(African American film) THE GREEN PASTURES [1936] Set of 8 photos


[Los Angeles]: Warner Brothers, [1936]. Set of eight vintage original 8 x 10″ (20 x 25 cm.) black-and-white photos, six with mimeographed credits on verso. With later photo agency stickers or stamps on verso. A few with marginal chips, generally near fine.

The Green Pastures was the only Black cast film made by a major Hollywood studio in the 1930s. It is a 1936 American film depicting stories from the Bible as visualized by Black characters. The film starred Rex Ingram (in several roles, including “De Lawd”), Oscar Polk, and Eddie “Rochester” Anderson. It was based on the 1928 novel Ol’ Man Adam an’ His Chillun by Roark Bradford and the 1930 Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Marc Connelly.

Elements of the film were criticized by civil rights activists at the time and subsequently. In Donald Bogle’s Blacks in American Film and Television, he criticizes the film for its racial stereotyping, but then adds: “The actors transcend [the script]. Playing three different roles, Rex Ingram is a stately Lawd; he elevates the entire picture, giving it substance, weight, and durability.” (p. 100)

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