preaches to the poor and homeless in a crumbling Detroit inner-city church. Moving between their worlds - Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and privileged - Albom witnesses first-hand how these two very different men not only live life, but celebrate it. What else do these two have in common? They believe there's divine spark in all of us - and that a single person can make a big difference in others' lives, as long as they have a little faith.

Mo' Better Blues (1990)  / Universal Pictures ; 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks production ; produced, written and directed by Spike LeeUniversal City, Calif. : MCA Universal Home Video, c1991.  1 VHS videocassette (129 min.)  PN1995.9.M863 M6 1991 Videocassette : Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington gives a riveting performance in Spike Lee's breathtaking film on music and love. Talented trumpeter Bleek Gilliam (Washington) is obsessed by his music and indecisiveness about his girlfriends Indigo (Joie Lee) and Clarke (Cynda Williams). But when he is forced to come to the aid of his manager and childhood friend (Spike Lee), Bleek finds his world more fragile that he ever imagined. Stunning cinematography, a rousing score and superlative performances come together in this unforgettable feast for the senses.  Need more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Monster's Ball (2001)   / Lions Gate Films presents a Lee Daniels Entertainment production ; produced by Lee Daniels ; written by Milo Addica & Will Rokos ; directed by Marc Forster.  [United States] : Studio S : Trimark Home Video : Distributed by Lions Gate Home Entertainment, [2002], c2001.  1 DVD videodisc (112 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.M27 M667 2002 VideoDVD  : Hank and Leticia inhabit stark, queasy realities of the contemporary South, he as a death row corrections officer and she as the soon-to-be widow of an inmate whose execution Hank helps conduct. In the aftermath of the execution, both lose their children to tragic deaths and they form an unlikely bond.  Cast : Billy Bob Thornton, Heath Ledger, Halle Berry, Sean Combs, Mos Def, Will Rokos, Milo Addica, Coronji Calhoun, Peter Boyle.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Moon Over Harlem (1939) / [S.l. ; s.n., 198-?]  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 75 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.N4 M66 1980z Videocassette : The story of a young married couple and their adventures. Cast : Bud Harris, Cora Green, Alec Lovejoy. Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series. 

Moon Over Harlem (1939) (65 minutes)  Streaming video via Matinee Classics.  : Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer.  Cast: Bud Harris, Cora Green, Alec Lovejoy and Sidney Bechet.  This movie begins with a wedding and ends with a funeral, so one would expect it to be a tragedy. In fact, it is uplifting and exciting. This film is a wonderfully interesting and extraordinary portrayal of life recorded in of Harlem around the 1930's.

Mooz-lum (2010) / Q Productions presents a Dana O production ; producer, Samad Davis ; produced by Dana Offenbach ; written and directed by Qasim "Q" Basir.  [United States] : CodeBlack Enterprises ; Universal City, CA : Distributed by Vivendi Entertainment, [2011]   1 DVD videodisc (100 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.C543 M66 2011 VideoDVD  : Amid a strict Muslim rearing and a social life he's never had Tariq (Evan Ross) enters college confused. New peers, family, and mentors help him find his place but the 9-11 attacks force him to face his past and make the biggest decisions of his life.

Mr. Adam’s Bomb (1949) (20 minutes) Streaming video via Matinee Classics.  : Directed by Eddie Green.  Cast: Jessica Grayson and Mildred Boyd. In this bizarre all-black cast short, a man dances to a jazz record with his maid, until his wife and daughter discover him.  His wife isn’t pleased by the music or him dancing with the maid.  They talk about how Uncle Adam has been bringing strange objects in bags into the house at midnight for an experiment and they think maybe he has a bomb…

Mr. and Mrs. Loving (1996)  / Showtimes presents in association with Hallmark Entertainment ; executive producers, Timothy Hutton, Susan Rose.  La Crosse, WI : Platinum Disc, 2005, c1996.  1 DVD videodisc (105 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.R23 M7 2005 VideoDVD  : In Central Point, Virginia, Richard Loving, a poor white laborer, falls in love with Mildred "Bean" Jeter, a beautiful young black woman. Mixed-race relationships are accepted here, but marriage, in 1960, is illegal under a miscegenation law dating from slave times. Bean becomes pregnant, and despite their families' fears, Richard insists on marrying her. They are arrested and thrown in jail. Having to choose between a three year jail sentence or a 25-year banishment from the state of Virginia, the Lovings choose freedom and move to Washington, D.C. Inspired by the speeches of Martin Luther King, Bean writes a letter to then Attorney-General Robert Kennedy requesting that the law be changed so that she and Richard can go home. Her letter reaches young ACLU attorney Bernie Cohen, who sees a great opportunity for social justice in this landmark case. Seven years after their banishment, The Lovings' case is heard by the Supreme Court. In a landmark ruling, the Court declares the Virginia law unconstitutional.  Cast : Timothy Hutton (Richard Loving), Lela Rochon (Mildred "Bean" Jeter), Ruby Dee (Sophia), Bill Nunn (Leonard), Corey Parker (Bernie Cohen), Isaiah Washington (Blue), Lawrence Dane (Sheriff), Charles Gray (Papa Jeter), Jackie Richardson (Mama Jeter), Michael Clarke (Gerald), Karen Robinson (Norma), Stephen Walsh (Father Loving), Linda Goranson (Mother Loving), Ardon Bess (Justice of the Peace), Scott Spidell (Harley), Larry Reynolds (Judge), Richard Fitzpatrick (defense attorney), Sharon Lewis (Leanne), Suzanne Coy (Marcella), Dianna Belshaw (landlady), Briar Boake (receptionist), Carol Anderson (nurse), Christopher Kalogerakos (Sidney, 2 yrs.).   Also available on YouTube.

Murder in Harlem (1935)  /  North Hollywood, Calif. : Timeless Video, c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (102 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 M86 1993 Videocassette : A black night watchman in a chemical factory finds the body of a young white woman in the basement. Blamed for the murder the man is tried but during the trial the real killer is unmasked. Videocassette release of the 1935 motion picture.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Murder in Mississippi (1989) / a David L. Wolper production in association with Bernard Sofronski ; producer Mark M. Wolper ; written by Stanley Weiser ; directed by Roger Young. Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, [2008]  1 DVD videodisc (97 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 M8736 2008 VideoDVD : This movie dramatizes the murder of three civil rights workers -- all of college age -- in Mississippi in 1964. This DVD illustrates the difficulties encountered by those who attempted to register blacks to vote in Mississippi during the racial strife that took place during the 1960s and eventually led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 through the efforts of President Lyndon Johnson.

Murder in Mississippi (1956) / written by Herbert S. Altman ; produced by Herbert S. Altman, J.P. Mawra ; directed by J.P. Mawra.  Black Rebels (1959) / screenplay by Morris Lee Green ; story by William Rowland and Irma Berk ; added scenes created and directed by William Rowland ; produced by William Rowland ; directed by Richard L. Bare.   [United States] : Something Weird Video, c2005.  1 DVD videodisc (177 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.R23 B553 2005 VideoDVD : Murder in Mississippi summary - "Voter registration leads to Murder in Mississippi when a 'cracker' Sheriff arrests white dilettante Carol Byrd and two other 'Communist Yankees' for 'agitating colored folks.' Though her friends are killed, Carol is kept alive as the personal sex slave of two white-trash cretins in this nasty lesson in racial intolerance..."   Black Rebels summary - "'We don't want your kind around here....' When drug-dealing Buck kills the boyfriend of Lola Montalvo (West Side Story Oscar winner Rita Moreno) then pins the rap on her brother, Lola seeks revenge by pretending to love Buck -- moments after Buck's former girlfriend (Dyan Cannon!) tries to stick a switchblade in his back! All of which culminates in a race riot at the home of a high-school rich kid involving black, white, and Mexican gangs, undercover cops, Lola's poor ol' papa, and even a pool full of naked girls...." Two examples of Black exploitation films.

Murder on Lenox Avenue (1941)  / Colonnade Pictures Corporation ; directed by Arthur DreifussNorth Hollywood, CA : Hollywood Select Video Inc. : Distributed by Timeless Video Inc., c1993. 1 VHS videocassette (60 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 M79 1993 Videocassette : The disgraced rounder of the Harlem Better Business League attempts to murder his respectable replacement.  A precious glance at Harlem and African American culture in the nineteen forties, Murder on Lenox Avenue is a walk through nightclubs and political strife, home life and murder. Also featured is an extraordinary performance by Mamie Smith, one of the first women to ever record blues music, as she sings in a hot swing club. Intricately woven, the biting characters of Murder on Lenox Avenue are mostly out to get each other: from stealing jobs to stealing daughters. Historically significant, abrasive, and politically charged, Murder on Lenox Avenue is an electric foray into Harlem in the early twentieth century.

Selected Feature Films, N-O

All African American feature films, either featuring African American studies themes or African American actors,  are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.  Movies can be checked out unless reserved for a class.

Naked Acts (1996)  / Kindred Spirits Productions in association with Sirron Communications presents ; a Bridgett Davis film ; written, produced & directed by Bridgett Davis.  [Los Angeles, Calif.?] : Manufactured and distributed by Delta Entertainment, c2000.  1 DVD videodisc (1 hr., 26 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N92 N35 2000 VideoDVD : Twenty-something Cicely has a lot to work through. She's estranged from her mother, a Blaxploitation film star. Videos of her mother's nude scenes disgust Cece now and remind her of when her mother worked long hours and left her in the care of a boyfriend who sexually abused the pre-teen child. Cece's battled her weight for ten years, losing 57 pounds. An old boyfriend, Joel, casts her in a film he's directing for a tyrannical writer-producer who expects Cece to play nude scenes as an artist's model. She refuses to disrobe, not only for the film, but also with Joel in the privacy of their rekindled romance and with women in a sauna. Can she find the calm and will to disclose herself?  Want more info?  See Internet Movie Database.

Native Son (1951) / adapted from the novel by Richard Wright ; produced by James Prades ; directed by Pierre Chenal ; released through Classic Pictures, Inc.  [S.l. : s.n., 198-?]  1 VHS videocassette (98 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in. PS3545.R815 N3 1980z Videocassette : Adaptation of the classic novel by Richard Wright. Set in Chicago, Native son tells the story of Bigger Thomas, a young black man who accidentally murders his employer's daughter while performing his duties as chauffeur. The combined forces of institutional racism and condescending white liberalism pursue Thomas to an unhappy end. The author plays the leading role in this film version.  Cast : Richard Wright (Bigger Thomas), Jean Wallace (Mary Dalton), Gloria Madison (Bessie Mears), Nicholas Joy (Mr. Dalton).  Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series.

The Negotiator  / Regency Enterprises presents a Mandeville Films/New Regency production ; an F. Gary Gray film ; written by James DeMonaco & Kevin Fox ; produced by David Hoberman and Arnon Milchan ; directed by F. Gary Gray.  Burbank, Calif. : Warner Home Video, c1999.  1 VHS  videocassette (140 min.) : sd., col ; 1/2 in. PN1997 .N446 1999 Videocassette : In a desperate attempt to prove his innocence, a skilled police negotiator accused of corruption and murder takes hostages in a government office to gain the time he needs to find the truth. Cast : Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, David Morse, Ron Rifkin, John Spencer, J.T. Walsh.

New Jack City (1991) / Warner Bros. presents a Jackson/McHenry production ; screenplay by Thomas Lee Wright and Barry Michael Cooper ; produced by Doug McHenry and George Jackson ; directed by Mario Van Peebles.  Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, [2005]  2 DVD videodiscs (101 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in  PN1995.9.D78 N49 2005 VideoDVD  1-2 : Some pundits called it a flawed, exploitative action film that glamorized drug dealing and the luxury of a lucrative criminal lifestyle, spawning a trend of films that attracted youth gangs and provoked violence in theaters. Others hailed it as a breakthrough movie that depicted drug dealers as ruthless, corrupt, and evil, leading dead-end lives that no rational youth would want to emulate. However you interpret it, New Jack City is still one of the first and best films of the 1990s to crack open the underworld of cocaine and peer inside with its eyes wide open. It's also the film that established Wesley Snipes as an actor to watch, with enough charisma to bring an insidious quality of seduction to his role as coke-lord Nino Brown, and enough intelligence to portray a character deluded by his own sense of indestructible power. Director Mario Van Peebles stretched his otherwise-limited talent to bring vivid authenticity and urgency to this crime story, and subplots involving a pair of tenacious cops (Ice-T, Judd Nelson) and a recovering coke addict (Chris Rock) provide additional dramatic tension. Although some critics may hesitate to admit it, New Jack City deserves mention in any serious discussion about African American filmmakers and influential films....Just as cool and topical today as when it first opened, New Jack City stars Wesley Snipes as the angel-of-death crack kingpin who holds a city in his grasp. Ice T, Judd Nelson and Mario Van Peebles (who also directs) play police officers who lay it all on the line. Chris Rock and Vanessa Williams co-star. A dynamic cutting-edge soundtrack includes tunes by Ice T, Queen Latifah, 2 Live Crew and more.

Newlyweeds / Phase 4 Films presents a Tin Or W Production in association with 10th Hole Productions; produced by Jim Wareck, Michael Matthews, Shaka King, Gbenga Akinnagbe; screenplay by Shaka King; directed by Shaka King.  Fort Mill, South Carolina : Phase 4 Films, [2013?]   1 DVD videodisc (87 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.M27 N49 2013 VideoDVD  :  A Brooklyn repo-man and his globetrotting girlfriend forge an unlikely romance. But what should be a match made in stoner heaven turns into a love triangle gone awry in this dark comedy that is part ballad of chemical dependency, part coming-of-age romance, part hallucinatory adventure.

Night Catches Us (2010) / Magnolia Pictures presents a Simonsays Entertainment production in association with Gigantic Pictures ; producer, Sean Costello, Jason Orans ; produced by Ron Simons ; written and directed by Tanya Hamilton.  New York, NY : Magnolia Home Entertainment, c2011.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 90 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.R23 N544 2011 VideoDVD :  Set in 70s Philadelphia. After years away, an ex-black panther returns to his old neighborhood only to find himself drawn right back into the rivalries and love affair he left behind. Music by the Roots.

Nightjohn (1996) / Hallmark Entertainment ; Sarabande Productions in association with the Disney Channel ; produced by Dennis Stuart Murphy ; directed by Charles Burnett ; teleplay by Bill Cain.  [United States] : Echo Bridge Home Entertainment, c2005.  1 DVD videodisc (96 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.S557 N54 2008 VideoDVD : Sarny (Allison Jones) is born into slavery and separated from her mother at an early age. She's raised by Dealey (Lorraine Toussaint), who promises early on that "nuthin' too bad" will happen to her young charge. Clel Waller (Beau Bridges), who owns the plantation, is a cruel man, who sees the slaves only in terms of their monetary value. Life on the plantation changes when Clel buys Nightjohn (Carl Lumbly), a hulk of a man, with scars across his back from the whip. Branded as a troublemaker, Nightjohn has trouble earning the trust of the other slaves. But one night when their work is done, he offers to make a trade with Sarny to get some tobacco. In exchange, he begins to teach her the alphabet. Sarny is fascinated and takes to learning with passion, but when the other slaves find out, they are afraid. Old Man (Bill Cobbs) shows Nightjohn how he's been punished for his own literacy; his thumb and forefinger have been chopped off. But Nightjohn explains that he gave up a chance to escape to the North so that he could teach. "Words are freedom, Old Man," he explains. "That's all slavery is: words." Sarny reads the love letters that she delivers from Clel's wife (Kathleen York) to an educated doctor who lives nearby, and she reads Clel's ledger, in which he lists the monetary value of all the slaves. She soon learns that knowledge, for all its dangers, brings a certain power. Nightjohn was directed by venerated independent filmmaker Charles Burnett (To Sleep With Anger) for the Disney Channel. It's based on the young adult novel by Gary Paulsen.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Nothing but a Man (1964)   / produced by Robert Young, Michael Roemer and Robert Rubin ; written by Robert Young and Micheal Roemer ; directed by Michael Roemer.  Burlington, VT : New Video NYC ; New York, NY : Distributed by New Video, [2004]  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 92 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 N67 2004 VideoDVD : Set against the stirrings of the civil rights movement and a rising wave of burgeoning Black pride. This tells the story of Duff, a railroad section hand who is forced to confront racial prejudice and self-denial when he falls in love with Josie, an educated preacher's daughter. An uplifting story about a man and a woman whose love overcomes racial and class barriers.  Cast : Ivan Dixon, Abbey Lincoln, Gloria Foster, Julius Harris, Yaphet Kotto.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Notorious (2008) / Beverly Hills, Ca. : Twentieth Century Fox, 2009.  1 DVD videodisc (122 minutes) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.   ML420.N76 N76 2009 VideoDVD : Chronicling the extraordinary life of Christopher 'The Notorious B.I.G.' Wallace. Through raw talent and sheer determination, Biggie transforms himself from a Brooklyn street hustler (once selling crack to a pregnant woman) to superstardom. He has to juggle the increasing demands of fatherhood, marriage, and a music career that is strife with chaos and controversy. On March 8, 1997, in Los Angeles, a black Chevy Impala pulls up along Biggie's car and fires several shots at Biggie, killing him. He had become one of the greatest rappers of all time.... In music terms, Brooklyn's Christopher "Biggie Smalls" Wallace was a hip-hop superstar to rival Oakland's Tupac Shakur. In movie terms, however, 2Pac has long overshadowed B.I.G. with the films he made as an actor and the documentaries that followed in the wake of his similarly-unsolved murder. George Tillman Jr. aims to correct that imbalance with Notorious, the authorized biography of the larger-than-life New York rapper. Produced by his mother, Voletta Wallace (played by Angela Bassett), and record producer Sean "Puffy" Combs (Derek Luke), Tillman presents Biggie as a bright child who grew up to be a drug dealer before finding his true calling on stage, only to be cut down in the prime of life. In his feature-film debut, Jamal "Gravy" Woolard captures Biggie's complexity--the loyalty to his crew, the disloyalty to his ladies (including Lil' Kim and Faith Evans)--but struggles to make him as sympathetic as the figure that emerges in Nick Broomfield's Biggie & Tupac, simply because the script relies too heavily on the usual musical-bio clichés. Fortunately, several bright spots elevate the scenario, such as Anthony Mackie as Pac, Christopher Wallace Jr. as young Biggie, and Woolard's rapping, which segues seamlessly into B.I.G.'s (the soundtrack mixes original tracks with remakes). If Notorious isn't a failure, it isn't a triumph either, but Tillman has crafted it with love and respect, and only a stone could remain unmoved by the real-life funeral footage at the end.

