Wednesday December 31, 2014

Richard Wright and Langston Hughes Go to the Movies

The Negro Soldier was received far more positively than Capra or its creators had anticipated. Richard Wright, whose novel Native Son had been published a few years earlier, attended the Harlem screening and told a reporter for the Brooklyn Eagle that before the picture started, he had written down thirteen offensive black stereotypes on the back of his program—Excessive Singing, Indolence, and Crap Shooting among them—and intended to make a mark next to each one as it appeared onscreen. He didn't check off a single box and told the reporter that he found the movie ”a pleasant surprise.“ Langston Hughes called the picture ”distinctly and thrillingly worthwhile,“ and New York's black paper the Amsterdam News marveled, ”Who would have thought such a thing could be done so accurately . . . without sugar-coating and . . . jackass clowning?“

-- from Mark Harris' “Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War.”  ”The Negro Soldier“ was one of the films in the ”Why We Fight" series, orchestrated and produced by Frank Capra. 

Posted at 04:39 AM on Wednesday December 31, 2014 in category Books  
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