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movies with Blackface. Discussion will ensue.

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movies with Blackface. Discussion will ensue.

Old 11-27-05, 09:54 PM
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movies with Blackface. Discussion will ensue.

Well, I was watching Holiday Inn recently, and Bing Crosby's blackface sequence came on. It started a discussion. The only thread i could find that had any discussion was Al Jolson should have died hanging from his testicles. As you can see it was a little slighted from the get go. I don't want to discuss Jolsen, as much as all the movies where blackface performances are prominent.

Go ahead and state your views, how it was racist, or it was a diffrent time, or why can Murphy and Chapelle do it but...etc. But please, try to give some specific examples in film.



Al Jolsen
Old 11-27-05, 10:44 PM
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Why exactly do you want to know? Are you planning on watching them?

Well...check out the actor Stepin Fetchit. He was in this movie--and I really can't remember the title--where some seriously awful blackface took place (and if you don't know, the things Stepin Fetchit was made to do on camera were also just nasueating.. And not just blackface, but white people dressed up with stereotypical black features and hair pieces, etc. Without a doubt it was shameful. I just remember the actor who played many characters in the Wizard of Oz (he played Oz, the doorman, and the pyschic for Dorothy at the start of the film among others). He starred in this film and was engaging in blackface with other people.

Also, good link you posted. I read the responses there. While I understand that everything was a part of the times, I think this is different. I think there has to come a point where you look around and simply state, "is this right?" "Is what I'm doing wrong?" I don't think these people just forgot to do that. I think they made a conscious decision to not care and purposefully poke fun and belittle blacks with their actions (whether it was directly or indirectly). And while I totally understand it was "part of the time and culture" I just don't feel it's an excuse. Just because everyone else does it or that it's accepted does not mean it is right. And I know everyone in the mother was doing it back then, including people like Judy Garland. But just like in the days of slavery where you had abolishonists who made a personal a moral decision about the times, the same thing should have been going in during the blackface era.
Old 11-28-05, 12:57 AM
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can you give titles for the Fetchit, and Garland pictures. I just would like to see a collected list of these titles. I don't have a firm opinion at this point.

The holiday inn sequence is a strange piece, because (as many assume) blackface was wrong. However the song and dance number is about how great a man Lincoln was for abolishing slavery. They sing the praises of civil rights, and it is intertwined with true black actors.

I have been reading some books on/by african americans in film. Every debate from Birth of A nation as a masterpiece, to Spike vs. Quentin for the use of the word ******. All of this is up for healthy debate in other places.

Right or wrong, I stand firm that history should not be erased, or locked away. I mean no ill will, and hope that all conversations here stay rational and without racial hostility.
Old 11-28-05, 06:44 AM
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To be honest, I have never seen any movies with blackface actors. I haven't even seen Bamboozled. I think different people can take different things out of such movies and scenes. Some, regrettably, might even find it funny.
Old 11-28-05, 08:15 AM
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The recent DUKES OF HAZZARD film had a blackface sequence. Some in Hollywood still think it's funny.
Old 11-28-05, 08:28 AM
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Ted Danson has been working tirelessly to return blackface to the forefront of entertainment.
Old 11-28-05, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by PacMan2006
And I know everyone in the mother was doing it back then, including people like Judy Garland.
Yeah I was about to say, there was one movie I saw with Andy Rooney (Judy might've been in it) where he does this minstrel act. Forgot what this movie was called.

The Marx Bros briefly wear blackface in Day at the races.

And my dad swears he saw some movie that had John Wayne in blackface.
Old 11-28-05, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Mondo Kane
Yeah I was about to say, there was one movie I saw with Andy Rooney (Judy might've been in it) where he does this minstrel act. Forgot what this movie was called.
Please tell me you meant Mickey Rooney.