The Old Settler (2001)  Streaming video via YouTube.  87 minutes : The Harlem Renaissance of the 1940s serves as the backdrop for this small-screen adaptation of John Henry Redwood's play as directed by Debbie Allen. The aptly-named Husband (Bumper Robinson) has come to New York City from down South to find his old flame Lou Bessie (Crystal R. Fox), who has thrown off the shackles of her old life in favor of the pace and excitement of the city. Needing a place to stay, Husband boards with Elizabeth (Phylicia Rashad) and Quilly (Allen), two sisters from the South with family trauma in their past. As he realizes that Lou Bessie no longer has any use for her old life, Husband starts up a May-December romance with Elizabeth, much to the consternation of Quilly. The Old Settler was brought to director Allen's attention by her sister Rashad, who optioned the play and signed on as executive producer.

Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored (1995)  / Republic Pictures ; directed and produced by Tim Reid.  [Los Angeles] : Republic Pictures ; [s.l.] : distributed by Artisan Entertainment, 1998, c1995.  1 DVD videodisc (113 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  F349.G54 T38 1998 VideoDVD : Tells the story of growing up in the segregation-era South, in a community that faced adversity and held together with amazing dignity and grace.  Cast : Al Freeman Jr., Phylicia Rashad, Leon.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Open the Door Richard (1945) (10 mins.)   Streaming video via Matinee Classics.  :  Directed by William Forest Crouch. Cast: Dusty Fletcher and Stepin Fetchit. A musical switching back and forth between Stepin Fetchit laying in bed at home and a jazz band playing swing music for the film.

Oscar Hammerstein's Carmen Jones (1954) / Oscar Preminger presents ; screenplay by Harry Kleiner ; produced and directed by Otto Preminger. Beverly Hills, Calif : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, [2001]  1 DVD videodisc (105 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.M86 O83 2001VideoDVD :  Joe, a military policeman about to make officer, is infatuated with the flirtatious and sexy Carmen Jones. Their ill-fated romance comes to a grisly end by the conclusion of the drama but not before their liaison has wreaked havoc with their lives and all who cross their paths.  Cast - Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge, Pearl Bailey, Olga James, Joe Adams, Diahann Carroll, Brock Peters.

Oscar Michaux's Ten Minutes To Live (1932)  / [presented by] A. Burton Russell ; adaptation, dialogue and direction by Oscar Michaux.  [Burbank, Calif. : Hollywood's Attic, 1996].  1 VHS videocassette (60 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.N4 T46 1996 Videocassette : A mystery-musical built around a threatening note which gives the heroine who sings and dances in a Harlem nightclub only "ten minutes to live." There is much nightclub entertainment as the mystery unravels with song and dance numbers and a stand up comedy routine. Based on three short stories from the book Harlem after midnight. Cast: Lawrence Chenault, A.B. Comathiere, Laura Bowman, Willor Lee Guilford, Tressie Mitchell, Mabel Garrett. Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series.

Out of Time (2003) / directed by Carl Franklin ; written by David Collard.   Santa Monica, CA : MGM Home Entertainment, 2004.  1 DVD videodisc (105 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.A3 O98 2004 VideoDVD : Partly inspired by 1948's The Big Clock and its nominal 1987 remake No Way Out, the Denzel Washington thriller Out of Time is quite enjoyable if you ignore its implausible plotting. Like those earlier films, this reunion of Washington and his Devil in a Blue Dress director Carl Franklin is about a man--in this case the police chief (Washington) of sleepy Banyan Key, Florida--who falls into a trap set by others, sinks into legal quicksand of his own making, and must race the clock to extricate himself from a series of incriminating setbacks. The Florida setting adds welcome character to the potboiler plot, and Washington's screen-cred makes it easy to overlook the absurdities of rookie writer David Collard's screenplay. Eva Mendes is sharp and sensible as Washington's estranged wife (do you think they'll reconcile for a happy ending?), and the talented John Billingsley--whose portrayal of "Dr. Phlox" on TV's Enterprise is vastly underrated--is a constant delight as Washington's medical examiner, beer buddy and wily co-conspirator. It's hardly a classic, but Out of Time goes well with a big tub of popcorn.

Selected Feature Films, P-Q

All African American feature films, either featuring African American studies themes or African American actors,  are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.  Movies can be checked out unless reserved for a class.

Paradise in Harlem (1939) / [presented by] Jubilee Pictures Corporation.  North Hollywood, CA : Hollywood Select Video : Timeless Video [distributor], c c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 70 min)  PN1995.9.N4 P37 1993 Videocassette : Paradise in Harlem (1939) is a classic movie directed by Joseph Seiden, and starring Mamie Smith; Norman Astwood; Edna Mae Harris. It is widely considered to be one of the top 100 greatest classic films of all time.  Plot : Between swing and blues musical numbers, the story of comedian Lem Anderson, whose long-awaited chance to act dramatically vanishes when he witnesses a mob killing and is forced to leave town. Lem becomes a wanderer, then an alcoholic. Finally a chance to play Othello draws him back to Harlem. Is it too late for Ned? Or too soon to suit Rough Jackson's mobsters? Melodramatic events lead to an unusual conclusion.

Paris Blues (1961) Steaming video from YouTube.  94 minutes : The music of Duke Ellington is given a film treatment by Martin Ritt with Paul Newman (of all people) as the trombone playing composer, Sidney Poitier as his best friend/sax player, Joanne Woodward as Newman's love interest, Dianne Carroll as the conscious black chick for Poitier and (thank heavens) Louis Armstrong as himself. There are also a couple of good supporting performances from Barbara Laage (as Marie Séoul) and André Luguet (as René Bernard).

Paul Mooney  : know Your History : Jesus was Black, So was Cleopatra / QD3 Entertainment, Inc. ; directors, Bart Phillips, Jonathan X ; producers, Shane Mooney,KMalik Levy, D'Angela Steed.  [Chatsworth, Calif.] : Image Entertainment, [2007]  86 minutes.  PN1969.C65 M66 P38 2007 VideoDVD : Few comedians can stir up controversy like the legendary Paul Mooney -- writer for Richard Pryor, creator of In Living Color's Homey the Clown and featured guest on Chappelle's Show. With his characteristic brutal honesty, Mooney passionately and hysterically charges into the electrified currents of racial tension. In this magnificent standup performance at Hollywood's Laugh Factory, Mooney earns a standing ovation with his relentless no-holds-barred observations on black history, stereotypes and prejudices, living in White America, celebrity divas and much, much more!

Paul Robeson  : Portraits of the Artist.  [Irvington, NY] : Criterion Collection, c2007.  4 DVD videodiscs (ca. 586 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 booklet (76 p., ill.) E185.97.R63 P383 2007 VideoDVD  Disc 1-4 & Booklet : A collection of feature films (1925-1979) that starred Paul Robeson, plus one short documentary narrated by Sidney Poitier. [Disc 1] Icon. The Emperor Jones (1933, 76 min., directed by Dudley Murphy) ; Paul Robeson: Tribute to an artist (1979, 29 min., directed by Saul J. Turell) -- [Disc 2] Outsider. Body and soul (1925, 79 min., directed by Oscar Micheaux) ; Borderline (1930, 75 min., directed by Kenneth Macpherson) -- [Disc 3] Pioneer. Sanders of the river (1935, 87 min., directed by Zoltan Korda) ; Jericho (1937, 75 min., directed by Thornton Freeland) -- [Disc 4] Citizen of the world. The proud valley (1940, 77 min., directed by Pen Tennyson) ; Native land (1942, 88 min., directed by Leo Hurwitz and Paul Strand)  Special features include: audio commentaries by historians Jeffrey C. Stewart (The Emperor Jones) and Pearl Bowser (Body and Soul) ; musical scores by Wyclife Gordon (Body and Soul) and Courtney Pine (Borderline) ; Pacifica Radio interview with Paul Robeson from 1958 ; four new video programs, featuring actors Ruby Dee and James Earl Jones, filmmaker William Greaves, cinematographer Tom Hurwitz, Paul Robeson Jr., and film historians Ian Christie and Stephen Bourne, and including clips from throughout Robeson's film career.  Also available as part of the ROVI Film Collection CQ7 D0081923 VideoDVD  discs 1-4

The Pelican Brief (1993)  / Warner Bros. presents ; an Alan J. Pakula film ; screenplay by Alan J. Pakula ; produced by Alan J. Pakula and Pieter Jan Brugge ; directed by Alan J. PakulaWarner Home Video, c1994.  1 VHS videocassette (141 min.)  PN1997 .P447 1994 Videocassette : A young law student (Julia Roberts) stumbles across the unlikely explanation for the recent assassination of two Supreme Court justices, which reaches to the highest levels of the government.  This John Grisham adaptation is fairly faithful to the best-selling novel, but the book's interracial romance between Shaw and Grantham was left out of the script (or at least the finished product), leaving many progressive viewers annoyed at Hollywood's conservatism. Features Denzel Washington as a Washington investigative reporter.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Philadelphia (1993)  / TriStar Pictures presents a Clinica Estetico Production ; a Jonathan Demme picture ; written by Ron Nyswaner ; produced by Edward Saxon and Jonathan Demme ; directed by Jonathan DemmeColumbia TriStar Home Video, 1994.  1 VHS videocassette (125 min.)  PN1995.9.A434 P47 1994 Videocassette : Powerful story of two lawyers who join together to sue a prestigious Philadelphia law firm when the firm fires one of them because he has AIDS.  Features Denzel Washington.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Piano Lesson (1995) / Craig Anderson Productions, Inc. in association with Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions ; produced by August Wilson ; teleplay by August Wilson ; based on the play by August Wilson ; directed by Lloyd Richards.  [S.l.] : Hallmark Home Entertainment, 2006.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 98 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PS3573.I45677 P546 2006 VideoDVD  : Winner of the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, August Wilson's lively domestic drama focuses on a black family in the 1930s and their piano, which dominates the living room of Doaker Charles and his niece Berniece in Pittsburgh. The piano is adorned with the faces of their slave ancestors, carved by a distant relation who was owned by the Sutter family in Mississippi before Emancipation. Berniece's brother Boy Willie, recently released from a prison farm, has come to Pittsburgh from Mississippi with his friend Lymon, determined to sell this ancient piano in which he claims half-ownership....Charles Dutton, as Boy Willie, Berniece's brother, endows his role with a humor and good-naturedness not obvious from a reading of the play, and his passion to use the money from the sale of the piano to buy a hundred acres of Sutter farmland, which his slave ancestors once worked, is palpable. Courtney B., as Boy Willie's friend Lymon, is credulous and innocent as he explores the city, responding to its differences from the life on the farm, and bringing Berniece (Alfre Woodard) out of the grief she has borne since the shooting death of her husband three years before. Woodard herself is a fierce Berniece, protective of her young daughter and determined to preserve the piano and its heritage....Directed by Lloyd Richards for the Hallmark Hall of Fame in 1995, the screenplay was adapted by August Wilson from his own play. A bit shorter than the original, with offensive expletives omitted for television, the script remains close to the original. When Sutter's ghost makes several appearances, the superstitions and folklore which have been part of the family's culture become both real and violent, and when Willie Boy, Lymon, Wining Boy (his gambler uncle, played by Lou Meyers), and uncle Doaker (Carl Gordon) sing, on several occasions, the viewer is reminded of the role of spirituals in black culture, their unifying spirit, and the dignity they inspired....The appearances of Sutter's ghost and Boy Willie's battle with him create a sense of melodrama in this otherwise thoughtful battle between the reverence for the past (as seen in Berniece) and the hopes for the future (as seen in Boy Willie). As a record of the era in which many blacks left the farms for the opportunities of the city, however, the play is unparalleled in its insights. Source : Separate Cinema.

Pinky (1949) / Twentieth Century Fox ; producer, Darryl F. Zanuck ; director, Elia Kazan, screenplay by Philip Dunne and Dudley Nichols.  Beverly Hills, Ca. : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2005 . 1 DVD videodisc (102 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.N4 P56 2005 VideoDVD : The years following the Second World War continued the impetus for integration and ushered in other social changes, including the development of a black middle class and a dramatic increase in the number of black workers, especially professionals. Hollywood, too, reacted to the public’s growing cultural and racial awareness by launching an era of “problem” or “message” movies that highlighted black family and social issues. One of the most innovative and liberal of these was Pinky, directed by Elia Kazan and based on the novel Quality by white novelist Cid Ricketts Sumner. In the film, Pinky, a fair-skinned nurse who has been passing for white in the North, returns for a visit to the Deep South, where her hardworking Christian grandmother Dicey Johnson (played by the incomparable Ethel Waters) teaches her vital lessons about self-respect. Dicey, whose meager wages as a laundress paid for her granddaughter’s education, encourages Pinky to stop “pretending you is what you ain’t.” Drawing on her grandmother’s example, Pinky wins the right to retain the home bequeathed to her by Dicey’s white employer, Miss Em (Ethel Barrymore), decides to stay in the South, and turns the property into a black nursing clinic and nursery school. She also finds the courage to break up with her white fiancé, who is willing to marry her only if she maintains the “secret” of her race, and to assert proudly her black identity. Despite its compromises -- including the happy Hollywood ending, which was a significant departure from the book, and the casting of white actress Jeanne Crain to play the title role -- Pinky was noteworthy for its ambitious attempt to depict the nature and extent of racial inequality and the depth of the loving bonds that sustain the black family, through even the most troubling of times. For her brilliant performance as the illiterate but dignified old laundress Aunt Dicey, Ethel Waters was nominated for an Academy Award (only the second black performer in cinema history to receive an Oscar nomination). Source : Separate Cinema ...Interestingly enought, this movie about a mulatto woman's rights against prejudice, became itself, a battle for civil rights and was the subject of a landmark Supreme Court case in film censorship.  Also available in VHS format.

