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Green backdrop with embracing African-American couple in front
"Hallelujah!" (1929)

This Coming Thursday and Friday at the Packard Campus Theater (Feb. 29 and March 1, 2024)

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We close out the month of February, African-American History Month, with the first studio film with an all-black cast.  See “Hallelujah” on Leap Day.

 

Green backdrop with embracing African-American couple in front
“Hallelujah!” (1929)

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 29  @ 7:30 p.m.

Hallelujah (MGM, 1929)

One of the first film featuring an all-Black cast made by a major film studio.  The life and loves of a sharecropper are depicted. Daniel L. Haynes portrays Zeke, who id good hearted and morale but who ends up paying for others’ sins. Black and White, 100 minutes.  Added to the National Film Registry in 2008.  Also a selected short subject.

Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly dance against a plaid backdrop as kilt-wearing dances are seen in the foreground.
“Brigadoon” (1954)

FRIDAY, MARCH 1 @ 7:30 p.m.

Brigadoon (MGM, 1954)

Once every 200 years the Scottish town of Brigadoon comes alive with music and merriment the likes of which would twirl the starchiest of kilts!  Through mere luck, the most muscular of song and dance men (Gene Kelly) happens to be walking by.  From Oscar-winning director Vincente Minnelli (Gigi, An American in Paris), super producer Arthur Freed (Singin’ in the Rain), and with music and score by Alan Jay Lerner (Camelot, My Fair Lady). Movies like this don’t come by very often!  (Perhaps only once every 200 years?) Don’t miss it! Color, 108 minutes.

 

 

For more information on LC screenings, see this link.

 

Comments

  1. King Vidor was perhaps the quintessential Big Studio director who helmed popular films in just about every genre you can think of. But he had a sort of “independent filmmaker” side and wanted to make smaller film with no stars and themes that would not likely make for big “box office.” Curiously, his employer, MGM – the biggest of the big studios – agreed to provide the funding. THE CROWD (1928) was the first of his “social awareness” films and while it may not have made much money, it garnered extraordinary praise for MGM – and Vidor of course – for making it.

    HALLELUJAH (1929) was the second such film that MGM funded for Vidor. It was an early talkie and apparently the first African-American feature film that was produced by a major studio. Irving Berlin wrote a catchy song that captured the spirit of the film. It was called “Waiting at the End of the Road” and became a huge popular hit that was recorded by all of the big bands of that era. MGM found itself an “indie” filmmaker in spite of itself.

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