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When Hollywood Went Black and Tan

Next month, vintage musicals Hallelujah, Green Pastures and Cabin In The Sky will debut on DVD as a Black History Month tie-in. Truthfully, all three suffer in varying degrees from their very dated portrayals of African-American spirituality, so it should be interesting to hear the commentaries on each film. I’ve never seen the early talkie Hallelujah, but that one piques my interest since it dates from the time when Irving Thalberg was greenlighting gutsy, non-traditional projects for MGM. Green Pastures is a bizarre 1936 opus from Warners with cast members speaking in stereotypical Southern dialect. Cabin In The Sky holds up well due to the dynamite starring trio of Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Ethel Waters and Lena Horne with direction by Vincente Minnelli. All three come out January 10!

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