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Princess Tam Tam [DVD] [1935]

Edmond T. Greville's Princess Tam Tam (1935), starring Josephine Baker and Albert Prejean, has been released by Kino International on DVD in a very handsome edition that needs little in the way of explanation or excuses for its quality. It is in better shape, in terms of surviving source materials, than the accompanying release of Zouzou. The full-screen (1.33-to-1) image is very slightly soft in some shots, but rich in contrast in all the right scenes, and there are few damaged frames or other flaws. The audio is consistent and clean, and mastered at a reasonably high volume level, though some viewers may want to give the latter a little bit of a boost. The subtitles are cleanly superimposed, with thin black borders around the white lettering to make them easily readable, and the 77-minute movie has been given a generous 12 chapters that cover the major plot points of the story. The main bonus feature is a 20-minute documentary called "Josephine Baker: The Films" devoted to her screen legacy and the history that it represents. Actress Lynn Whitfield, Baker's adopted son Jean-Claude Baker, critic Margo Jefferson, and historian Elizabeth Kendall all provide commentary, intercut with relevant shots and scenes from Baker's movies. The song selections from the main feature have also been excerpted for separate viewing, and there is a stills gallery as well. The disc opens automatically on a very easy-to-use multi-layer menu, which offers easy access to the movie and all of the supplements and bonus features.

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    Special Features

    • "Josephine Baker: The Films" (2005, 18 min.) includes interviews with Lynn Whitfield (actress, The Josephine Baker Story), Margo Jefferson (New York Times theatre critic), Elizabeth Kendall (dance critic and historian) and Jean-Claude Baker, Josephine Baker's adopted son and biographer
    • Song selections
    • Stills gallery
    • Optional English subtitles


    Princess Tam Tam
    Princesse Tam-Tam is a must-see for fans of legendary African-American entertainer Josephine Baker. Shunned by lily-white Hollywood, Baker made a name for herself in France as a cabaret entertainer, frequently comporting in the nude--all the while letting the audience know she didn't take herself, or anything else, too seriously. Princesse Tam-Tam is a satirical spin on the "Pygamalion" concept: An uninhibited African girl (Baker) poses as a serene Indian princess, through the auspices of author Albert Prejean. A romance develops between the two (a plot device expressly forbidden by Hollywood's rules against miscegenation on screen), while Prejean's unfaithful wife fumes. Written by Josephine Baker's then-husband Pepito Abatino, the French/Tunisian Princesse Tam-Tam was banned outright in the States; thanks to videotape, it is now more accessible than ever. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Josephine Baker
      Josephine Baker
    • Image coming soon
      Germaine Aussey
    • Albert Prejean
      Albert Prejean
    • Image coming soon
      Robert Arnoux
    • Viviane Romance
      Viviane Romance

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