The Players Club (1998) / New Line Cinema presents an Ice Club/Pat Charbonnet Production[S.l.] : New Line Home Video : Image Entertainment [distributor], c1998.  1 videodisc (103 min.)  Extended play (CLV) laserdisc. PN1995.9.N4 P55 1998 Video (12 inch) disc : For gorgeous and smart Diana there is no choice but to work her way through college. It is difficult to resist the money that the club owner of the Players Club offers her to strip. She avoids the pitfalls of dancing by trusting no one except the respectable and funny DJ. But her naïve cousin joins the club and gets into all sorts of trouble. Diana has to figure a way out for both of them before they go down with the building.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Poetic justice  : a street romance (1993) / Columbia TriStar Home Video ; Columbia Pictures presents a New Deal/Nickel Production ; a film by John Singleton.   [United States] : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, c2005.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 109 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.M27 P648 2005 VideoDVD : Director John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood, Rosewood) made an earnest effort in this, his second, film to say a great deal that is true and relevant about living and loving in a violent, difficult time in American history. Janet Jackson plays a beautician and poet who withdraws into herself after her boyfriend is murdered by gangsters. The late Tupac Shakur plays a postman who tries to get through to her, and the two travel on a course through urban America, connecting with family and community. Singleton has so much on his mind that the film comes out a terrible muddle, but there is a certain integrity peeking through the fog. Shakur makes a startlingly good impression in his film debut, and Jackson strips away her star veneer to play something like a real person--and entirely succeeds. Maya Angelou wrote the poems that pass as those penned by Jackson's character, and she also appears in the film.

Preacher's Kid (2009) / Warner Premiere presents in association with Gener8Xion Entertainment, an Epidemic Pictures/Stan Foster Pictures production ; produced by Darryl Taja, Matthew Crouch, Stan Foster ; written and directed by Stan Foster.  Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, [2010]  1 DVD videodisc (110 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.M27 P743 2010 VideoDVD :  Family, faith, and music" are the unifying themes in Preacher's Kid, a film that manages to both embrace and transcend formula and predictability while delivering an inspirational message about parents' obligation to let their kids lead their own lives and learn their own lessons, even if the education comes at the school of hard knocks. Former Destiny's Child member LeToya Luckett is Angie King, featured singer at a church presided over by her father (Gregory Alan Williams), a bishop and well-meaning but clueless widower who treats his adult daughter as if she were still a child. Angie's already chafing under his iron hand when a traveling gospel musical comes to town; uplifted by the music and infatuated with the show's sexy, charismatic star (Durrell "Tank" Babbs), she joins the cast and hits the road, despite her father's dire warning about the consequences of what he regards as a betrayal. One needn't be a psychic to foresee much of what happens after that, as the filmmaking isn't exactly subtle; the musical is entitled "Daddy, Can I Come Back Home?" while the Babbs character, who turns out to be a very bad dude, is named "Devlin" (get it?). But while there are abundant clichés (including the good man Angie leaves behind, her steady descent into sin, and various stereotypical characters), Preacher's Kid isn't nearly as soft as it might have been, earning its PG-13 rating with some profanity and scenes (none of them very graphic) of drinking, drugging, and domestic violence. What's more, the cast is fine and the music is good (Luckett is a powerful and convincing singer), and it's tough to find fault with a largely wholesome and uplifting piece of entertainment in which the faithful ultimately prosper, the truly sinful get their rightful comeuppance, and a profound question--Is it possible to love yourself and God?--is addressed with dignity and humility.

Precious (based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire)  (2009) / Lee Daniels Entertainment ; in association with Smokewood Entertainment Group ; produced by Lee Daniels, Gary Magness, Sarah Siegel-Magness ; screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher ; directed by Lee Daniels.  Santa Monica, Calif. : Lionsgate, [2010]  1 DVD videodisc (109 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997.2 .P74 2010 VideoDVD : Few films have painted a grimmer portrait of poverty, abuse, and despair than Precious: Based on the NovelPush”by Sapphire.. At the same time, few films have offered a more welcome message of hope. Claireece Precious Jones (played by Gabourey Sidibe, in an stunning film debut) is an illiterate, morbidly obese, sixteen-year-old junior-high-school student living in the squalor of Harlem in 1987. Pregnant with her second child, she is already mother to a disabled baby she calls “Mongo” (short for Mongoloid). Both children are the result of repeated rapes by her father, a figure who -- except for a few scenes in flashback -- is largely absent from the film. Her mother (Mo’Nique) provides little support or balance: jealous of Precious for “stealing” the attentions of her man, she abuses her daughter emotionally and sexually and strips her of all sense of self-worth. It is no wonder that, despite her immense size, Precious feels invisible to everyone around her. To cope with the indescribable misery of her real life, she creates an elaborate fantasy world into which she escapes, a world in which she imagines herself as a black celebrity with a light-skinned boyfriend, an adorable little dog, and a fabulous wardrobe, or as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed white girl. Eventually, though, Precious learns to rely on a cadre of women who become her surrogate mothers, especially Blue Rain (Paula Patton), the teacher at her alternative school who takes a genuine interest in her and encourages her to pursue her talents. The performances by Oscar-nominated lead actress Sidibe, supporting actress Mo’Nique (who earned virtually all of the year’s most coveted awards, including the Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild Award, and the Academy Award), and the entire ensemble cast were remarkable. Consequently, Precious deftly managed to challenge the cinematic clichés of the uneducated teenage mother, lazy welfare queen, selfless teacher, and overworked social worker to present a raw inner-city saga of transformation and triumph that cannot easily be forgotten. Directed by Lee Daniels, the producer of Monster’s Ball (the film for which Halle Berry won a Best Actress Oscar in 2002) and only the second black director in Academy Award history to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar, the film was executive-produced by the industry powerhouses Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. Reviewers uniformly praised Precious, calling it a poignant and shocking near-Gothic story of a child tormented by the cruelty of adults and “a genuine work of art” determined to challenge its audience’s complacency. Moreover, its graphic and painfully honest portrayal of a young woman’s exploitation and abandonment confirms just how much black representation, especially the depiction of the black family, has evolved over more than a century of film. Source : Separate Cinema ... Cast : Mo'nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe, Sherri Shepherd.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.  

Princesse Tam Tam (1935)  / Dicimo ; Arys Production ; réalisation de Edmond T. Greville ; dialogues de Yves Mirande ; scénario et direction artistique, Pepito Abatino ; directeur de la production, Arys NissottiNew York, N.Y. : Kino on Video, c1989.  1 VHS videocassette (80 min.)  PN1995.9.F67 P75 1989 Videocassette : An exotic Pygmalion-like musical comedy about a French author who goes to North Africa to write a novel but becomes distracted--then entranced--by a native girl whom he transforms into a "princess."  Features Josephine Baker.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Proud  / Castle Hill Productions and T.H. Entertainment present a film by Mary Pat Kelly ; produced by Ally Hilfiger ; written and directed by Mary Pat Kelly.  Santa Monica, Calif. : Lions Gate Home Entertainment, [2006].  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 87 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. D743.23 .P7683 2006 VideoDVD : The inspirational tale of the USS Mason comes to the screen in a dramatic account of the perils faced by the all-African-American-crewed World War II sea vessel, and the brave souls who cheated death to overcome the cancerous racism eroding the very shores they fought for. From the very onset of their mission, the men aboard the USS Mason knew they had little chance of returning from their mission alive. Return they did, though, and after a harrowing journey through some of the most treacherous international waters of the war years, the remarkable crew of the USS Mason proved without question that they could stand tall and fight fiercely alongside soldiers of all races and backgrounds.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Proud Valley (1940)   / Capad ; directed by Pen Tennyson.   North Hollywood, CA : Hollywood Select Video : Distributed by Timeless Video Inc., c1994.  1 VHS videocassette (77 min.) PN1995.9.N4 P75 1994 Videocassette  : The Proud Valley (1940), Paul Robeson stars as David Goliath, a young man with a beautiful singing voice who is called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice when disaster threatens the pit in his Welsh coal mining community.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Pulp Fiction (1994)  / Miramax Films presents a Band Apart and Jersey Films production ; stories by Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary ; produced by Lawrence Bender ; written and directed by Quentin TarantinoMiramax Home Entertainment ; Burbank, Calif. : Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, [1998?]  1 DVD videodisc (154 min.)  PN1995.9.F54 P853 1998 VideoDVD : Clever, dark film that tells 4 separate stories that are gradually brought together. Involved are two low-rent hit men, their boss and his sexy wife, a prizefighter and a pair of desperate robbers.  Features Samuel L. Jackson.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Pulp Fiction [laserdisc] / Miramax Films presents a Band Apart and Jersey Films production ; a film by Quentin Tarantino.   Miramax Home Entertainment, 1994.  2 12-inch laserdiscs (154 min.) PN1995.9.F54 P853 1994 Video (12 inch)  : Clever, dark film that tells 4 separate stories that are gradually brought together. Involved are two low-rent hit men, their boss and his sexy wife, a prizefighter and a pair of desperate robbers.

Purlie Victorious (1963)  / Rainbow Films Holdings, LLC. ; directed by Nicholas WebsterOrland Park, IL : MPI Home Video, [2006].  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 100 min.) : sd., b&w. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.N4 P87 2006 VideoDVD  : This film version of the successful stage play was written by and stars Ossie Davis as Purlie Victorious, a flamboyant, self ordained minister. Along with wife Lutibelle (Ruby Dee), he returns to Georgia to buy an old barn and convert it into a church. He seeks out Captain Cotchipec (Sorrel Booke), the aging plantation owner entrusted with a $500 inheritance left by the preacher's sister after her death. Lutibelle is talked into posing as a long-lost cousin to get the money quickly from the dying landowner. Comedian Godfrey Cambridge reprises his stage role as the black plantation straw boss who pays lip service in the presence of the Captain but mercilessly mock the old man behind his back. Lutibelle gets the money from the old man with the help of his sympathetic son Charlie (Alan Alda), who is as liberal and progressive as his father is racially intolerant.. Religious hypocrisy, racial bigotry, civil rights issues and the changing Southern society backed by forced integration are subjects in this film that coincided with the turbulent social issues of the time. The title is taken from the first line of Stephen Foster's sentimental classic "Old Black Joe." The film was released nearly one hundred years after the famous songwriter's death. Produced and directed by Nicholas Webster, most of the actors reprised their roles from the original stage production.

The Pursuit of Happyness (2007)  / Overbrook Entertainment ; Escape Artists ; Columbia Pictures Corporation ; Relativity Media ; produced by Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, James Lassiter, Will Smith, Steve Tisch, Teddy Zee ; written by Steven Conrad ; directed by Gabriele Muccino. Culver City, Calif. : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2007.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 117 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.B55 P877 2007 VideoDVD : Among the most common cinematic stereotypes of the contemporary black family is the character of the black father. At worst, he is portrayed as violent, abusive, even incestuous; at best, he is absent or detached. But The Pursuit of Happyness, based on the life of Chris Gardner, reverses that familiar formula. As the film opens, Gardner is a struggling San Francisco salesman who has invested most of his money in a portable bone density scanning machine that he tries to peddle to local doctors. But the machine proves unnecessary, overpriced, and defective. Unable to support his family from its sales, Gardner loses his home, his bank acount, his credit cards, and his marriage. Yet even after his wife moves to New York and leaves him to fend as a single father to their five-year-old son, he refuses to give up hope for a better life. When he wins a prestigious internship at the Dean Witter brokerage house, he believes that his luck has finally changed. But the internship is unpaid, and without any income to sustain them, Gardner and his son are forced to seek out beds at city shelters or sleep in the public bathrooms of bus and train stations. Motivated by the affection and the trust his son has placed in him, however, Gardner remains committed to achieving his dream. Overcoming many obstacles, he successfully completes the internship and earns a coveted position as a stockbroker. The role of Gardner presented a real challenge, and the wrong actor might have played it too broadly. But Will Smith brought precisely the right amount of gravity, humor, and intelligence -- although Jaden Smith (real-life son of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith), making his film debut as young Christopher, almost steals the movie from his father. The Horatio-Alger aspect of the story clearly added to the film’s appeal: Gardner’s triumph is ultimately a personal one, unencumbered by social or political context. But it is the heartwarming relationship between a single father and his son that gave The Pursuit of Happyness its special poignancy. Source : Separate Cinema ... 2007 NAACP Image Award winner.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Queen aka Alex Haley's Queen [1993]  / Elliot Friedgen & Company ; The Wolper Organization ; Warner Bros. Television ; produced by Bernard Sofronski ; teleplay by David Stevens ; directed by John Erman. Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, [2008]  2 DVD videodiscs (283 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  E185.97.H24 A3 2008 VideoDVD  discs1-2 : The remarkable history of Alex Haley's paternal side. Queen is the daughter of a slave and a plantation owner. During the turbulent decades of the antebellum South, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and beyond, she searches for a home in the two cultures and at times is shunned by both. Rejection and hate are no match for her unconquerable will.  Cast : Ann-Margret, Halle Berry, Dan Biggers, Patricia Clarkson, Tim Daly, Ossie Davis, Victor Garber, Danny Glover, Tim Guinee, Jasmine Guy, Jane Krakowski, Patrick Malone, Martin Sheen, Madge Sinclair, Paul Winfield.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

The Quiet One (1948) / Film Documents, Inc. ; released by Mayer-Burstyn, Inc. ; produced by Janice Loeb ; directed by Sidney Meyers ; written and edited by Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb, Sidney Meyers. Burbank, Calif. : Hollywood's Attic, c1996.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 66 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in. HV873 .Q854 1996 Videocassette : Filmed on the streets of Harlem in the late 1940's. Film shows the devastating psychological effects of life in the ghetto on a ten year-old boy named Donald. Abandoned by his parents, Donald lives a life of quiet despair until he is sent to Wiltwyck School for Boys for psychiatric care. Cast : Donald Thompson, Clarence Cooper, Sadie Stockton, Estelle Evans, Paul Baucum ; narrated by Gary Merrill.  Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series.

The Quiet One (1948) (65 mins.)   Streaming video via Matinee Classics : Directed by Sidney Meyers.  Cast: Donald Thompson, Clarence Cooper, Sadie Stockton, Estelle Evans and Paul Baucum.  The story of a lonely young boy growing up in Harlem. Using a semi-documentary technique, the film-makers realistically capture the hostile environment which leads the boy to delinquency. The youth is sent to Wiltwyck School for rehabilitation, where a psychiatrist and counselor try to break through the wall of silence which the boy uses to hide his fear and bitterness.

Selected Feature Films, R

All African American feature films, either featuring African American studies themes or African American actors,  are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.  Movies can be checked out unless reserved for a class.

Ragtime (1981)  / Paramount Pictures.  Hollywood, Ca. : Paramount Home Video, c1982. 2 BETA videocassettes (156 min.) PS3554.O3 R32 1982 Beta Videocassette : The lives and passions of a middle class family are interwoven with the scandals and events of a transitional America in 1906.  Features Harold E. Rollins Jr.   Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Ragtime (1981) / Dino De Laurentis presents a Milos Forman film ; a Sunley production ; produced by Dino De Laurentis ; screenplay by Michael Weller ; directed by Milos Forman. Hollywood, Calif. : Paramount, c2004.  1 DVD videodisc (155 min.) : sd., col. : 4 3/4 in.  PS3554.O3 R34 2004 VideoDVD : Fact and fiction intertwine in Milos Forman's colorful kaleidoscope of E.L. Doctorow's sprawling novel of turn-of-the-century America. Anchored in the true story of the murder of architect Stanford White (Norman Mailer) by Harry Thaw (Robert Joy) over the affections of his wife Evelyn Nesbit (Elizabeth McGovern), Forman weaves a portrait of early 1900s America in a tapestry of intertwining fictional tales. The primary thread involves the proud black pianist Coalhouse Walker Jr. (Howard Rollins) and his demand for justice when a racist fireman destroys his automobile, which escalates into a reign of terror by Walker and a band of revolutionaries. A secondary story involves an ambitious immigrant artist (Mandy Patinkin) whose primitive flipbooks send him on the road to creating early cinema. Centering all of these stories in one way or another is an upper-class family known simply as Father (James Olson), Mother (Mary Steenburgen), and Younger Brother (Brad Dourif). James Cagney came out of a twenty-year retirement to play the irascible Irish police commissioner, a character created for the film. Forman's biggest departure from Doctorow's novel, however, is his focus on Walker's story, cutting away the other threads to little more than asides in the final half of the picture, the primary dramatic weakness of an otherwise rich evocation of America's past. Randy Newman's lyrical score and Miroslav Ondricek's understated cinematography earned two of the film's eight Academy Awards nominations

A Raisin in the Sun /  written by Lorraine Hansberry ; a production of Fireside Entertainment Corporation and KCET, Los Angeles in association with WNET, New York ; produced in association with American Playhouse ; NBLA Productions.  Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Monterey Home Video, c1996. 1 VHS videocassette (173 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.   PN1997 .R159 1996 Videocassette   : Film of the award-winning play about a struggling black family living on Chicago's South Side and the impact of an unexpected insurance bequest. Each family member sees the bequest as the means of realizing dreams and of escape from grinding frustrations. 