Did any of the Our Gang comedies have a blackface sequence? I think I remember one.
Old 11-28-05, 09:08 AM
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^lol

You can tell what I watched last night.
Old 11-28-05, 10:26 AM
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Don't forget Soul Man!
Old 11-28-05, 03:09 PM
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There is a blackface sequence in Swing Time with Fred Astaire paying homage to Mr. Bojangles (Bill Robinson) a very famous tap dancer that is not disrespectful or degrading in any way that I can tell.
Old 11-28-05, 04:21 PM
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I think Laurel and Hardy appeared in blackface once or twice. One film (I have it on VHS) was called Pardon Us.

The part where they wear it never strikes me as funny. It actually made me feel kind of weird and uncomfortable while it was on. I wasn't offended really...it just seemed strange and out of place.

I just chalk it up to being part of the times and I guess audiences found it funny back then. I don't get the appeal though.
Old 11-28-05, 04:26 PM
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Spike Lee's, " Bamboozled ". Black actors in blacker-face.
Old 11-28-05, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Charlie Goose
Please tell me you meant Mickey Rooney.
Slightly OT, but Mickey also gets credit, imho, for a slightly offensive Japanese caricature as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's...
Old 11-28-05, 05:38 PM
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Blackface isn't any different than Eminem, Elvis, swing music, or any number of hip - hop talkin', baggy pants wearing wannabees handing me my fries at the local BK, namely plundering another culture for financial and social gain. But on a deeper level, it speaks to the mindset of the times, and is oddly racist, demeaning, and reverential all at once. There's a dance sequence by Fred Astaire in "Swing Time" where he does an entire number in blackface as a tribute to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. He was completely baffled why anyone thought it was insensitive. I actually enjoy the musical number that the Marx Brothers perform in "A Day at the Races" even though it's very offensive. This wierd psychology is a legacy of slavery, and is so ingrained into the social fabric of the country that I am astonished even to this day at how much it permeates throughout early cinema and American culture
Old 11-28-05, 06:20 PM
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i think there is a major diffrence between someone taking the time to paint themselves in blackface, and a white kid at burger king trying to use ebonics. Taking music (with begining in african american culture) like Elvis, or marshall mathers have is diffrent than blackface.

At the same time, both can be seen as disrespectul.

thanks for the comments, keep the movie titles coming.
Old 11-28-05, 08:02 PM
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Laurence Olivier as Othello (1965) would be another example. Personally though, I don't think his performance is disrespectful/demeaning.
Old 11-28-05, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by NavinJohnson
Laurence Olivier as Othello (1965) would be another example. Personally though, I don't think his performance is disrespectful/demeaning.
Orson also did it in '52.
Old 11-28-05, 10:16 PM
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The documentary 'Noir Comment' depicts the use of Afro-American people in television history.

Many Blackfaces exemples are use.

Pretty deep and interesting subject though.
Old 11-29-05, 05:05 AM
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one of the b&w british hitchcock films had a short scene where the suspect was disguised in black face while performing on stage in a band. I can't remember for certain which film it was, but I think it might have been the first version of The Man Who Knew Too Much.... not 100% sure though.
Old 11-29-05, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by SPiRAL
Spike Lee's, " Bamboozled ". Black actors in blacker-face.

I haven't seen the movie but wasn't there a scene where white actor Michael Rapaport is in blackface?
Old 11-29-05, 09:16 AM
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I seem to remember at the climax of the film, an entire studio audience is in blackface.


off-topic: Giles, I'll get that program in the mail sometime before the end of the year...
Old 11-29-05, 10:14 AM
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Why is blackface more offensive than Joel Grey playing a Chinese in Remo Williams or Charleston Heston playing a Mexican in Touch of Evil?
Old 11-29-05, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Nick Danger
Why is blackface more offensive than Joel Grey playing a Chinese in Remo Williams or Charleston Heston playing a Mexican in Touch of Evil?

Or John Wayne playing a Mongolian in Ghingus Khan.
Old 11-29-05, 11:23 AM
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or Michael Clark Duncan playing the kingpin.

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