With a Crooked Stick-The Films of Oscar Micheaux

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März 2004



With a "crooked stick," filmmaker Oscar Micheaux (1884--1951)sought to hit a "straight lick" by stressing the strategic importance ofclass mobility, or "uplift," for African Americans. A theme in all of hismore than 40 feature-length, black-produced, black-directed, black-cast, andblack-audience films, uplift would allow for the better things in life: fast carsand fancy clothes, freedom of belief, financial security, and an unencumberedintellectual life. Although racism was an impediment to uplift for Micheaux andother African Americans, race as a category was of a secondary order for him in thelarger game of class. In With a Crooked Stick, J. Ronald Green pursues this seemingcontradiction in a detailed analysis of each of Micheaux's 15 surviving films. Hepresents critical commentary on each film's plot and action and its contribution tothe overall theme of uplift. Readers will also find this an invaluable guide to thepreoccupations and features of Micheaux's remarkable career and the insight itprovides into the
African American experience of the 1920s and30s.


Introduction; Biographical Backstory; Within Our Gates (1920); Symbol of the Unconquered (1920); Body and Soul (1925); The Sound Era--Signifying with Music; The Exile (1931); The Darktown Revue (1931); Veiled Aristocrats (1932); Ten Minutes to Live (1932); The Girl from Chicago (1932); Murder in Harlem (1935); Underworld (1937); God's Step Children (1938); Birthright (1938-39); Swing! (1938); Lying Lips (1939); The Notorious Elinor Lee (1940); Conclusion Appendix One: Short Filmography; Appendix Two: Jubilee--African-American Spirituals; Appendix Three: Sources for Obtaining Micheaux's Films; Appendix Four: Review of Selected Websites


J. Ronald Green is Professor of Film Studies in the Department of History of Art at Ohio State University. He is author of Straight Lick: The Cinema of Oscar Micheaux (IUP, 2000).


"Following up on his outstanding Straight Lick: The Cinema of Oscar Micheaux (CH, Mar'01), Green focuses on 15 of the more than 40 all-black films the African American novelist-director made between 1919 and 1948. The biographical chapter sharply outlines the US racial context, Micheaux's challenges as a prototypical independent, and autobiographical elements in his films and seven novels. Between his treatment of the silents and the sound films, the author pauses to examine Hollywood's black-cast musicals, whose theme of spiritual uplift Micheaux always subordinated to class advancement. Anticipating the poststructuralists, Micheaux's brand of musical quotation .. directly serves his principal rhetorical concern: the treating of the disease of ethnic caricature. Despite a somewhat formulaic analysis of the films, Green clearly establishes Micheaux's unrelenting critique of white supremacism and black complicity, his strong and original style, and his promotion of moderation, independence, and ethical integrity for class uplift. Green argues that even the antithetical successes of Van Peebles/Burnett and Cosby/Winfrey/Singleton/Lee have not achieved an institutionalized cinema of the middle classes, a cinema worthy of Micheaux's prior accomplishment. Green appends an insightful study of African American spirituals to this learned, passionate, and persuasive study of a fascinating artist. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers."--M. Yacowar, University of Calgary , Choice , October 2004
EAN: 9780253217158
ISBN: 0253217156
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: März 2004
Seitenanzahl: 314 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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