A Raisin in the Sun  / Columbia Pictures ; producers, David Susskind and Philip Rose ; screenplay writer, Lorraine Hansberry ; director, Daniel Petrie[Culver City, Calif. : Columbia Tristar Home Video, c1999]  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 128 min.)  PN1997 .R159 1999 VideoDVD  (Also available as part of  ROVI Movie Collection  AF6 D0005679 VideoDVD     : Film of the award-winning play about a struggling black family living on Chicago's South Side and the impact of an unexpected insurance bequest. Each family member sees the bequest as the means of realizing dreams and of escape from grinding frustrations.

A Raisin in the Sun  / American Playhouse presents a production of Robert Nemiroff / Jaki Brown / Toni Livingston / Josephine Abady Productions ; produced by Chiz Schultz ; written by Lorraine Hansberry ; directed by Bill Duke.  [United States] : Monterey Media, Inc., [2004], c1988.  1 videodisc (172 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.   ROVI Movie Collection  AF6  AQ6 D0033366 VideoDVD

A Raisin in the Sun  / produced by John M. Eckert ; executive producers, Sean Combs ... [et al.] ; teleplay by Paris Qualles ; directed by Kenny Leon ; Bad Boy Films ; Storyline Entertainment ; Sony Pictures Television.  Culver City, Calif. : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, c2008.  1 videodisc (ca. 131 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.   ROVI Movie Collection    CR1 D0095717 VideoDVD : n African-American family living on the South Side of Chicago comes into a sudden financial windfall, the potential uses of which divides them bitterly.

Ray (2004) / directed by Taylor Hackford ; story by Taylor Hackford and James L. White ; screenplay by James L. White.  Universal City, Calif. : Universal, 2005. 1 DVD videodisc (153 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  ML420.C459 R49 2005 VideoDVD : One of America’s best-loved musicians, the late Ray Charles deserved a big-screen biography that did justice to his incredible life and career -- and he got it, thanks to director Taylor Hackford and star Jamie Foxx. There’s rarely been a biopic that’s done a better job of capturing its subject’s essence, which is why Ray can be forgiven its occasional departures from the historical record. The film doesn’t simply present the hit songs and other professional triumphs, although those are extremely well represented; it delves into the psyche of Ray Charles Robinson, whose destiny was shaped by back-to-back childhood traumas: his brother’s accidental death by drowning, which Ray witnessed; and his sudden descent into blindness a few years later. Driven by his poor but proud mother to succeed despite his handicap, the boy gets an education and becomes a talented musician who eventually carves out an amazing career. Hackford faithfully illuminates scripter James L. White’s biographical narrative, which posits that Ray’s subsequent excesses, including heroin addiction and marital infidelity, sprang from the tremendous guilt he felt for not saving his brother’s life. The film also depicts the difficulty a black musician had in playing white towns during the latter days of the Jim Crow era, which Charles helped end by flexing his increasing cultural muscle. Hackford does not skimp, though, on depicting the spectacular successes that elevated Charles to iconic status, first as a rhythm-and-blues star and then as an innovator who fused R&B and gospel music into soul. The film ends in 1966, but it features many of the songs for which Charles was best known, including “What’d I Say” and “Georgia on My Mind.” Although he’s lip-syncing to the Charles vocal tracks, Foxx perfectly replicates the musician’s stage manner and body language: You’ll swear you’re watching the genuine article in action. Very nearly as good are Kerry Washington as Ray’s long-suffering wife, Della Bea; Regina King as his backup singer and lover Margie Hendricks; Clifton Powell as close friend and business associate Jeff Brown; Curtis Armstrong as record producer Ahmet Ertegun; and Larenz Tate as the young Quincy Jones. The movie doesn’t spare Ray by glossing over his most egregious failings, but it reaches an uplifting climax by showing his recovery from heroin addiction and, more important, his unburdening of the guilt he had long shouldered over his brother’s death. Extraordinarily moving and ultimately inspiring, Ray is among the very best films of this type Hollywood has ever turned out. 2005 Image Award winner.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Red Tails / Twentieth Century Fox presents a Lucasfilm Ltd. production ; produced by Rick McCallum and Charles Floyd Johnson ; screenplay by John Ridley and Aaron McGruder ; directed by Anthony Hemingway. Beverly Hills, CA : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, c2012.   1 Blu-ray disc (125 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 DVD ; 4 3/4 in.  D743.23 .R43 2012 Blu-ray & VideoDVD discs 1-2 : Academy Awardr Winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and Academy Awardr Nominee Terrence Howard lead a powerful ensemble cast in this high-flying epic inspired by the real-life adventures of the first African-American combat unit to serve in World War II. Italy, 1944. As the war takes its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen are finally given the chance to prove themselves in the sky...even as they battle discrimination on the ground. Featuring jaw-dropping aerial action and thrilling special effects, Red Tails is a breathtaking tribute to the unsung heroes who rose above extraordinary challenges and ultimately soared into history.  Trailer

The Red Violin (1998)  / a Lion's Gate Films release of a New Line International Channel Four Films Telefilm Canada presentation of a Rhombus Media/Mikado production ; a film by Francois Girard ; produced by Niv FichmanUniversal Studios, 1999.  1 VHS videocassette (132 min.)  PN1997 .R375 1999 Videocassette : An appraiser of rare musical instruments traces the history of a blood-red violin and everyone whose lives it touched.  Features Samuel L. Jackson.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Reet-Petite and Gone (1947) (67 minutes)  Streaming video via Matinee Classics : Directed by William Forest Crouch.  Cast:  Louis Jordan, June Richmond and Milton Wood.  This all African American film stars bandleader Louis Jordan in a dual role as father and son.  Schyler Jarvis, a successful old-time musical star, dies and wishes to leave his fortune to his son, Louis, and Honey, the daughter of his long-lost love.  Henry Talbot, a crooked lawyer, decides to swindle the funds away from the rightful heirs and take the money for himself.  After taking the money, Talbot meets an untimely end and suspicion falls upon Louis as the killer.  Everything works out in the end for this film featuring plenty of music provided by Louis Jordan’s Tympany Five.

Remember the Titans (2000)  / Walt Disney Pictures presents, in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Films, a Technical Black production ; produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Chad Oman ; written by Gregory Allen Howard ; directed by Boaz Yakin. [United States] : Walt Disney Home Entertainment, 2007.  1 Blu-ray DVD videodisc (113 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.S67 R464 2007 Blu-ray VideoDVD : A drama of forced high school integration in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971. After leading his team to fifteen winning seasons, white football coach Bill Yoast is demoted and replaced by African-American Herman Boone, tough, opinionated and as different from Yoast as could be. The two men overcome their differences and turn a group of hostile young men into champions. A rousing celebration of how a town torn apart by resentment, friction and mistrust comes together in triumphant harmony.  Cast : Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Donald Faison, Nicole Ari Parker.  2001 NAACP Image Award winner.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Rhythm and Blues Review (1955) (71 min.)  Streaming video from Internet Archive.  Musical variety show filmed at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York City featuring a cast of popular African-American performers: Willie Bryant, Freddie Robinson, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Faye Adams, Bill Bailey, Herb Jeffries, Amos Milburn, Sarah Vaughan, Nipsey Russell, Big Joe Turner, Martha Davis, Little Buck, Nat 'King' Cole, Mantan Moreland, Cab Calloway and Ruth Brown.  Source : Internet Archive, Feature Film.

Richard Pryor Here and Now (1983)  (1:34 mins).  Streaming Video available from Crackle. : Pryor at his prime! A rare glimpse of a high-voltage comedian in a unique, piercing and incredibly funny performance.

Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip (1982)   (1:21 mins.)  Streaming Video available from Crackle.  : Comedy genius Richard Pryor laughs at the world and his own personal tragedies in this hysterical, yet emotional, concert performance that even made Jessie Jackson bust a gut.

Rising Sun  / Twentieth Century Fox presents a Walrus & Associates, Ltd. production. Beverly Hills, Calif. : FoxVideo, Inc., 1993.  2 DVD videodiscs (ca. 242 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PS3553.R48 R57 2006 VideoDVD   : A Los Angeles cop is called in to investigate the murder of a prostitute in the boardroom of a Japanese-owned company, only to discover a "shadow world" of futuristic technology, ancient ways and confusing loyalties.  Cast : Sean Connery, Wesley Snipes, Harvey Keitel, Tia Carrere, Mako.

River Niger / S.l.] : Passion Productions, distributed by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment, c2002.  1 DVD videodisc (105 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1997 .R584 2002 VideoDVD :  : Blaxploitation films were not the only films to portray the growing sense of black militancy. The River Niger, adapted by Joseph A. Walker from his Tony Award-winning play performed on and off Broadway four years earlier by the Negro Theater Ensemble, drew on the same reactionary, revolutionary fervor that motivated Sweetback, Shaft, Superfly, and other black superheroes of the era. Directed by Krishna Shah, the film depicts a black family at a critical time in their lives: Jeff Williams (Glynn Turman) returns from the Air Force to his home in Los Angeles, where his father Johnny Williams (James Earl Jones), a frustrated philosopher-poet, and his mother Mattie (Cicely Tyson) have planned a celebration in honor of his completion of navigators’ school. In fact, Jeff washed out, because he refused to act the way the white officers expected him to. But he is not the only family member with a secret: Johnny drinks too much, and Mattie has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. As the Williams family unwittingly becomes involved in a crime perpetrated by a gang of Jeff’s old neighborhood pals, Jeff and Johnny become increasingly radicalized. Ultimately, after Johnny is shot protecting the gang members, he turns his sacrifice into a protest of a lifetime of social injustice. Both as family and protest drama, the adaptation was a rather weak version of the play; and it wasted the talents of its excellent cast. Yet although The River Niger received universally poor critical reviews, it managed to hint at an important and recurring theme in contemporary films -- that violence against white institutions may be the only way to counter the violence of white racism. And it revealed the way that the black family, with its hopes and concerns, was a kind of microcosm of society at large. Source : Separate Cinema

Roots aka Alex Haley's Roots (1977)  / a David L. Wolper production ; Warner Bros. Television ; producer, Stan Margulies ; written for television by Wiliam Blinn ... [et al.] ; directed by Marvin J. Chomsky ... [et al.].  [United States] : Warner Home Video, [2001]  3 DVD videodiscs (573 min.)  PQ7297.R74 R3 2002 VideoDVD : An adaptation of Alex Haley's Roots, in which he traces his family's history from the mid-18th century when one of his ancestors was captured and sold into slavery. Follows the struggle for freedom that began with the boys' abduction to America and continues throughout the generations that follow.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Roots, The Next Generations  / a David L. Wolper production in association with Warner Bros. Television ; producer, Stan Margulies ; teleplay by Sydney A. Glass, Ernest Kinoy, Thad Mumford, John McGreevey, Daniel Wilcox ; directed by Georg Stanford Brown, Charles S. Dubin, John Erman, Lloyd Richards.  Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, [2007].  4 DVD videodiscs (688 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PS3558.A3575 R33 2007 VideoDVD  1-4  : The phenomenal success of the 1977 ABC miniseries Roots all but demanded a sequel to writer Alex Haley's epic story of his African and African-American forebears. Debuting February 18, 1979, Roots: The Next Generations picked up where its predecessor left off, with Haley's slave ancestors winning their freedom in the aftermath of the Civil War. Even so, life for black Americans was wrought with hardship and oppression thanks to the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the staunch refusal of the white power structure to pass anti-lynching laws, and the formation of the dreaded Jim Crow laws which legalized racial segregation in the South (and much of the North). Covering the period from 1882 to the mid-1970s, the miniseries first focuses on blacksmith Tom Harvey (Georg Stanford Brown), great-grandson of Kunta Kinte (the protagonist of the original Roots), and his family. Meanwhile, reacting to the marriage of his son to a black woman, anal-retentive Southern colonel Warner (Henry Fonda) begins setting the legal wheels in motion to deny blacks like Tom the right to vote and to hold "white" jobs. A few decades later, Tom's son-in-law, Will (Marc Singer), encourages his fellow blacks to stand firm against the KKK's reign of terror. Will's labors on behalf of his race are rewarded when his daughter Bertha (Irene Cara) becomes the first descendant of Kunta Kinte to receive a college education. It is Bertha who weds the equally ambitious Simon Haley (Dorian Harewood), who goes on to serve in WWI and to organize farmers and sharecroppers during the Depression....Simon's son Alex (played at various ages by Kristoff St. John, Damon Evans, and finally James Earl Jones) is just as determined to succeed in a white man's world as his father, and to that end becomes a professional writer after his own service stint in the Coast Guard during WWII. At the height of his professional success (largely due to his having ghost-written the autobiography of Muslim activist Malcolm X), Alex Haley pays a visit to his boyhood hometown -- where, almost by accident, he receives the first clue to his heritage, a clue that will lead him on an odyssey of self-discovery, arriving full circle at Kunta Kinte's birthplace in Africa. Although the miniseries' "money scene" was Haley's nervous interview with American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell (Marlon Brando in a superb cameo turn), the climactic episode, in which Haley tearfully embraces the living African descendants of Kunta Kinte, is one of the most unforgettable moments in the history of network television. Running 12 episodes and 14 hours, Roots: The Next Generations concluded on February 25, 1979, playing to huge ratings all along the way and ultimately garnering several Emmy nominations (and one win).

The Rosa Parks Story (2002)  / Jaffe/Braunstein Films, Ltd. ; CBS Television ; produced by Christine Sacani, Elaine Eason Steele, Pearl Devers ; written by Paris Qualles ; directed by Julie Dash.  [Santa Monica, CA] : Xenon Pictures, [2002]  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 100 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  E185.97.P3 R67 2002 VideoDVD : Angela Bassett stars in the story that sparked the birth of the modern civil rights movement in the late 1950s. Parks took the only available seat in the first row of the "colored" section on a city bus; when a white woman boarded and the driver demanded that the black riders in her row move, everyone complied except Parks. This singular event threw Parks and her family into the Ku Klux Klan's ring of hatred -- and into the NAACP's limelight.  Cast : Angela Bassett, Peter Francis James, Tonea Stewart, Von Coulter, Dexter King.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.  Note: also available as part of the ROVI Movie Collection AN9 D0021606 VideoDVD

Rosewood (1997)  / [presented by] Warner Bros. ; a Peters Entertainment production in association with New Deal Productions ; written by Gregory Poirier ; produced by Jon Peters ; directed by John Singleton.  Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, c1997.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 142 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.R23 R67 1997 Videocassette : In 1923 Rosewood, a black town in Florida, was burned to the ground, its people murdered because of a lie. Some escaped and survived because of the courage and compassion of a few extraordinary people.  Cast : Jon Voight, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Bruce McGill, Loren Dean, Esther Rolle, Michael Rooker. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Rosewood / Warner Bros. presents a Peters Entertainment production in association with New Deal Productions ; produced by Jon Peters ; written by Gregory Poirier ; directed by John Singleton. Burbank, Calif. : Warner Home Video, 2007  1 DVD videodisc (142 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.R23 R67 2007 VideoDVD : In 1923, a prosperous black town in Florida was burned to the ground, its people hunted and murdered, all because a white woman falsely claimed that a black man sexually assaulted her.

Ruby Bridges (1998) / the Wonderful World of Disney presents ; produced by Anne Hopkins ; written by Toni Ann Johnson ; directed by Euzhan Palcy.  / [United States] : Walt Disney Home Video ; Burbank, Calif. : Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc., 2004. 1 DVD videodisc (90 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.B55 R839 2004 VideoDVD : This well-conceived made-for-television Disney movie brings the pain and difficulty of desegregation to life for a generation of kids to whom the 1960s is ancient history. Young Chaz Monet plays Ruby, who in real life walked up those Southern school steps with armed guards barely shielding her from the hate-filled epithets white adults hurled at her as she single-handedly desegregated the institution. Penelope Ann Miller plays her Yankee teacher--actually a tutor, since no white kids will share her classroom. Kevin Pollak plays the psychiatrist who donates his time to help her deal with the trauma, but won't eat her mother's food. This 89-minute film offers surprisingly complex portraits of many of the adult characters and an admirably frank look at the less-than-positive reaction from her own community. Even her father (Michael Beach) waivers in resolution, especially when his white boss fires him. Superior acting, writing, and production mark this look at one of the uglier periods in American social history and the little girl who helped the country take a giant step in the right direction. Somewhat scary situations and use of racial slurs make parental guidance advisable for young children.

