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Thursday, January 22, 2015


Saw the last of the Hollywood Musicals Festival at the Arsenal with Scandinavian Mulatto Muzlim Daniel Hendrickson.  Kino 1 was packed liked it is during The Berlinale for the rare screening of the 1943 all black musical Stormy Weather starring the incandescent Lena Horne who looks so much like my mother Mary Magdelene Duplantier.
The film also stars Bill “Bojangles”Robinson” Cab Callaway and his zoot suit, The Nicholas Brothers stealing the show in the final production number, Katherine Dunham, Ada Brown and Fats Waller.  The last time I saw the film was in the early 1970s when it was on TV so I forgot that it was fashioned as a semi biopic about the career of Bojangles.  Besides getting to see Ms. Horne in all her glamorous glory I was very impressed  by Fats Waller being allowed to be the queenly queen that he is.   Fats basically plays himself and I doubt if a mainstream audience of that time was aware that his references were towards people ‘in the life’ as they use to say in Harlem Renaissance days.  The blues singer Ada Brown is also a standout and I even liked the black face vaudeville bit by two black comics who darken their skin just a shade or two from their natural color which was oddly riveting. The films humour was so olde school its new school.  The Katherine Dunham ballet sequence was also intriguing, but the costumes for her gany male dancers was the ultimate in homo poovah.  Of the two all black musicals that came out in 1943 the other being Cabin in the Sky from MGM directed by Vincente Minnelli starring Ethel Waters I think I like Cabin better.  Cabin also features Lena Horne.  There is more of Ms. Horne in Stormy but when it comes to greatness no one can surpass Miss Ethel Waters.