in my quest for the perfect teaching musical, I've become obsessed with
BLACK AND TAN FANTASY, starring Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club
Orchestra. It's got this sort of amazing intersection of influences--part
Busby Berkeley, part German Expressionism....
The Kino collection, which recently released a 4-cassette collection of
these jazz shorts, does not offer much in the way of liner notes for these
films. (Or else, as is often the case, the liner notes have been
lost through the circulation of the cassettes to careless library
patrons--I'm not quite sure.) Dudley Murphy, who directed B
& T, also directed EMPEROR JONES and helped Leger with BALLET MECANIQUE.
That's about all I know so far...haven't had time to hep off to the
library for more. But I'm wondering if anyone on the list knows anything
about the intended audience of these Paramount shorts? Were they developed
for white audiences interested in jazz culture? For black audiences? Were
they "preview" films or main events? Were they considered avante-garde
experiments or mainstream narrative films?
University of Colorado-Denver
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