Langston Hughes and Clarence Muse (screenwriters) WAY DOWN SOUTH (1939; 2nd release, 1949) Vintage original 41 x 27” (104 x 69 cm.) one sheet poster


USA.  [Hollywood]: Screencraft, [1948].  On linen, with a few surface abrasions, primarily on lower left, but with bright colors, very good-.
WAY DOWN SOUTH is the only theatrical feature film written by Langston Hughes (in collaboration with African American actor Clarence Muse, who also played the major supporting role of “Uncle Caton” in the film.)  Hughes and Muse intended to create a story about antebellum Louisiana, in which African Americans’ role in history could be more accurately portrayed.  The result was, inevitably, heavily compromised by the studio, but, nonetheless, this extremely rare title (both paper from it and the film itself, although it exists, is very hard to see) does document a forgotten moment in Hughes’ illustrious career.
Co-author Muse had an illustrious career, in which he repeatedly gave dignity to stereotyped servant roles in Hollywood movies.  Kisch, Separate Cinema, p. 92: “He had an uncanny ability to distinguish his characters by breathing realism and spirituality into the downhome family man persona he had been playing since…1929.”
All ephemera from this obscure little film are very scarce, and this poster, somehow, manages to be just as elusive as posters from the original 1939 release (and with an entirely different design). Richards 1242.

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