Thursday, June 30, 2022

Special Theme: Black Independents on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday in July

Daughters of the Dust
This July Turner Classic Movies will be showing movies with the Special Theme of Black Independents on Wednesdays. Neither the Silent Era nor the Golden Age of Hollywood were very golden for African Americans. The major studios gave Black actors very little in the way of meaningful roles, with many African American characters being little more than stereotypes. As a result, Black filmmakers had to make movies outside the major studios, movies with primarily Black casts free of the stereotypes so prevalent in the Hollywood movies of the time. Financing was often along the same lines as independent filmmaking remains today, and budgets were often low. With segregation existing throughout much of the United States in the Twenties, Thirties, and Forties, race films were almost always shown at Black theatres and in Black neighbourhoods. While race films would disappear in the early Fifties, Black independent filmmakers have continued making movies to this very day.

The films TCM is showing for the Special Theme on Black Independents range from the Silent Era to the 21st Century. The oldest is Oscar Micheaux's The Symbol of the Unconquered, dating to 1921.  The newest is the documentary Oscar Micheaux: The Superhero of Black Filmmaking, dating to last year. Viewers will definitely want to tune in Wednesday, June 6 when TCM will be showing Black independent movies from the Silent Era to the Forties. These include Oscar Micheaux's The Symbol of the Unconquered (1921), Powell Lindsay's Souls of Sin (1949), Richard E. Norman's The Flying Ace (1926), and Spencer Williams Jr.'s The Blood of Jesus (1941) and Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A. (1946).

Of course, TCM will also be showing more recent films on Wednesday nights in July. On July 13 Turner Classic Movies will be showing Bill Duke's The Killing Floor (1984), an American Playhouse film centred on two sharecrooppers who find jobs in the meatpacking industry in Chicago in the 1930s. It is on late, so viewers will want to set our DVRs. On July 20 TCM is showing Hollywood Shuffle (1987), Robert Townsend's excellent satire of African American stereotypes. Later that same night The Watermelon Woman, Cheryl Dunye's comedy about a video store employee who sets out to make a documentary about a 1930s actress best known for playing stereotypical Mammy roles, airs. On July 27, TCM is showing the classic Daughters of the Dust (1991). Directed by Julie Dash, the film follows a family of Gullah islanders in 1902. It is on fairly late, so viewers might want to set their DVRs.

Below is the schedule for Special Theme: Black Independents. All times are Central.

July 6
7:00 PM  Oscar Micheaux: The Superhero of Black Filmmaking (2021)
9:00 PM The Symbol of the Unconquered (1921)
10:15 PM Souls of Sin (1949)
11:30 PM The Flying Ace (1926)
12:45 AM The Blood of Jesus (1941)
2:00 AM Dirty Gertie from Harlem, U.S.A. (1946)

July 13
7:00 PM Compensation (1999)
8:45 PM Bless Their Little Hearts (1984)
10:15 PM I Will Follow (2010)
11:45 PM My Brother's Wedding (1983)
2:00 AM The Killing Floor (1984)

July 20
7:00 PM Hollywood Shuffle (1987)
8:45 PM Cane River (1982)
10:45 PM Losing Ground (1982)
12:30 AM The Watermelon Woman (1995)
2:00 AM
Sidewalk Stories (1989)

July 27
7:00 PM Medicine for Melancholy (2008)
8:45 PM Hunger (2008)
10:30 PM One False Movie (1991)
12:30 AM Emma Rae (1975)
2:15 AM Daughters of the Dust (1991)

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