- SKU: 14124654
- Release Date: 12/07/2004
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- Digitally mastered
- Interactive menus
- Scene index
- Digitally enhanced audio 5.1
Also known as The Duke Is Tops, this is one of the best examples of the many all-black films made in the 1930s for what were then designated as "colored" theatres. Looking about 15 years old, Lena Horne plays the main attraction for the stage shows put on by a fellow named Duke (Ralph Cooper). When she gets a chance at a Broadway show, Lena swiftly severs all ties with Duke. But when Lena's big-time debut threatens to be a disaster, it is Duke who saves the day. The dialogue is for the birds, but The Duke Is Tops is aces when it comes to musical numbers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Black King
Also known as Harlem Big Shot, this all-black production is astonishingly racist even by 1932 standards. Lampooning Marcus Garvey's "Back to Africa" movement, the film stars A. B. Comatherie as Deacon Charcoal Johnson, a bombastic phony who exhorts his fellow black citizens to declare themselves free of their white oppressors and establish their own country (the United States of Africa!) To achieve this lofty goal, he establishes a fund-raising organization, collecting money from Harlem to Mississippi -- all the while intending to keep every penny for himself. Johnny Lee, best remembered as Algonquin J. Calhoun the lawyer on TV's Amos 'N' Andy, delivers a scene-stealing performance as the Count of Zanzibar. Lest anyone make the mistake of taking The Black King seriously, the producers include a scene in which the resplendently caparisoned Deacon Johnson and his black army parade down the street to the tune of Victor Herbert's "March of the Wooden Soldiers". ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
In this actioner, bounty hunter Sam Kellough, who is also an ex-cop, and an ex-ballplayer, is out to earn the $20,000 reward for the capture of Victor Hale, a psychotic killer wanted for beating a prison guard to death with a "riot glove." The villain is not as horrible as he seems. When the fugitive is not beating victims to a pulp, he is seen playing his guitar to impoverished children. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
Spirit of Youth
World heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis stars in Spirit of Youth. Often mistakenly referred to as a biography of Louis, the film is actually the fictional story of aspiring boxer Joe Thomas, who hopes to make millions in the ring. He does, but as consequence he falls into the hands of a predatory nightclub singer (Edna Mae Harris). Only after the femme fatale stomps on Joe's heart and smashes that sucker flat does he return to his virginal childhood sweetheart (Mae Turner). Clarence Muse and Mantan Moreland contribute excellent performances as, respectively, Joe's manager and best friend. Initially aimed at the "all-colored" theaters of the era, The Spirit of Youth proved popular enough to receive bookings in white movie houses. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Ralph Cooper - Duke Davis
- Lena Horne - Ethel
- Lawrence Criner - Doc Dorando
- Monte Hawley - Marshall
- Vernon McCalla - Mason