Sunday, January 19
(1929, King Vidor) Vidor brought musicals into the open air with his talkie debut, a kinetic, soulful, all-black masterpiece shot in the backwoods of Texas cotton country, with authentic spirituals uneasily mingled with some jazzy Irving Berlin tunes. With Nina Mae McKinney, Victoria Spivey. 35mm. Approx. 109 min.
Plus The Black Network (1936), with Nina Mae McKinney and the Nicholas Brothers. 35mm. Approx. 20 min.
“Throughout this talking and spasmodically singing study one appreciates that Mr. Vidor knows his subject and it seems as though he permits some periods to drag just to add strength by contrast to his stirring episodes. Perhaps a few of the passages are a trifle dull, but in portraying the peculiarly typical religious hysteria of the darkies and their gullibility, Mr. Vidor atones for any sloth in preceding scenes.”
– Mordaunt Hall, The New York Times