Harlem Double Feature: Girl in Room 20/God's Step Children [DVD]

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Girl in Room 20
This all-black film was specifically designed for what were once known as "colored" theatres. The title character, played by Geraldine Brock, is a country girl who journeys to New York. Her presence attracts every con man and hustler in the Big Apple. After being victimized and exploited by a number of disreputable types, Brock finally wises up-but not soon enough for a peaches 'n' cream happy ending. Yes, the director of Girl in Room 20 is the same Spencer Williams Jr. who played Andy Brown on the early-1950s TV series Amos 'N' Andy; and no, supporting actress Shirley Jones is not that Shirley Jones. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

God's Stepchildren
A light-skinned African-American girl, Naomi (Jacqueline Lewis), denounces her own race in this controversial melodrama produced, written, and directed by prolific black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. As a baby, Naomi was left by her mother at the home of a widow, Mrs. Saunders, and much confusion arose as to whether the child was black or white. When Naomi reaches her primary school years, she demostrates an intense hatred of blacks and attempts to ingratiate herself into white circles, eliciting accusations of aloofness from other children. Eventually, schoolteacher (Ethel Moses) takes umbrage to the girl's statement that "God didn't make Negroes" ("we're all God's children," Mrs. Cushinberry insists), Naomi spreads a false rumor that the teacher is having an affair with a married professor. A riot ensues, and Naomi is shipped off to a convent by her distraught mother (Alice B. Russell, Micheaux's wife). Returning to the family farm years later, a grown-up Naomi (Gloria Press) falls for her step-brother Jimmie (Carmen Newsome) and when she can't have him, ties the knot with a dark-skinned farmer whom she doesn't love and brands as "ugly" - leading to a disastrous marriage and a tragic fate for Naomi. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Geraldine Brock
  • Image coming soon
    John Hemmings
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