This detailed and well-organized filmography
has 1,324 entries spanning the years 1895 through 1959. In addition to feature films and short subjects, the book also lists
soundies (a short music feature, much like the music video of today), trailers, and documentaries. Included are films produced
in Hollywood as well as those produced by the U.S. government and by independents. The films that were chosen for inclusion
have a predominantly or entirely African American cast or are about African Americans.
Each entry includes all the information available for the designated title,
including production date, producer and director, production company, distributor, cast, b/w or color, type (feature, short,
etc.), sound or silent, genre (musical, drama, etc.), running time, plot synopsis, and review citations. Of course, not all
the information is available for every title listed. Entries range from a few lines of technical data to a chapter-by-chapter
synopsis of Zircon, a 1923 serial that was never released. Some entries treat films such as Cabin in the Sky
and Porgy and Bess, which may be familiar, but most will be a revelation to the majority of readers.
In addition to the film entries, the work includes five appendixes: actor
credits, film companies, director credits, producer credits, and a film chronology. In Appendix A, encompassing actor credits,
the film credits for more than 1,800 African American actors are listed, from the least known to established stars like Harry
Belafonte and Sidney Poitier. Since the aim of this work is to include predominately African American^-cast films, not all
of the films made by major African American stars are included.
The book is well illustrated with film posters that provide additional coverage
of the African American contribution to film. There is a comprehensive index. This is an excellent reference tool that belongs
in college, university, and public libraries. It would be a good companion to Frame by Frame (Indiana Univ., 1979)
and Frame by Frame II [RBB N 1 97], which list several thousand films made through 1994 in which African Americans
made contributions behind as well as in front of the cameras.
"clearly a labor of love....
Its 1,324 entries include detailed credits and plot synopses.... Film posters as illustrations lend a unique and charming