Ruby's Bucket of Blood .  [S.l.] : Showtime Entertainment, c2002.  1 DVD videodisc (95 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 R83 2002 VideoDVD : The music is as hot as the sexual tension between Ruby Delacroix and the new white singer, Billy Dupre at her popular juke joint in Louisiana. When Ruby's husband deserts her and their rebellious teenage daughter, Ruby takes on a vulnerability that becomes too much for the married Dupre to resist. Even though their affair could be a fatal mistake in the racist South of the early 1960's, the couple cannot resist temptaion.  Cast : Angela Bassett, Kevin Anderson, Brian Stokes Mitchell.

Rules of Engagement (2000) / Seven Arts Pictures ; director, William Friedkin ; produced by Scott Rudin, Richard D. Zanuck ; co-producer, Arne Schmidt ; screenwriter, Stephen Gaghan ; story, James Webb.  Hollywood, Calif. : Paramount, 2000.  1 DVD videodisc (127 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PS3552.O4375 R85 2000 VideoDVD  : Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones are lifelong friends who served in Vietnam together. Twenty-eight years later, Jones, now a Marine lawyer, must defend Jackson in a court-martial case after he's accused of instructing his troops to fire on supposedly unarmed protesters outside the U.S. embassy in Yemen. Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley also star in this tense military courtroom drama from director William Friedkin.

Selected Feature Films, S

All African American feature films, either featuring African American studies themes or African American actors,  are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.  Movies can be checked out unless reserved for a class.

Sanders of the River (1935) (98 min.)  Streaming video available from Internet Archive.  Leslie Banks stars as the title character, a British officer who manages to keep the peace between the African tribes loyal to His Majesty and those loyal to the African king.  His right-hand man, one of the tribal leaders, played by Paul Robeson, does all he can to help Banks maintain the peace, but when Banks takes a trip away from the region, all hell breaks loose. 

Sanford and Son. The Complete Series (1972-1977) Culver City, CA : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2008. 17 DVD videodiscs (ca. 3331 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1992.77.S364 S364 2008 VideoDVD 1-17 : I'm comin', Elizabeth! Join ne'er do well Fred Sanford (Redd Foxx) as he runs his junkyard, and runs his son Lamont (Demond Wilson) ragged. Add Aunt Esther (LaWanda Page) and Grady (Whitman Mayo) into the mix, and you've got six seasons of hilarious entertainment.  Selected Episodes from TVLand  Sanford and Son Theme Song, aka, Quincy Jones' StreetbeaterWikipedia entry

Sankofa (1993) / Negod-Gwad Productions ; a film by Haile Gerima.  Washington, D.C. : Mypheduh Films, Inc., [2003].  1 DVD videodisc (125 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 S36 2003 VideoDVD : The story about the transformation of Mona, a self-possessed African-American woman sent on a spiritual journey in time to experience the pain of slavery and the discovery of her African identity....Sankofa is an Akan word that means, one must return to the past in order to move forward. Mona, a contemporary model, is possessed by spirits lingering in the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana and travels to the past, where, as a house servant called Shola she is constantly abused by the slave master. Nunu, an African-born field hand, and Shango, Sholas West Indian Lover, continuously rebel against the slave system. For Nunu this means direct conflict with her son, a mulatto benefitting from the system as a head slave. Inspired by Nunu and Shangos determination to defy the system, Shola finally takes her fate into her own hands.

Scar of Shame (1927)Chicago : Facets Video [distributor], c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (90 min.) : si., b&w ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.N4 A442 1993 Videocassette : In no film was the racial theme more apparent than in this story about an ill-matched marriage between a black concert pianist and a poor, lower class young black woman. Secretly ashamed of her, the young man keeps his wife hidden from his socially-prominent middle-class mother. Despite the melodrama, it is a strong statement on the issues of class and the color caste system which existed within the African-American community, as well as probing questions of ambition and authority. This was the first film of the Colored Players Film Corp. of Philadelphia.

Scar of Shame (1927), also available in The African American Cinema.

The Scar of Shame (1927) (75 mins.)  Streaming video via Matinee Classics.  Silent film.  : Directed by Frank Perugini. Produced by Colored Players Film Corporation of Philadelphia

School Daze  / Columbia Pictures presents a Forty Acres and Mule Filmworks production ; a Spike Lee joint ; produced, written and directed by Spike Lee. Culver City, Calif. : Columbia TriStar Home Video, c2000.  1 DVD videodisc (121 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.C543 S25 2000 VideoDVD : Contemporary music-filled comedy about life at a black college during one eventful homecoming weekend.  Cast : Larry Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, Tisha Campbell, Kyme, Joe Seneca, Art Evans, Ellen Holly, Ossie Davis.

The Secret Life of Bees  / Fox Searchlight Pictures presents Overbrook Entertainment/Donners Company production a Gina Prince-Bythewood film ; produced by Lauren Shuler Donner ... [et. al.] ; written for the screen and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.  Beverly Hills, California : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2008. 1 Blu-ray videodisc (110 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PS3611.I44 S38 2008 Blu-ray VideoDVD : Fourteen year old Lily Owens flees her cruel, angry father with her caregiver and friend, Rosaleen to a South Carolina town where she is taken in by the bee-keeping Boatwright sisters.  Cast : Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo and Paul Bettany.  2009 NAACP Image Award winner.

Separate But Equal (1991) / a New Liberty production in association with Republic Pictures ; executive producer, George Stevens, Jr. ; [written and directed by George Stevens, Jr.].  Los Angeles, CA : Republic Pictures Home Video, c1991.  2 VHS videocassettes (ca. 193 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  KF4757.Z9 S47 1991 Videocassette : Dramatization of the events leading to the landmark Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation, with a special introduction by Sidney Poitier.  Cast : Sidney Poitier, Burt Lancaster, Richard Kiley.

Sergeant Rutledge (1960) / Warner Bros. Pictures presents John Ford's production of ... ; written by James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck ; produced by Willis Goldbeck and Patrick Ford ; directed by John Ford.  Burbank, CA. : Warner Home Video, c2006.  1 DVD videodisc (112 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. PS3552.E527 S4 2006 VideoDVD  : The first big budget Western to feature a black hero, this military courtroom drama from director John Ford starred his long-time stock player Woody Strode. When a cavalry commander and his daughter are discovered murdered, racism amidst the 9th Cavalry immediately leads to suspicions that Sergeant Braxton Rutledge (Strode), a black man, is responsible for the crime. Arrested by Lieutenant Tom Cantrell (Jeffrey Hunter), Rutledge escapes from captivity during an Indian raid but voluntarily returns to warn his fellow cavalrymen that they are about to face an ambush by hostiles, saving the detachment from certain doom. At first among those who accept Rutledge's probable guilt, Cantrell and his love interest Mary Beecher (Constance Towers) become two of the accused man's scarce defenders as he is put on trial and faces testimony from prejudiced "witnesses."

Set It Off  (1996) / New Line Cinema presents a Peak production, a film by F. Gary Gray ; story by Takashi Bufford ; screenplay by Takashi Bufford and Kate Lanier ; produced by Dale Pollock and Oren Koulis ; directed by F. Gary Gray / New Line Home Video. [Burbank, Calif.] : New Line Productions, Inc. : Distributed by Warner Home Video, c2009   1 DVD videodisc (124 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.G3 S48 2009 VideoDVD : Even when it misses a dramatic opportunity in favor of generic action, Set It Off benefits from a sharp understanding of its well-drawn central characters. They're a quartet of young African American women in Los Angeles (Jada Pinkett, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise), all struggling against a system that seems designed to prevent them from realizing their dreams. The movie establishes their plight with credible attention to emotional detail, making their decision to rob banks believable enough to give the ensuing plot its inevitably tragic momentum. Cowritten by the screenwriter of What's Love Got to Do With It?, the film conveys genuine compassion for its characters, and the ensemble cast is uniformly strong--especially Queen Latifah as a brash lesbian whose fate is as certain as her forceful attitude....Set It Off expresses a real sense that these women have been close friends for years, and that gives the film additional impact, even when their transition to crime and violence feels somewhat forced and superficial. A romantic subplot involving Pinkett and a social-climbing banker (Blair Underwood) is too contrived to be convincing, and director F. Gary Gray (Friday) tries too hard to combine hard-hitting action with social relevance (a weakness shared by Gray's following film, The Negotiator). Still, Set It Off effectively avoids passing judgment; its emotional complexity transcends simple notions of right and wrong, injecting vitality--and a kind of renegade integrity--into the traditions of a familiar plot.

Seven Pounds (2008) / Columbia Pictures presents in association with Relativity Media an Overbrook Entertainment production, an Escape Artists production ; produced by Todd Black ... [et al.] ; written by Grant Nieporte ; directed by Gabriele Muccino.    Culver City, Calif. : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, c2009.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 123 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.M27 S484 2009 VideoDVD : The mysteriously titled Seven Pounds stars Will Smith as Ben Thomas, who flashes his badge as an IRS agent to gain entrance into the lives of seven strangers in need. To each, he offers something that will reverse their troubles, seeking to atone for a haunting past mistake. But when Ben starts falling in love with a young woman with heart trouble (Rosario Dawson), his carefully laid plans threaten to collapse. To reveal more of the story would diminish it. Smith is an engaging, charismatic presence, but the impact of Seven Pounds comes from Dawson--she has the kind of emotional transparency that shimmers off the screen. Which is crucial, because Seven Pounds requires considerable suspension of disbelief; some scenes push and pull at plausibility, and you may question a few plot turns after the movie is over. But as the story unfolds, the performances can carry you over these bumps. If you surrender to its gently circling rhythms and its luminous images (including the glowing undulations of a poisonous jellyfish), Seven Pounds will pack an emotional wallop, heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. Also featuring Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan), Michael Ealy (Sleeper Cell), and Woody Harrelson.

Shaft  / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ; produced by Joel Freeman ; directed by Gordon Parks ; screenplay by Ernest Tidyman and John D. F. Black.  Burbank, CA : Turner Entertainment Co. ; Warner Home Video, c2000.  1 VHS videocassette (100 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.D4 S47 2000 Videocassette : Shaft is hired by a Harlem mobster to find his kidnapped teenage daughter and finds himself up against some Mafia chieftains who want to take over a chunk of the Black Underworld's uptown territory.  Cast : Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) / Castle Rock Entertainment presents a Frank Darabont film ; screenplay, Frank Darabont ; producer, Niki Marvin ; director, Frank Darabont.  Culver City, Calif. : Columbia TriStar Home Video, [1995].  1 VHS videocassete (142 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in  PS3561.I483 S43 1995b Videocassette : Two convicts, one white and one black, never give up the dream of freedom, and together they turn hope and friendship into an uplifting bond no prison can ever take away.  Cast : Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, James Whitmore.

She's Gotta Have It  / Island Pictures ; producer, Shelton J. Lee ; written, edited and directed by Spike Lee.  [S.l.] : Cineplex Odeon Home Video ; Willowdale, Ont. : MCA Home Video, c1987.  1 VHS videocassette (VHS) (84 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.C55 S47 1987 Videocassette : Nola and her three boy friends try to cope with the fact that she doesn't want to give up any of them.  Cast : Tracy Camila Johns, Redmon Hicks, John Canada Terrell, Raye Dowell, Joie Lee, Spike Lee.

Showtime at the Apollo (1954) (80 minutes)   Streaming video via Matinee Classics : The best and the greatest black singers, comedians and bands perform live on the stage of the Apollo Theater in New York City. Cast: Nipsey Russell, Willie Bryant, Duke Ellington, The Clovers, Larry Darnell, Herb Jeffries, Dinah Washington, Amos Millborne, Count Basie, Big Joe Turner, Mantan Moreland, Lionel Hampton, Martha Davis, Nat King Cole and Bill Bailey.

The Siege  (1998) / Twentieth Century Fox presents a Lynda Obst production ; an Edward Zwick film ; story by Lawrence Wright ; screenplay by Lawrence Wright and Mennio Meyjes & Edward Zwick ; produced by Lynda Obst, Edward Zwick ; directed by Edward Zwick.  Beverly Hills, CA : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, c1999.  1 DVD videodisc (116 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.A3 S543 1999 VideoDVD : A high-profile action/exploitation thriller set in the present, The Siege is really a fantasy that extrapolates from major terrorist attacks. Denzel Washington is FBI special agent Hubbard, "Hub" to his friends, whose anti-terrorist task force must track down the terrorist cells responsible for a spate of bombings in New York. His partner is an FBI agent of Arabian extraction (played convincingly by Tony Shalhoub), proving not all Arabs are bad guys--a point the film should be lauded for making again and again. Thrown into the mix is a CIA spy (played almost kittenish at times by Annette Bening), whose ties to the terrorists appear to be at the center of the conflicts. When the bombings escalate out of control, the President institutes martial law, sending in General Devereaux (played with impenetrable countenance by Bruce Willis) with tanks and troops to ferret out the terrorists. Echoes of Japanese-Americans in internment camps ring out as Arabs, including the son of the Arab-American FBI agent, are herded into a stadium. Periodic audio-montages of "man in the street" sentiments anchor the material in the present and show how serious and relevant the material is. But finally what we have is a taut and entertaining popcorn movie, giving itself the humanistic nod when it can.  Cast : Denzel Washington, Annette Bening, Bruce Willis, Tony Shalhoub, Sami Bouajila, David Proval.

Sister Act  / Touchstone Pictures presents in association with Touchwood Pacific Partners ; produced by Teri Schwartz ; directed by Emile Ardolino ; written by Joseph Howard.  Burbank, Calif. : Touchstone Home Video ; [Boston, MA] : DVS Home Video, [199-?]  1 VHS videocassette (100 min.), sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.C55 S57 1990 Videocassette : In this "divine comedy" a nightclub singer is forced to take refuge from the mob in a convent. While there she turns the convent choir into a "soulful chorus of swingin' sisters" complete with a Motown repertoire. The sudden celebrity of the choir jeopardizes her identity.  Features Whoopi Goldberg.  1994 NAACP Image Award winner.

Six Degrees of Separation  / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents a Maiden Movies/New Regency production of a Fred Schepisi film ; screenplay, John Guare ; produced by Fred Schepisi and Arnon Milchan ; directed by Fred Schepisi.  Santa Monica, CA : MGM Home Entertainment, 2000.  1 DVD videodisc (112 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PS3557.U2 S59 2000 VideoDVD : When Manhattan art dealers take a young man into their home believing him to be a friend of their children and Sidney Poitier's son, he leaves them with a lasting impression.  Cast : Stockard Channing, Will Smith, Donald Sutherland, Mary Beth Hurt, Bruce Davison, Heather Graham, Anthony Michael Hall, Eric Thal, Richard Masur, Ian McKellan.

Small Steps, Big Strides  / Van Ness Films in association with Foxstar Productions ... [et al.] ; written, produced and directed by Velma Cato.  1 VHS videocassette (60 min.) : sd., col. with b&w sequences ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.N4 S57 1997 Videocassette : This tribute celebrates African American silver screen legends. Included are interviews and rare footage documenting the kinds of roles black actors were first given, the challenges these performers met, and the real behind-the-scenes story of their acceptance and triumphs in Hollywood.  Interview subjects: Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Nicholas Brothers, Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, James Earl Jones, Gregory Hines ; narrator, Louis Gossett, Jr.

Sneakers (1992)  / Universal Pictures presents a Lasker/Parkes production ; a Phil Alden Robinson flim ; written by Phil Alden Robinson and Lawrence Lasker & Walter F. Parkes ; produced by Walter F. Parkes, Lawrence Lasker ; directed by Phil Alden Robinson.  [Universal City, Calif.] : MCA/Universal Home Video, 1993. 1 VHS videocassette (125 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.A3 S64 1993 Videocassette  : When computer expert Martin Bishop and his team of renegade hackers are blackmailed into carrying out a covert operation to recover a mysterious black box, they discover factions from all sides are willing to kill for it.  Cast : Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell, River Phoenix, Sidney Poitier, David Strathairn.

