Way Down South

A recognition of responsibilities for right conduct as between master and slave from a Christian perspective, and a naturalistic musical somewhat ahead of its time in that respect, with overtones of Brueghel etc.

This could have been half an hour longer, but it’s a masterpiece nonetheless. After the plantation overture, it gets down to business with an establishing shot of New Orleans that shows you exactly where Mary Poppins originated (the chimney sweep is played by Stepin Fetchit, if one is not mistaken).

It isn’t too much to say that Purlie Victorious is cognizant of some of its implications. The plot is generally similar to Fanny and Alexander (and Dickens and Twain). Alan Mowbray and Bobby Breen singing Louisiana (music Clarence Muse, lyrics Langston Hughes), Steffi Duna...

Matthew “Stymie” Beard is the incarnation of the innkeeper’s scamp in Twain’s “Sociable Jimmy”, who tells the traveler, “We ain’t got no cats heah, ‘bout dis hotel. Bill he don’t like ‘em. He can’t stan’ a cat no way. Ef he was to ketch one he’d slam it outen de winder in a minute. Yes he would. Bill’s down on cats. So is de gals—waiter gals. When dey ketches a cat bummin’ aroun’ heah, dey jis’ scoops him—‘deed dey do. Dey snake him into de cistern—dey’s been cats drownded in dat water dat’s in yo’ pitcher. I seed a cat in dare yestiddy—all swelled up like a pudd’n. I bet you dem gals done dat. Ma says if dey was to drownd a cat for her, de fust one of ‘em she ketched she’d jam her into de cistern ‘long wid de cat. Ma wouldn’t do dat, I don’t reckon, but ‘deed an’ double, she said she would.”


Resisting Enemy Interrogation

From the merest slips of word or gesture, Nazi military intelligence pieces together a bombing raid in advance by carefully deceiving a captured aircrew.

An amazing film on the highest level, assembled by Hollywood experts for the Army Air Forces.

Name, rank, and serial number.