Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Filmed in Memphis -- in 1929

Preston Johnson tips us on this upcoming release:

Warner Home Video has announced that King Vidor's wonderful 1929 film "Hallelujah!" is finally coming out on DVD.

This classic of the early film musical, with an all-black cast and songs by Irving Berlin, W.C. Handy and Stephen Foster, is noteworthy because large parts of it were shot in the Memphis area. Included are scenes on the Memphis riverfront, at the Wolf River (a stunning mass baptism) and in an Arkansas swamp.

Scheduled release date is 10 Jan. 2006.

Preston wrote a story about it 20 years ago worth checking out. He adds this comment:

In the article, I make the assertion that "Hallelujah" was "the first sound film wIth an all-black cast." This is not correct. Recently, I met John Kisch, curator of the Blaxploitation Film Poster exhibition at Stax, at that show's opening reception in February, and he pointed out that Fox Movietone's "Hearts in Dixie" (starring Stepin Fetchit) actually came out first, in March 1929 vs. August of that year for "Hallelujah!"

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