August 1944: Minstrel Man

This is another B movie from that DVD box set. The transfer is pretty good here — while some of these have been sourced from torrents, this looks like a straight from film to DVD transfer. Hm… it might have been done via high quality video tape… There’s some typical tape ghosting going on.

It was nominated for a couple of music-related Oscars, and the music is indeed pretty good.

There isn’t much of a story here. It’s basically just a filmed “minstrel show” (i.e., white performers in blackface) with some not-very-developed drama to pad the movie out some.

The singing’s OK, but the “minstrel” comedy bits are offensively boring. All the jokes seem to be basically “aren’t those black people stupid, eh?”

But it’s not… horribly bad? I was entertained. Perhaps the biggest problem is the lead, Benny Fields, who is as expressive as a two by four. And probably as smart.

Plenty of good supporting performances keep the movie somewhat afloat. For instance, Judy Clark is so effervescently bubbling that you have to see it to believe it.

Minstrel Man. Joseph H. Lewis. 1944.

Popular movies in August 1944 according to IMDB:

33387.8Hail the Conquering Hero
29417.5The Pearl of Death
15977.5In Society
10487.0Black Magic
4906.8When Strangers Marry
7066.4Casanova Brown
3666.4The Doughgirls
7256.3The Great Moment
3826.2The Falcon in Mexico
2726.2Maisie Goes to Reno

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

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