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Of One Blood (1944) on DVD


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Actor :              Spencer Williams, Evelyn Preer

Director:           Spencer Williams

Genre:              Drama
Year:                1944
Studio:             Alpha Video
Length:            97 minutes
Released:        September 26, 2017
Rating:             NR
Format:            NTSC
Misc:                NTSC
Language:       English



Three young black boys -- Zebedee, Zion, and Zachariah -- flee the South after their parents are killed in a flash flood. Hopping a train, Zachariah is separated from his brothers, seemingly dying in a fall. Arriving in the big city, the two boys put themselves through school by hard work and determination. Zion becomes a lawyer, while Zebedee joins the police force. Soon they are working together to smash the bootlegging racket that holds the city in a death grip. But the man behind the criminal organization is the one person they never thought they d see again...

Billed as a tale of Negro Youth Runs Wild! , Of One Blood is written and directed by its star, Spencer Williams. A pioneering African-American filmmaker, the Louisiana-born Williams got his start in two-reel comedies for producer Al Christie. Striking out on his own, he began making films for racially segregated movie theaters that catered to black audiences. Williams usually wrote, directed, and starred in these films himself. Despite their low budgets, his pictures The Blood of Jesus (1941) and Go Down, Death! (1944) are now considered artful examples of early Black Cinema. But Williams found his greatest success when Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll chose him to play Andrew H. Brown in the television version of their radio hit Amos n Andy (1951-1955). Of One Blood had its premiere in New York in 1945, though some sources state that it was completed in 1944.

PLUS: Music Hath Harms (1929) & Oft in the Silly Night (1929): As the arrival of sound took Hollywood by storm, producer Al Christie enlisted the all-black, California-based Lafayette Players theatre company to star in his Darktown Birmingham series. These two-reel comedies were based on the (often politically incorrect) short stories of white author Octavus Roy Cohen. It was here that Spencer Williams got his start, learning his trade acting and sometimes even scripting. In Music Hath Harms, Williams is a musician offered $500 to play a clarinet solo. The only problem? He s never played the clarinet before. And in Oft in the Silly Night, Williams is a chauffeur who crashes the boss s car -- with his sexy daughter in it! Starring Spencer Williams, Evelyn Preer. Directed by Walter Graham, Arvid E. Gillstrom.


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