Midnight Ramble: The Beginning Of Black Cinema Dubbed 'Race Movies'
Midnight Ramble is a 1994 documentary about the early history of Black American movies from the period between 1910 and 1950. Known as "race movies", these films, traditionally independent of Hollywood, were made primarily by, for and about the black community. This documentary is a tribute to a film genre that lasted for more than 40 years, produced over 500 movies, and created a foundation for contemporary films from directors such as Spike Lee and Tyler Perry. James Avery narrates this exploration of the early black film industry. There is a mistaken assumption that "race films" began largely in reaction to D. W. Griffith's 1915 The Birth of a Nation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Race movies actually began around 1910 in Chicago in response to the Black Community longing to see themselves reflected on the silver screen via this new medium of film. Wanting to see themselves through their own eyes, on their own terms thus counteracting the Hollywood stereotypes within the American media. The film focuses especially on the work of Oscar Micheaux, considered the "Dean of Black American film", a controversial filmmaker who wrote, produced, and directed over 40 features, and tackled difficult social issues in Black America. It includes clips from films by a number of African-American directors of the period, which is very helpful since many of these films are difficult to find or unavailable. There are two versions of the title of the documentary, both referring to the same work. Initially released in 1994 as, Midnight Ramble: Oscar Micheaux & the Story of Race Movies It was re-released as Midnight Ramble: The Story of the Black Film Industry by PBS in 1995 The 1995 version also eliminates the David McCullugh introduction. - wikipedia
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