Soldiers of Change (2001) / [presented by] Hammer Productions I, LLC and Imageworks Entertainment Int'l, Inc. ; produced by Michael Armand Hammer ; written by Buddy Sheffield ; directed by Joshua Rose and Peter Manoogian.  Universal City, CA : Screen Media Films, 2005.  1 DVD videodisc (97 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.W3 S6535 2005 VideoDVD  : In the midst of riots, rebellion and revolution of the 1960s, a reluctant solider finds himself in the center of two wars. Ripped from the front lines of the civil rights struggle at home and thrust into the war in Vietnam, Randy is forced into a heroic struggle for his life and his love. Soldiers of Change tells the explosive story of one man's coming of age during the assassinations, protest, and war that defined the '60s and changed the world.

A Soldier's Story (1984)  / Columbia Pictures presents a Norman Jewison Film ; screenplay by Charles Fuller ; produced by Norman Jewison, Ronald L. Schwary, Patrick Palmer ; directed by Norman Jewison.  Culver City, Calif. : Columbia Tristar Home Video, [1999]  1 DVD videodisc (101 min.) : sd., col., double sided ; 4 3/4 min.  PN1995.9.R23 S65 1999 VideoDVD : A black army attorney is sent to Fort Neal, Louisiana, near the end of World War II to investigate the murder of Sgt. Waters, a black man who despised his own roots.  Cast : Howard E. Rollins, Jr., Adolph Caesar, Denzel Washington, Patti Labelle.

Son of Ingagi (1940) (60 minutes) Streaming video via Matinee Classics : : Directed by Spencer Williams. Cast: Zack Williams, Laura Bowman and Spencer Williams.  A cantankerous yet kindhearted lady scientist does her best to help humanity - the only problem is there's a giant ape-man living in her basement.  This is believed to be the first science fiction/horror film which featured an "all colored cast."

Song of Ingagi (1940) (60 minutes) Streaming video via Internet Archive.

Song of the South (1946) / a Walt Disney production ; screenplay by Dalton Raymond, Morton Grant, Maurice Rapf ; cartoon story, William Reed, Ralph Wright, George Stallings.  [S.l.] : Walt Disney Home Video, [200-?]  1 DVD videodisc (91 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997 .S5685 2000z VideoDVD  By the early 1940s, once-popular plantation movies like Gone With the Wind had fallen out of vogue. Yet in 1946, Walt Disney released Song of the South, a surprisingly regressive film based on the Uncle Remus tales by Joel Chandler Harris and set on a nineteenth-century plantation full of contented slaves and a devoted Mammy named Aunt Tempy, played by Hattie McDaniel (the first black actress ever to receive an Academy Award, for her performance as Scarlett O’Hara’s Mammy [1939]). The patriarchal old Remus (James Baskett) tells uplifting stories of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear to Johnny, the lonely and troubled white boy who has been sent to live with his grandparents after his parents’ separation; and he provides the boy with the strong father figure that he so desperately needs. (As is typical of such plantation tales, Remus’ own family is almost completely subordinated to the white family whom he serves.) But when he is scolded by Johnny’s mother for interfering, Remus decides to leave the plantation. After the boy follows him and is injured by a charging bull, Remus returns to offer solace at his bedside. Naturally, all ends well: the parents reconcile, and soon Johnny is dancing up hills again with his friends, as old Remus trails happily behind them. The film, which intercut live acting with some of the most stunning cartoon animation and color techniques ever seen by movie audiences, was praised for its technical excellence; and Baskett was awarded a special honorary Academy Award for his touching performance. Yet, while Southern popular and critical response to the film was overwhelmingly favorable, protesters from New York to Hollywood picketed the film -- more heavily, in fact, than any film since The Birth of a Nation (At the Atlanta premiere, protesters shouted, “We fought for Uncle Sam, not Uncle Tom!”) The NAACP condemned the film’s distortions, such as the idyllic relationship between master and slave, and black politicians called for its suppression. The Song of the South was seen as a metaphor for the plundering of black culture: the indispensable Remus is criticized, not rewarded, for stabilizing the family structure; his distinctive black voice is silenced; and his tradition is usurped and exploited as Johnny learns to conjure the cartoon animals on his own. While the film was commercially successful, it forced Hollywood to reconsider the way black characters were depicted, especially in light of the increased emphasis on racial tolerance in the postwar period. Song of the South was quietly retired by Disney in 1986.  Source : Separate Cinema : A Century of Film website.

Soul Food (1997) / Fox 2000 Pictures presents an Edmonds Entertainment production ; a George Tillman, Jr. film ; produced by Tracey E. Edmonds, Robert Teitel ; written and directed by George Tillman, Jr.  Beverly Hills, Calif. : 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, c2000.   1 DVD videodisc (114 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 S68 2000 VideoDVD : Soul Food is the kind of movie that seems to have been blessed throughout its low-budget production, and it's got a quality of warmth and charm that fits perfectly with its authentic drama about a large African-American family in Chicago. Twenty-eight-year-old writer-director George Tillman Jr. drew autobiographical inspiration from his upbringing in Milwaukee, and on a well-spent $6.5 million budget he succeeded where similar films (including Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back) fell short: He depicts his many characters with such depth and sympathy that, by the time they have weathered several family crises, we've come to care and feel for them and the powerful ties that bind them together. As seen through the eyes of Tillman's young alter ego Ahmad (Brandon Hammond), the film primarily focuses on the rivalries and affections that rise and fall among Ahmad's mother (Vivica A. Fox) and her two sisters (Vanessa L. Williams, Nia Long). Through them, and through the weekly Sunday dinners cooked with love by their mother, Big Mama (Irma P. Hall), we witness marital bliss and distress, infidelity, success, failure... in short, the spices of life both bitter and sweet. But when Big Mama falls into a diabetic coma, Ahmad watches as his family begins to fall apart without the stability and love that Big Mama provided with every Sunday meal....Tillman's touch can be overly nostalgic, melodramatic, and cloyingly sentimental, but never so much that the movie loses its firm grip on reality. As a universal portrait of family life, Soul Food ranks among the very best films of its kind--believable, funny, emotional, and always approaching its characters (well-played by a uniformly excellent cast) with a generous spirit of forgiveness and understanding. As satisfying as one of Big Mama's delicious dinners, Soul Food is the kind of movie that keeps you coming back for more. 1998 NAACP Image Award winner.

Sounder  / Radnitz/Mattel Productions.  Hollywood, Calif. : Paramount Pictures Corp., c1982, 1972.  1 VHS videocassette (105 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PN1997 .S648 1982 Videocassette  : The heartwarming story of a black sharecropper family in Louisiana during the Depression. A father steals food for his family, his wife provides love, security and strength while he is in prison, and their oldest son bravely becomes the man of the house until his father returns. Together they love and laugh, struggle and survive, and dream and hope of a more promising future.  Cast : Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, Kevin Hooks, Taj Mahal, Janet Maclachlan.

The Spook Who Sat By The Door (1973) / a Bokari Ltd. production ; director, Ivan Dixon ; producers, Ivan Dixon, Sam Greenlee ; screenplay, Sam Greenlee, Melvin Clay.  [United States] : Monarch Home Video : Obsidian Home Entertainment, 2004.  1 DVD videodisc (102 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PS3557.R396 S63 2004 VideoDVD : "Dan Freeman,.. is enlisted in the CIA's elitist espionage program as its first Black agent. Upon mastering agency tactics, he returns home to Chicago with a mission to train street gangs as "Freedom Fighters." Quickly they become experts in urban guerrilla warfare and plan to launch a war against the white power structure in every major US city."  Cast : Lawrence Cook, Jack Aaron, Don Blakely, Paul Butler, Paula Kelly.  Note : Also available at least momentarily on YouTube.

St. Louis Blues (1929)  (16 mins.) Streaming video via Matinee Classics : Directed by Dudley Murphy. Cast: Bessie Smith.  In this all-black cast short, legendary blues singer Bessie Smith finds her gambler lover Jimmy messin' with a pretty, younger woman; he leaves and she sings the blues, with chorus and dancers.  Only known footage of Bessie Smith.

Stir Crazy  / Columbia Pictures.  Culver City, Calif. : Columbia TriStar Home Video, 1999, c1980.  1 DVD videodisc (107 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.C55 S75 1999 VideoDVD : Two zany drifters are mistakenly sent to prison for a robbery they didn't commit. They must rely on their wits in order to survive a sadistic warden, a hulking mass-murderer and worst of all, the inter-prison rodeo.  Cast : Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, George Stanford Brown, JoBeth Williams.

Stomp the Yard / Screen Gems presents a Rainforest Films production ; produced by William Packer ; screenplay by Robert Adetuyi ; directed by Sylvain White.  Culver City, Calif. : Sony Pictures TriStar Home Entertainment, c2007.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 114 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.C543 S7667 2007 VideoDVD : After the death of his younger brother D.J. a troubled 19-year-old street dancer from Los Angeles is able to bypass juvenile hall by enrolling in the historically black Truth University in Atlanta, Georgia. His efforts to get an education and woo the girl he likes are sidelined when he discovers 'stepping,' a traditional dance performed by African-American fraternities. He soon finds himself in the middle of a fierce rivalry between the top two campus fraternities. Both want and need D.J.'s fierce street-style dance moves to win the highly coveted national step show competition. Cast : Columbus Short, Meagan Good, Ne-Yo, Darrin Henson, Brian White, Laz Alonso, Valarie Pettiford, Harry Lennix.

Stormy Weather (1943) / 20th Century Fox, 2006.  1 DVD (78 min.)  PN1995.9.M86 S76 2005 VideoDVD : Vaguely based on the life of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson himslef, Stormy Weather offers the story of a WWI vet who falls in love with a singer -- and under her influence goes into show business, only to find that their careers draw them in different directions.  As a story, it is pretty slim stuff... but as a collection of musical turns by some of the early 1940s best black talent, it simply can't be beat.... Robinson was, of course, one of the truly great dancers of his era. Made late in his career, this film doesn't really manage to capture the scope of his talents, but he remains a constant joy to watch. A very young and remarkably beautiful Lena Horne also offers several enjoyable songs, including one that she would go on to perform with increasing sophistocation and ultimately make entirely her own: the title tune "Stormy Weather." In addition to Calloway and Horne, this movie offers great performances by such under-filmed artists as Cab Calloway, Katherine Dunham, Fats Waller (performing his signature tune, "Ain't Misbehaving"), the brillant Nicholas Brothers, and Ada Brown, as well as the popular comic actor Dooley Wilson. Expect nothing from the story, but you won't be disappointed by this rare glimpse at some truly remarkable talents.

A Stranger in the Kingdom / an Ardustry Home Entertainment ; screen play by Don Bredes and Jay Craven ; produced and directed by Jay Craven.  Woodland Hills, CA : Ardustry Home Entertainment, 2004.  1 DVD videodisc (111 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  ROVI Movie Collection CL6 D0042034 VideoDVD  : Murder wasnt the only crime this town would never forget. Hidden beneath its rustic charm, Kingdom County was a lawless frontier. Inspired by true events, A Stranger in the Kingdom tells the story of a small Vermont town where powerful conflicts arise when a black former Army chaplain arrives as the towns new pastor and, before long, finds himself charged with adultery and murder. A potent and unforgettable mystery with off-beat characters, vivid action, stunning photography, and double-edged wit. By award-winning director Jay Craven (Where the Rivers Flow North.  Trailer via YouTube

Stranger Inside (2001)  / HBO Films presents a C-Hundred Film Corp movie in association with Stranger Baby Productions, a film by Cheryl Dunye ; producers, Jim McKay, Michael Stipe, Effie T. Brown ; writers, Cheryl Dunye, Catherine Crouch ; director, Cheryl Dunye. New York, NY : HBO Home Video : Distributed by Warner Home Video, [2002], c2001.  1 DVD videodisc (90 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.P68 S77344 2002 VideoDVD : Treasure Lee just moved out of "juvenile" into the State Pen. Now she needs to learn how the system works, search out where the power lies, and find herself a new lover. She soon meets Brownie, a jail-toughened lifer, who works through her extended family of loyal girls. The closer Treasure gets to Brownie, the more enemies she makes.  Cast : Yolanda Ross, Davenia McFadden, Rain Phoenix, Ella Joyce, Conchata Ferrell, Lee Garlington, LaTonya T. Hagans, Medusa.

Sugar Hill   Beverly Hills, Calif. : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2006.  2 DVD videodiscs (ca. 242 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PS3553.R48 R57 2006 VideoDVD : When the younger brother tries to break free from his world of crime and violence he is reluctantly lured back to help his brother keep the mob from taking over his territory.  Cast : Wesley Snipes, Ernie Hudson, Abe Vigoda.

Superfly (1972) / the Sig Shore Productions ; produced by Sig Shore ; written by Phillip Fenty ; directed by Gordon Parks, Jr.  Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, c2004, c1972.   1 DVD videodisc (95 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.N4 S86 2004 VideoDVD : The pinnacle of blaxploitation movies, the 1972 Superfly stars Ron O'Neal as a drug dealer who wants out of the business but decides to take out some enemies in the process. With its criminal hero, one might almost think this could be an existential crime movie, but's really just an effective piece of pulp with a strong performance by O'Neal, grim settings, cool direction by Gordon Parks Jr., and a famous soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield.

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (YouTube) 1:37:07 - After saving a Black Panther from some racist cops, a black male prostitute goes on the run from "the man" with the help of the ghetto community and some disillusioned Hells Angels.

Selected Feature Films, T-V

All African American feature films, either featuring African American studies themes or African American actors,  are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.  Movies can be checked out unless reserved for a class.

Take a Giant Step (1959) / United Artists Pictures Inc. ; Hecht, Hill and Lancaster present ; directed by Philip Leacock ; produced by Julius J. Epstein ; a Sheila Productions, Inc. picture. [Los Angeles, Calif.] : MGM, c2011.  1 DVD videodisc (100 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.N4 T34 2011 VideoDVD : Although less sophisticated than the Broadway hit A Raisin in the Sun, Take a Giant Step, another black-authored, family-oriented drama, had a similar theme of struggle and accommodation. Written by black playwright Louis Peterson and adapted to the screen by Peterson and his colleague, Academy Award-winning writer Julius J. Epstein, Take a Giant Step was produced by Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, the independent film company formed in 1947 by Burt Lancaster and producer Harold Hecht. Popular rock-and-roll singer Johnny Nash starred as Spencer Scott, a black middle-class teen coming of age in a northern white community (a role that Lou Gossett, Jr. had played on Broadway). In scenes that were quite volatile for the time, the film depicted Spencer’s attempt to discover and assert his identity. In one such scene, after a white teacher presumes that slaves were simply too lazy to fight for emancipation, Spencer challenges the falsehood and is expelled; then he clashes with his father, who upholds the teacher’s authority instead of empathizing with his son’s frustration. Spencer, however, finds support from his strong-willed grandmother, the family matriarch who dispenses blunt but loving advice, and the family’s young black housekeeper, who empathizes with his loneliness. Eventually he comes to appreciate the sacrifices that his parents made in order to give him opportunities that they themselves never enjoyed; and he is able to express his love for them aloud. He also recognizes that, as a “black boy” in white society, he must make certain accommodations. (His experience of frustration and humiliation, screenwriter Peterson implies, parallels the struggles of the larger black community in a pre-civil rights era.) The film’s frank treatment of the black teenager’s defiance, like the exploration of his awakening sexual desire, raised sensitive racial issues, while Spencer’s use of profanity threatened to jeopardize the film’s MPAA Production Code seal. Unfortunately, interest in the film was poor. Theater owners complained that audiences did not want to see unknown black stars as serious actors; others suggested that racial problem films were just not a draw -- though, ironically, around the same time, the major studios were successfully promoting movies about rebellious white youth, including James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Sal Mineo, in films such as The Wild One, Blackboard Jungle, and Rebel Without a Cause. The striking and timely portrait of a troubled, defiant, but intelligent and well-intentioned black adolescent, however, was truly a “giant step” in black film imagery. Source : Separate Cinema

Taken From Me : the Tiffany Rubin Story (2001) / produced by Harvey Kahn ; written by Michael Bortman ; directed by Gary Harvey.  [United States] : Lifetime, [2011]  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 88 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1992.77 .T35 2011 VideoDVD : Based on the dramatic true story of Tiffany Rubin's daring 2008 rescue of her six-year-old son, Kobe, after he was abducted by his biological father and taken from his home in Queens, New York, all the way to Seoul, South Korea. At the urging of her mother Belzora, Tiffany seeks the counsel of Mark Miller  and his charitable organization, the American Association for Lost Children. With Mark's help, Tiffany is able to travel to Korea to execute a high-stakes plan to bring her son home.

