For each of these films, I’m including a line or two of my own comment and a link to the IMDB entry for the film (in the title).

The Birth of a Nation (1915). Directed by D. W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish and Mae Marsh. The first American blockbuster film, it presents a frighteningly one-sided view of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Lauded by then-President Woodrow Wilson, it was not only a historical spectacle, but a portrayal of contemporary racial attitudes.

The Dollmaker (1984). A made-for-TV movie starring Jane Fonda and Levon Helm. A White Southern family moves to Detriot with mostly tragic results.

The Grapes of Wrath (1940). Directed by John Ford, starring Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell. Ford’s adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel. Ford’s politics and Hollywood conventions result in many of the book’s punches being pulled, but it’s still powerful, with Fonda’s and Darwell’s performances leading the way.

.Goin’ to Chicago (link is to the film’s home page). A documentary sponsored by the University of Mississippi. Due to their pricing policies, I have not seen it and will not show it in class. Too bad, it looks interesting.

Jubilee Showcase  (link is to the film’s home page) This is a compilation of clips from the legendary Jubilee Showcase gospel TV show that aired in Chicago from 1963-1984. Not sure if we’ll have time for any of it in class, but there are a lot of historic performances documented here. Well worth watching.

The Promised Land (1995). This is a documentary loosely based on the Nicholas Lemann book of the same title, produced by BBC and the Discovery Channel and narrated by Morgan Freeman. It was aired as a TV miniseries with five one-hour episodes.

Up From the Bottoms (2009). This is a university-sponsored (Grand Valley State) documentary following the lives of Black Southern migrants who came to Muskegon, Michigan. The interviews are great, the Muskegon-centered concerns a bit narrow for our course. The film’s website is here – it’s worth seeing.

Within Our Gates (1920). Directed by Oscar Micheaux, starring Evelyn Preer. The first surviving film by the pioneering African-American director, whose career was in part inspired by the reception of Birth of a Nation.


One Response to “Filmography”

  1. Welcome to the Course, Part II: Films « The Southern Diaspora Says:

    […] posted a filmography (also linked under the “Pages” heading to your right) with info and links on these […]

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