Monday, April 19, 2021

Tag: 1940s

Mantan Moreland in Lucky Ghost movie poster
An all-black horror comedy starring Mantan Moreland and sometimes partner (and straight man) F.E. Miller, Lucky Ghost is amusing low-brow fare that exploits the more base, stereotypical elements of old-time black life (chicken thievin', gamblin', runnin' from ghosteses) for laughs -- sort of like the BET of its day....
Meeting at Midnight Charlie Chan movie poster
This Charlie Chan outing (Battle of the racial stereotypes!) isn't really horror, but Mantan Moreland's role is limited -- even in light of the time period -- to being spooked at the mere prospect of there being ghosts...which there weren't. Too bad, because the gag gets old quickly, with...
Midnight Menace horror movie poster
Midnight Menace is a 24-minute all-black musical showcase for Lollypop Jones, who apparently was a vaudeville singer and dancer back in the '40s. Unfortunately for us, he wasn't an actor. Jones stars as himself, a performer who shows up for a gig and goes to his dressing room (he...
Mighty Joe Young movie poster
Mighty Joe Young is basically "King Kong lite", from its tone (decidedly lighter) to the size of its gorilla (decidedly smaller) to the role of its black cast (decidedly less important). Like King Kong, the role of the black people in Mighty Joe Young is peripheral -- natives sharing...
Lon Chaney Jr. in The Mummy's Curse horror movie poster
This mummy film takes place not in Africa, but in Louisiana. Why? Gumbo perhaps? Napoleon Simpson plays (eesh) Goobie, who speaks in the exaggerated, stereotypical "massa" and "sho' 'nuff" style -- though not for comedic effect, which may be more offensive, depending on your point of view. He's not...
Revenge of the Zombies horror movie poster
A semi-sequel to King of the Zombies, Revenge of the Zombies is more like King of the Zombies Redux, with Mantan Moreland reprising his role as bug-eyed servant Jeff, albeit in a different location (Louisiana instead of the Caribbean) and with a different (albeit equally rigid) cast of characters....
The Scarlet Clue Charlie Chan movie poster
Like Meeting at Midnight, this is a Charlie Chan mystery that's marginally horrific, with its masked killer plot line (not to mention the Caucasian Asian speaking pidgin English and his bug-eyed, scaredy-cat black manservant). Somehow, I find Mantan's being scared of a tangible killer here more acceptable than his...
Boys of the City movie poster
Boy, this ranks up there with Curse of the Voodoo in the "Most Likely to Be Boycotted by Al Sharpton" category. Lone black East Side Kid Scruno (Ernest "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison) is the butt of so many racial jokes, it's almost fascinating -- like a time capsule of how...
Bela Lugosi in Spooks Run Wild horror movie poster
The East Side Kids were a bunch of lovable street toughs (now known as a "gang") who starred in a series of films in the '40s as a spin-off of the similar (though more serious) Dead End Kids pics (They would later also spin off the Bowery Boys.). Former...
The Ghost Breakers horror movie poster
Four decades before Ghostbusters, Bob Hope and his "boy" (as he's billed in the film's trailer) Willie Best were The Ghost Breakers, investigating a haunted house in Cuba in this remake of a lost 1922 Wallace Reid film called The Ghost Breaker. Hope, to his credit, isn't as demeaning...