Talk to Me / Focus Features and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment ; Mark Gordon Productions ; Pelagius Films ; The Mark Gordon Company.   Universal Studios, 2007.  DVD.  119 minutes.  PN1995.9.B55 T355 2007 VideoDVD : Academy Award nominee Don Cheadle portrays the one and only Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene Jr. in this funny, feel-good and inspiring true story. Ex-convict Greene talks his way into an on-air radio gig with program director Dewey Hughes (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and his unprecedented "tell it like it is" style breaks all the rules while electrifying a city and bringing a nation together when it needs it the most. Also starring Cedric The Entertainer, Taraji P. Henson, Mike Epps and Martin Sheen, Talk to Me tells the extraordinary story of an outrageous and beloved voice ready to shake up the world in the movie critics are hailing as "fresh and revelatory".

That's Black Entertainment  / Skyline Entertainment : Distributed by Video Communications, 1989.  1 VHS videocassette (60 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 T53 1989 Videocassette  : In the 30's and 40's an underground film industry sprang up in the black community. Since Afro Americans were not always welcome in white movie theatres and were badly represented in white movies, they made their own movies. These black cast films were never intended to be viewed by white audiences. Black producers, directors and actors were truer to the realities of life as they experienced and felt them than their white counterparts. This tightly run underground film industry operated efficiently until the mid-fifties. Its demise was basically a result of changing economic tides and (thankfully) the growing hope of integration. This is a tribute to the treasures of black cinema. Rare and historic movie footage from many forgotten films has been compiled in this special videocassette.  Contents - Murder in Harlem (1935) -- Souls of sin (1949) -- Blood of Jesus (1941) -- Juke Joint (1947) -- Miracle in Harlem (1948) -- Broken earth (1939) --Rufus Jones for president (1933).

That's Black Entertainment  : African-American Contributions in Film and Music, 1903-1944 / North Hollywood, CA : produced and distributed by OnDeck Home Entertainment, c1997.  2 vhs videocassettes (ca. 106 min.)  PN1995.9.N4 T47 1997 Videocassette : Vol. 1 covers the history of Black filmmaking from its earliest days through the twenties, focusing on the movies that were made and the production companies that produced them and includes three short films. Vol. 2 compiles a vintage video collection of three-minute music videos called "soundies" that were originally screened on a visual jukebox called Panorams during the 1940s.  Contents - v. 1, Race movies : the early history of Black cinema with three original short films. St. Louis blues (starring Bessie Smith) -- Hi-de-ho (starring Cab Calloway) -- Boogie-woogie dream (starring Lena Horne).  v. 2, The soundies era : Black music video's from the 1940's. Hey lawdy mama (June Richmond with Roy Milton and his band) -- Take me back, baby (Count Basie Orchestra) -- Some of these days (Maxine Sullivan) -- Beat me, daddy (Maurice Rocco) -- Is you is, or is you ain't my baby? (King Cole Trio and Ida James) -- Baby won't you please come home (Herb Jeffries) -- Keep waitin' (George Washington Brown) -- Toot that trumpet (Deep River Boys) -- Keep smiling (Four Ginger Snaps) -- Babbling Bess (Chanticleers) -- Dispossessed blues (Lynn Albritton and the Four Knobs) -- Lovin' up a solid breeze (Chanticleers) -- Block party revels (Billy and Ann, Lynn Albritton, Four Knobs, the Harlem Cuties) -- Minnie the moocher (Cab Calloway and his orchestra) -- I call it love (King Cole Trio) -- King of the vibes (Lionel Hampton).

A Thin Line Between Love & Hate (1996)  / New Line Cinema and Savoy Pictures presents a Jackson-McHenry Entertainment production in association with You Go Boy! Productions ; a Martin Lawrence film.  [S.l.] : New Line Home Video, c1999.  1 DVD videodisc (108 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.M27 T4745 1996 VideoDVD : A hilarious comedy about a nightclub promoter and perpetual playboy who learns the hard way about the dangers of being a ladies man. Directed by and starring Martin Lawrence.

Things Never SaidRaising Kane Films ; Ohio Street Pictures ; director, Charles Murray ; writer, Charles Murray ; producer, Charles Murray and Brian "Skinny" Lewis.  Santa Monica, CA : Lionsgate, [2013]    1 DVD  videodisc (ca. 111 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.M27 T465 2013 VideoDVD :  Kal (Shanola Hampton) is an aspiring poet, but truthfully, she's an artist who is lost. She tries desperately to find an outlet for her artistic voice as she struggles with her self-esteem and a difficult home life. When Kal meets fellow poet Curtis (Omari Hardwick), it's the turmoil, surprise and uncertainty of a new love that ultimately help her find her voice...and a sense of selfworth.?

A Time to Kill (1996) / Warner Bros. presents in association with Regency Enterprises ; an Arnon Milchan production ; a Joel Schumacher film ; screenplay by Akiva Goldsman ; produced by Arnon Milchan, Michael Nathanson, Hunt Lowry and John Grisham ; directed by Joel Schumacher.  [Los Angles] : Regency, 2009.  1 DVD videodisc (150 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.T75 T55 2009 VideoDVD : A murder trial brings a small Mississippi town's racial tensions to the flashpoint. Amid a frenzy of activists marches, Klan terror, media clamor and brutal riots, an unseasoned but idealistic young attorney mounts a stirring courtroom battle for justice. Directed by Joel Schumacher.  Starring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, & Samuel L. Jackson. Based on the book A Time to Kill by John Grisham. 1997 NAACP Image Award winner.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)  / directed by Robert Mulligan ; produced by Alan Pakula ; screenplay by Horton Foote ; A Pakula-Mulligan, Brentwood Productions Picture.  Universal City, CA : Universal Home Video, c1998.  1 VHS videocassette (130 min. + extra footage) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in.  PS3523.E332 T6 1998 Videocassette : Two children in a small southern town are thrust into an adult world of racial bigotry and hatred when their lawyer father chooses to defend a black man unjustly accused of raping a white girl. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Search Engine.

To Sir, With Love (1967)  / [written and directed James Clavell]. : London : Columbia/Tristar, c1999. 1 DVD video (PAL region 2) (101 min.) : sd., col. (Not compatible with American DVD players)  LA639.L8 B72 1999 PAL VideoDVD : Novelist James Clavell wrote, produced, and directed this 1967 British film (based on a novel by E.R. Braithwaite) about a rookie teacher who throws out stock lesson plans and really takes command of his unruly, adolescent students in a London school. Poitier is very good as a man struggling with the extent of his commitment to the job, and even more as a teacher whose commitment is to proffering life lessons instead of academics. The spirit of this movie can be found in such recent films as Dangerous Minds and Mr. Holland's Opus, but none is as moving as this one. Besides, the others don't have a title song performed by pop star Lulu.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.  Also available as streaming video from YouTube.

To Sir, With Love II (1996)  / Verdon-Cedric Productions, Inc. ; Andelson/Baumgarten Productions, Inc. ; [produced by Richard Stenta ; written by Philip Rosenberg ; directed by Peter Bogdanovich].  [London] : Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment : distributed in the E.U. by Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd., [2004]  1 DVD videodisc (89 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997 .T591 2004 PAL VideoDVD : A story of how a retired teacher from London influences the lives of unruly students in a Chicago inner city high school.  Cast : Sidney Poitier, Christian Payton, Dana Eskelson, Fernando Lopez, Casey Lluberes, Michael Gilio, Lz Granderson, Bernadette L. Clarke, Jamie Kolacki, Saundra Santiago, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Lulu, Judy Geeson, Daniel J. Travanti. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine

To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar / Universal Pictures presents an Amblin Entertainment production ; a Beeban Kidron film ; written by Douglas Carter Beane ; produced by G. Mac Brown ; directed by Beeban Kidron. Universal City, Calif. : MCA Universal Home Video, 1996.  1 VHS videocassette (109 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PN1997 .T592 1996 Videocassette : After Vida Boheme and Noxeema Jackson win a major New York drag contest and a trip to Hollywood, they are persuaded to take the inexperienced drag princess Chi-Chi with them. They hire a beat-up old Cadillac and set off for Los Angeles, but their car breaks down in a small town in the middle of nowhere. With just their wits and an endless supply of garish costumes, they transform the town and everyone who lives there--until homophobic cop Sheriff Dollard catches up with them. Cast : Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, Stockard Channing, Blythe Danner, Arliss Howard, Chris Penn.

Training Day (2010) / Warner Bros. Pictures presents in association with Village Roadshow Pictures and NPV Entertainment an Outlaw Productions ; producers, Jeffrey Silver, Bobby Newmyer ; writer, David Ayer ; director, Antoine Fuqua.  1 Blu-ray videodisc (122 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.P57 T73 2006 Blu-ray VideoDVD : A powerhouse performance by Denzel Washington fuels this brutal urban police drama, in which a rookie narcotics cop learns the hard way that even good cops can go very, very bad. Washington plays veteran detective Alonzo Harris, a self-proclaimed "wolf among wolves," eager to teach his rookie partner Jake (Ethan Hawke) that normal rules don't apply on the mean streets of Los Angeles. Caught in a web of deception, Jake watches with escalating horror as Alonzo uses his badge (and the support of his superiors) to justify a self-righteous policy of corruption. In stark contrast to most of his previous work, Denzel unleashes his dark side with fearlessness and fury, and the result is excellence without compromise. Director Antoine Fuqua (The Replacement Killers) won't score any points for subtlety, but gritty details (including actual L.A. gang members as extras) and Hawke's finely tuned performance are perfectly matched to Washington's frightening volatility.  Cast : Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke.

The Tuskegee Airmen (1995) / HBO Pictures presents a Price Entertainment production ; a film by Robert Markowitz ; produced by Bill Carraro ; teleplay by Paris Qualles and Trey Ellis and Ron Hutchinson ; directed by Robert Markowitz.  New York, N.Y. : HBO Home Video, [2000]  1 DVD videodisc (106 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  D810.N4 T874 2000 VideoDVD : This true story of the black flyers who broke the color barrier in the U.S. Air Force during World War II is a well-intentioned film highlighted by an excellent cast. Proud, solemn, Iowa-born Laurence Fishburne and city-kid hipster Cuba Gooding Jr. are among the hopefuls who meet en route to Tuskegee Air Force Base, where they are among the recruits for an "experimental" program to "prove" the abilities of the black man in the armed services. Fighting prejudice from racist officers and government officials and held to a consistently higher level of performance than their white counterparts, these men prove themselves in training and in combat, many of them dying for their country in the process. Andre Braugher costars as a graduate who takes charge of the unit in Africa and in Italy (where it's christened the 332nd). The film is rousing, if slow starting and episodic, but it's periodically grounded by a host of war movie clichés, notably the calculated demise of practically every trainee introduced in the opening scenes (ironic given the 332nd's real-life combat record--high casualties for the enemy, low casualties among themselves, and no losses among the bombers they escorted). Ultimately the Emmy-nominated performances by moral backbone Fishburne and the dedicated Braugher and the energy and cocky confidence of Gooding give their battles both on and off the battlefield the sweet taste of victory.

Two Gun Man From Harlem (1938) / [S.l.] : Hollywood's Attic, [199-?]  1 VHS videocassette (60 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in. PS3521.A28 T86 1996 Videocassette : A singing cowboy wrongfully framed for murder ends up in Harlem. He assumes the identity of a preacher turned gangster who looks like him. He joins a gang to catch the men who framed him.  Cast : Herbert Jeffrey, Clarence Brooks, Mantan Moreland, Stymie Beard, Spencer Williams.  Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series.

Two Gun from Harlem (1937) (1 hr.) Streaming video from the Internet Archive. Taken from IMDBA cowboy is wrongfully accused of murder. He winds up in Harlem, where he assumes the identity of a preacher-turned-gangster who looks like him. He infiltrates the gang to catch the men who framed him.  Example of early African American western.  Source : Internet Archive, Feature Film. 

Two Gunman From Harlem Streaming video from YouTube.  60 minutes.  A cowboy is wrongfully accused of murder. He winds up in Harlem, where he assumes the identity of a preacher-turned-gangster who looks like him. He infiltrates the gang to catch the men who framed him. Stars Herb Jeffries, Marquerite Whitten, Clarence Brooks

Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls (2007)/ LionsGate and Tyler Perry Studios present a Tyler Perry Studios, Rueben Cannon Productions, LionsGate production, a film by Tyler Perry ; produced by Reuben Cannon, Tyler Perry ; written and directed by Tyler Perry.  Santa Monica, Calif. : Lionsgate, c2007.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 100 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.F35 T9547 2007 VideoDVD : Monty (Idris Elba) is a mechanic struggling to make ends meet while raising his three young daughters. When the court awards custody of his daughters to his ex-wife, Monty desperately tries to win them back with the help of Julia (Gabrielle Union), a beautiful, Ivy League-educated attorney. Monty and Julia couldn't be less alike, but a flame is ignited...touching off a firestorm of love and conflict.

Uncle Tom's Cabin (1927) / a Universal Picture.  New York, NY : Kino on Video, c1999.  1 DVD videodisc (112 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in.  PS2954 .U52 1999 VideoDVD : Eliza flees the security of a Kentucky plantation when her young son and her dignified protector, Uncle Tom, are sold to a rival landowner. Her experiences culminate in her arrival at the swampy lair of the murderous Sam Legree.  Harry Pollard's epic 1927 version of Harriet Beecher Stowe's landmark novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was one of the most expensive silent films ever made. James B. Lowe, whose composure, dignity, and gentleness suggest a silent-era Danny Glover, stars as kindly Tom, the slave ripped from his family to pay his master's debt, but the film favors the more sensational melodrama of the married light-skinned couple Eliza and George and their son Harry (all played by white performers), split up and sold to the highest bidder. Pollard, a Southerner himself, maintains an uneasy balance between a sentimental portrayal of a happy Dixie with smiling slaves and a land where humans are bought and sold like cattle to wicked, money-grubbing masters. The exaggerated performances and stereotypes have not aged well and Pollard shows a weakness for broad Victorian melodrama, but the film boasts many moving moments and nail-biting sequences, highlighted by Eliza's harrowing escape across the ice floes as hounds literally nip at her heels. (A staple of the many touring stage productions of the play, D.W. Griffith borrowed the scene for the climax of Way Down East.) Uncle Tom's Cabin is more interesting as a product of its era than any serious attempt to explore the evils of slavery, but it's an exciting, handsomely mounted picture. Kino's restored edition features the original Movietone score by Erno Rapee, complete with sound effects and songs.  The DVD also features a detailed and informative essay by historian David Pierce, an extensive collection of stills, promotional materials, and music cue sheets, and details of cuts made to the film, including two deleted scenes that are among the best moments the film has to offer. Want more info?  Try Movie Review Query Engine.

Uncle Tom's Cabin directed by Pollard, Harry A. (Kino International, 1927) 111:50 mins available as streaming video from Silent Film Online via Alexander Street Press.

Underworld (1937) / Sack Amusement Enterprises ; [presented by] Alfred N. Sack ; produced and directed by Oscar Micheaux.  Burbank, Calif. : Hollywood's Attic, [1996]  1 VHS videocassette (80 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.N4 U63 1996 Videocassette : A young Black man who recently graduated from a Southern college is persuaded to come to Chicago with a gambler. He travels in Black underworld circles, falls for a vamp and is framed for murder before finding a better life.  Adapted from a story Chicago after midnight by Edna Mae Baker.  Cast : Bee Freeman, Sol Johnson, Ethel Moses, Oscar Polk, Lorenzo Tucker. Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series.

Unforgiven / Warner Bros. presents a Malpaso production.  Burbank, Calif. : Warner Home Video, c2000.  1 DVD videodisc (127 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.W4 U543 2000 VideoDVD : Two retired outlaws (Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freedman) take up their guns one last time to collect a bounty offered by a group of prostitutes seeking revenge, and run up against the sadistic sheriff (Gene Hackman) of Big Whiskey Montana.

