Paul Robeson and Nina Mae McKinney in
SANDERS OF THE RIVER
Tuesday, November 23
Introduced by Susan Robeson (via Zoom), biographer and granddaughter of Paul Robeson, and Executive Director of the Paul Robeson Foundation.
(1935, Zoltan Korda) Kiplingesque adventure, as native chief Paul Robeson’s “Bosambo,” married to princess Nina Mae McKinney, slugs it out with slavers under the tutelage of Brit commissioner Leslie Banks. Despite extensive location shooting, African-influenced score and Robeson’s “nobility that transcends the picture’s terms” (Pauline Kael), imperial-accented re-writes during production caused Robeson to walk out in protest during a preview. 35mm print courtesy Library of Congress.
With excerpt from KENTUCKY MINSTRELS (1934), courtesy Library of Congress. Both 35mm. Full program approx. 113 min.
“…A shocking homage to British colonial rule…Here…we find the great Robeson, not playing an African leader but a British puppet. And it’s neither easy nor pleasurable to watch. He does manage, however, to bring some stature and presence to an otherwise nightmarish stereotype. It is impossible not to like Paul Robeson, the man.”
– Donald Bogle