Attention vintage/jazz fans and any friend interested in cultural studies!
Last night, I attended a screening of pre-Code film clips, which included licentious & insensitive material galore… before the Motion Picture Production Code was mandated, they got up to some crazy stuff on screens! IMO, the most astonishing clip was the 20-minute “Rufus Jones for President” starring Ethel Waters and a *7-year-old* Sammy Davis Jr., whose star power is inescapable. I encourage you to watch the whole thing for context. Jazz-era vernacular dance fans will be especially rewarded by the final 3 minutes, which include some SUPER-HOT choreography! (Have any of you dance historians seen this before??)
There are many webpages dedicated to this short; allow me to highlight a few.
In a brief commentary, the Black Film Center/Archive links to a fascinating blog post on how the cast & contemporary black viewers may have viewed it at its release in 1933 (hint: as positive and aspiring, considering the dehumanizing racist assaults that were routine part of daily life).