Vampire in Brooklyn / Paramount Pictures presents an Eddie Murphy production ; a film by Wes Craven.  Hollywood, Calif. : Paramount Pictures, c2001.  1 DVD videodisc (102 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.C55 V424 2001 VideoDVD  :  Eddie Murphy's got the bite in this movie mix of bone-chilling horror and chill-out comedy directed by Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street). As the vampire Maximillian, the popular star is the most diabolical, dashing and definitely undead dude in the 'hood. To add to the macabre fun, Murphy morphs into two other must-see characters: a paunchy preacher and a fast talking thug. Angela Basset (Waiting to Exhale, What's Love Got To Do With It) plays the cop whose world is rocked by Maximillian's attempts to make her his mate for eternity. And Kadeem Hardison (TV's A Different World) is the haplessly decaying vampire's sidekick who (a hand here, and ear there) is forever losing things. Brooklyn may be home to the undead now that Max is around-but means it's livelier than ever! 

Veiled Aristocrats  (1932) / a Micheaux production. Burbank, Calif. : Hollywood's Attic, 1996.  1 videocassette (50 min.) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.R23 V45 1996 Videocassette : Twenty years after leaving home, John Walden returns, having achieved his ambition to become a lawyer. He and his mother, Molly, discuss the marital situation of his sister, Rena, and the racial complications it poses. Molly asks John to break up Rena's romance with Frank because she disapproves of him and wants her daughter to marry a man of more refinement. Eventually, after trying to live the life her family desires for her, Rena renounces trying to pass for white, and is reunited with Frank.  Cast : Laura Bowman, Lorenzo Tucker, Barrington Guy, Lawrence Chenault, Walter Fleming, Lucile Lewis, Carl Mahon, Bernadine Mason. Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series.

Selected Feature Films, W-Z

All African American feature films, either featuring African American studies themes or African American actors,  are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.  Movies can be checked out unless reserved for a class.

Waiting to Exhale  / Twentieth Century Fox presents a Deborah Schindler/Ezra Swerdlow production ; directed by Forest WhitakerBeverly Hills, CA : FoxVideo, c1996. 2 laserdiscs (123 min.) : sd., col. ; 12 in. PS3563.C3868 W352 1996 Video (12 inch) disc : Savannah, Bernadine, Robin and Gloria are all searching for the Real Thing: true love. Bernadine thought she had it, until her husband left her for another woman. Savannah and Robin are successful in business but their love lives are bankrupt. And divorcee Gloria is getting back in the game by flirting with her new, very eligible neighbor. Cast : Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Lela Rochon, Loretta Devine.  1996 NAACP Image Award winner.

The Waterdance (1991)  [Burbank, Calif.] : Columbia TriStar Home Video, 1992. 1 videodisc (laser optical) (106 min.) : sd., col. ; 12 in. PN1997 .W39 1991 Video (12 inch) disc : A talented young writer is permanently paralyzed in a hiking accident and must graduate from a physical rehabilitation center in order to return to the "real" world.  Cast : Eric Stoltz, Wesley Snipes, William Forsythe, Helen Hunt, Elizabeth Peña.

The Watermelon Man (1970)  (1:39 mins.)  Streaming video available from Crackle.  : A bigoted white insurance agent turns black overnight, learning first-hand about racism in America.

The Watermelon Woman  / written and directed by Cheryl Dunye ; produced by Barry Swimar, Alexandra Juhasz ; Dancing Girl Productions.  New York, NY : First-Run Features, c1997.  1 DVD videodisc (93 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.L48 W37 1997 VideoDVD  : Set in Philadelphia. Cheryl is a 25 year old, black, lesbian film maker struggling to make a documentary about Fae Richards, a beautiful and elusive 1930s, black film actress, popularly known as 'The Watermelon Woman.'  Cast : Cheryl Dunye, Guinevere Turner, Valarie Walker, Lisa Marie Bronson.

What's Love Got To Do With It (1993)  / Touchstone Pictures.   [United States] : Touchstone Home Video ; [Burbank, Calif.] : Distributed by Buena Vista Home Video, [1994]  1 laserdisc videodisc (118 min.) : sd., col. ; 12 in.  ML420.T95 W47 1994 Video (12 inch) disc : The turbulent relationship of Ike and Tina Turner eventually forces Tina to leave and find the courage to believe in herself.  Cast : Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Search Engine.

Where's My Man To-nite (1943) / a Bourgeois-Jenkins picture. Burbank, Calif. : Hollywood's Attic, c1996.  1 videocassette (ca. 80 min) : sd., b&w ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.N4 W47 1996 Videocassette : A reluctant Army draftee breaks all the training rules but manages to catch Japanese spies and also to find his long lost father. Cast : Emmet Jackson, George T. Sutton, L.K. Smith, Myra J. Hemming, Hugh Martin, Georgia Kelly, Clarissa Deary.Emmet Jackson, George T. Sutton, L.K. Smith, Myra J. Hemming, Hugh Martin, Georgia Kelly, Clarissa Deary. Part of the Black artists of the silver screen series.

White Men Can't Jump (1992)  / a Ron Shelton film ; Twentieth Century Fox.  [Beverly Hills, CA : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment : Distributed by] FoxVideo, [1996]  1 VHS videocassette (115 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  PN1995.9.B29 W47 1996 Videocassette : Comedy about a pair of basketball hustlers who team-up to play their way across the courts of Los Angeles.  Cast : Woody Harelson, Wesley Snipes, Rosie Perez.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Search Engine.

Wild Wild West (1999) / Warner Bros. in association with Todman, Simon, LeMasters Productions ; produced by Jon Peters and Barry Sonnenfeld ; screenplay by S.S. Wilson ... [et al.] ; directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.  Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, c1999.  1 DVD videodisc (116 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.C55 W554 1999 VideoDVD : Wild, wild laughs, adventure and special-effects wizardry abound when megastar Will Smith reteams with the director of "Men in Black." Smith is agent James West, leading sidekick Artemus Gordon (Kevin Kline) and a sexy adventuress (Salma Hayek) on a perilous assignment: stop Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh) and his contraption-driven plot to establish a Disunited States of America.

WildCats  (1986) / Warner Bros. presents a Hawn/Sylbert production ; a Michael Ritchie film ; written by Ezra Sacks ; produced by Anthea Sylbert ; directed by Michael Ritchie.  Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, [2006], c1986.  1 DVD videodisc (107 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.S67 W55 2006 VideoDVD : Goldie Hawn plays a physical education teacher who gets a chance to coach an inner-city high school football team. If that sounds contrived, it is, but in the hands of director Michael Ritchie (Smile), the jokes all fire, and there's plenty of comedy teased out in details. (The cheerleading squad has some funny moments just belting out their morale-boosting chants.) The supporting cast has a couple of significant up-and-comers: Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes.  Cast : Goldie Hawn, James Keach, Swoosie Kurtz.

Within Our Gates (1920)  79 minutes, see The African American Cinema  : This film is one of the earliest surviving examples of a film by an African American filmmaker. Sylvia Landry is engaged to a black soldier, but her rival Alma Pritchard arranges for him to catch Sylvia in an innocent but compromising situation. No longer engaged, she moves to the South to work as a teacher in an all-black school. When the school has financial problems, she returns to Boston to raise money for it. There, she is befriended by a white doctor, Dr. Vivian, who falls in love with her. In a flashback, her rival tells the doctor how Sylvia lost her family. Sylvia's father was unjustly accused of murder, and her parents were lynched. Micheaux was not a great artist, but his films are important because they dealt with issues that the mainstream white studios ignored.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Search Engine.

Within Our Gates (1920) (79 mins.)  Streaming video via Matinee Classics : Directed by Oscar Micheaux.  Cast: Evelyn Preer, Flo Clements, James D. Ruffin, Jack Chenault, William Smith and Charles D. Lucas.  Southern negro Sylvia Landry visits her cousin Alma in the north, where there is less racial prejudice than in her home town of Piney Woods in the deep south, and is anxiously awaiting her fiancé, Conrad. But Alma has designs on Conrad and tricks Sylvia into a compromising situation when he arrives, and he abandons her. Disheartened, she returns to Piney Woods to help a reverend running a school for young negroes. Sylvia learns that the reverend hasn't the heart to turn away poor students, and unless he can raise $5,000 to supplement the $1.49 per child per year that the state supplies, the school will be closed. She goes up north again to try to raise the money and has little success, but meets kindly negro, Dr. V. Vivian, who helps her regain her stolen purse. When she saves a child from being hit by an auto, she herself is slightly injured. But the owner of the car is philanthropist Mrs. Elena Warwick, who is sympathetic to her quest and promises to donate the $5,000 to the school. Her bigoted southern friend, Mrs. Stratton, tries to talk her out of the donation, and Mrs. Warwick gets so incensed she raises the amount to $50,000. Her job done, Sylvia returns to Piney Woods. But Dr. Vivian has fallen in love with Sylvia and goes to Alma to try to find her. There he learns the shocking details of her past and that of her family.

The Wiz (1978) / Universal ; a Motown production ; screenplay by Joel Schumacher ; produced by Rob Cohen ; directed by Sidney Lumet. Universal City, CA : Universal Studios, c1999. 1 DVD videodisc (135 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.M86 W59 1999 VideoDVD : A discontented kindergarten teacher living in Harlem is lost in a blizzard and comes upon the wonderland of Oz. There she meets new friends, tries to find her way home, and finds that her life is not so bad after all.  Certainly one of the grandest versions of L. Frank Baum's classic tale The Wizard of Oz, filmed in New York City. The production team created sets with a sense of urban magic and spectacle: a New York subway station literally comes to life, and the massive plaza between the World Trade Center towers is transformed into the Emerald City, featuring nearly 400 dancers with three costume changes. Like all good musicals, the Quincy Jones arrangements are highly hummable long after viewing (especially the funky "Ease On Down the Road" and the inspirational "Brand New Day"). In an era before MTV, the camera stays nearly stationary as Ross and Lena Horne vocally soar through their numbers. Their stage-like performances successfully make the leap to film, making The Wiz a testament to their singing talents and star presence.   Cast - Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsy Russell, Richard Pryor, Lena Horne, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Theresa Merritt, Thelma Carpenter.  Want more info?  Try Movie Review Search Engine.

A Woman Called Moses (1978) / directed by Paul Wendkos ; written for television by Lonne Elder III ; produced by Ike Jones, Michael Jaffe.  Santa Monica, CA : Xenon Pictures, c2001.  1 DVD video (200 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.   PS3558.E4514 W62 2001 VideoDVD : Narrated by Orson Welles, this 1978 made-for-TV movie stars Cicely Tyson as Harriet Tubman, who founded the Underground Railroad. At the risk of being recaptured, the abolitionist and former slave helped hundreds of enslaved African-Americans find their way to the freedom of the promised land: the northern states. Tubman also conducted reconnaissance for the Union Army and later became influential in the women's suffrage movement.  Cast : Cicely Tyson, Orson Welles, Will Geer, Robert Hooks, James Wainwright.  Warning : reviews say this recording of the tv movie, transferred to dvd, is poor quality, but the story is worth telling.  Also available via Netflix.  Want more info?  Try the Internet Movie Database.

The Women of Brewster Place (1988) / Xenon Entertainment Group ; produced by Patricia K. Meyer and Reuben Cannon ; teleplay by Karen Hall ; directed by Donna Deitch ; Phoenix Entertainment Group, Inc. ; Harpo Productions, Inc. ; King Phoenix Entertainment.  [United States] : Hearst Entertainment Inc. ; Santa Monica, CA : Distributed by Xenon Pictures, c2011.  1 DVD (182 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PS3564.A895 W66 2011 VideoDVD :  Based on Gloria Naylor’s “novel in seven stories,” the telefilm of The Women of Brewster Place explored the lives of seven women who reside in a decaying tenement on a dead-end street in an unnamed Northern city. A brick wall at the end of the street, erected as a result of political and economic machinations, separates them from the rest of the world. As the women come to know and trust each other, though, they rediscover the essential solidarity -- the sisterhood -- that is lacking in their lives. In the end, they break down the wall, both literally and metaphorically; and its destruction leads to their healing and rebirth. Each of the women has a separate identity, but all blend fluidly as they form an extended family. Their personal histories share certain commonalities: discrimination, racism, and above all, violence and abuse at the hands of men. Yet the suffering that the women share affords them a kind of redemption. The young unwed Mattie (played by Oprah Winfrey, who also co-produced the telefilm) is taken in off the street by Miss Eva, a complete stranger, who helps to raise Mattie’s son as if he were her own. Later Mattie, assuming Eva’s matriarchal role, performs a similar act of generosity towards Ceil. Their maternal bond is typical of the relationships in the film. For example, single, affluent Kiswana -- who moves to Brewster Place as part of her social rebellion -- befriends poor, uneducated Cora Lee and prompts her to aspire to new goals for herself and her children. And the heterosexual but celibate Mattie helps libertine Etta Mae understand the affection between lesbians Lorraine and Theresa by admitting that all of her life she too has loved women, albeit in a non-sexual way. Adapted from Naylor’s popular novel and brought to the screen by female director Donna Deitsch and screenwriter Karen Hall, The Women of Brewster Place opened up questions about the nature of women’s experience. It also violated familiar expectations of black women. Not defined merely by their sexuality or their relationship to white employers, the telefilm’s characters demonstrate their individual and collective strengths and confirm that the notion of family, consistent with the black female literary tradition, encompasses more than mere blood ties.  Source : Separate Cinema.

 A Worn Path (1999) / Harcourt Brace College Publishers presents ; a Bruce R. Schwartz film ; producer, Joseph M. Davis ; adapted for the screen and directed by Bruce R. Schwartz.  Princeton, NJ : Films for the Humanities & Sciences, c2004.  1 videodisc (32 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PS3545.E6 W66 2004 VideoDVD   : On a "bright, frozen day" in Mississippi, 95-year-old Phoenix Jackson makes her mythic journey into town for the medicine her grandson needs. Touching upon themes of family, love, aging, and poverty, this dramatization of Eudora Welty’s classic story "A Worn Path" provides both a heroic image of the human spirit enduring against tremendous odds and a poignant commentary on the African-American experience. An interview with Welty herself by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley concludes the program.    YouTube, part 1 (11 minutes). YouTube Tralier, part 2 (11 minutes).  Interview with the author of the short story, 9 minutes.

Subject Guide

Want to Make a Suggestion?

Feel free to recommend your favorite documentary or feature film for acquisition by the library. 

Better yet the Library will be happy to accept donations and they are tax deductible too!

Contact Jon Harrison.

Black Cowboy Films

Not only did Hollywood ignore black cowboys, it plundered their real stories as material for some of its films.

The Lone Ranger, for example, is believed to have been inspired by Bass Reeves, a black lawman who used disguises, had a Native American sidekick and went through his whole career without being shot.

The 1956 John Ford film The Searchers, based on Alan Le May's novel, was partly inspired by the exploits of Brit Johnson, a black cowboy whose wife and children were captured by the Comanches in 1865. In the film, John Wayne plays as a Civil War veteran who spends years looking for his niece who has been abducted by Indians.

Black cowboys in the movies

  • Herb Jeffries (who darkened his skin) and Spencer Williams in Harlem on the Prairie (1937)
  • Woody Strode in Sergeant Rutledge (1960)
  • Bill Cosby and Yaphet Kotto in Man and Boy (1971)
  • Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte in Buck and the Preacher (1972)
  • Cleavon Little in Blazin' Saddles (1974)
  • Danny Glover in Silverado (1985)
  • Morgan Freeman in Unforgiven (1992)

Source : Sarfraz Manzoor, "America's forgotten black cowboys", BBC News Magazine, March 22, 2013.

Slavery Films

Hollywood’s Slavery Films Tell Us More About the Present Than the Past : Dexter Gabriel, Colorlines, January 9, 2013.

10 Things You Should Know About Slavery and Won’t Learn at ‘Django’ :  Imara Jones, Colorlines, January 9, 2013.

Black Women Film Directors

Behind the Lens : Black Women in Film.  Courtesy of Separate Cinema.

Sisters in Cinema : African American Women Feature Film Directors

Tressie Souders' film A Woman's Error (1922) is believed to be the first film by a black woman in the US.  In her memory a Tressie Souders Film Society has been created to honor works of film and video by and/or featuring Black women in non-stereotypical and non-pornographic roles, and to support the film exhibition efforts of the International Black Women’s Film Festival.

Race Movies

Black Cast (or Race) films by Matinee Classics.

Indiana University Black Film Center/Archive

The Indiana University Black Film Center/Archive  does not loan films, but has an extensive acquistion list to review.

Ask a Librarian


Try the MSU Library Ask a Librarian Service available via chat, IM, email, phone, and in person at the reference desk.

  • Call MSU: (517) 355-1855
  • Visit:
  • MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer.
Michigan State University