BOARDING HOUSE BLUES
Directed by Josh Binney
Starring Moms Mabely, Dusty Fletcher, The Berry Brothers, Lucky Millinder, Marcellus Wilson
DCP courtesy Library of Congress. Approx. 90 minutes.
“’Moms’ Mabely runs a theatrical boarding house but is always short of money because the tenants fail to pay. The landlord threatens to foreclose and throw everyone into the street unless a beautiful young singer, Lila Foster (Marie Cooke), will agree to marry him. The motley assortment of tenants stages a variety show to raise cash in an attempt to save both their homes and her honor...The bulk of the film’s music was supplied by Lucky Millinder and His Orchestra, featuring Bull Moose Jackson, Anistine Allen, and Paul Breckinridge, who were all appearing with him at the Apollo. But the film also features specialty numbers from Lewis and White, the remarkable ‘Crip’ Heard, and several other acts….It is clear that Fletcher, Mabley, and Millinder’s people are part of one narrative line, while the specialty acts were shot on an entirely different stage and spliced in to bring the running time up to eighty-seven minutes. Binney directed in his usual style, using several cameras and a minimum of editing.” – Richard Koszarski, “Keep ’em in the East”: Kazan, Kubrick, and the Postwar New York Film Renaissance.
Presented with support from the Robert Jolin Osborne Endowed Fund for American Classic Cinema.