Pioneers of African-American Cinema – Blu-ray Edition

pioneers of african american cinemaA huge (5 discs) and important collection of the pioneers of African-American  cinema. These were the men and women that paved the way for today’s black directors and actors/actresses. If you are interested in Black or film history then this is a must-see.


What many out there might not know is that during the era of 1920s until the 1940s race films were quite numerous and popular. I am not referring to mainstream films or those that came out of Hollywood, these were independently produced films written, directed and starring black actors. In Hollywood these types of films were not being made but that did not mean they were not out there to be found. Not under the thumb of the big studios these filmmakers could make the films they wanted to making no concessions to the man.


Amazingly these black filmmakers were the inspiration used by those working later in the French New Wave, American independent films and L.A. rebellion movements. They made their mark and it was a lasting one. The innovative stories and filming styles of Spencer Williams, James and Eloyce Gist and Oscar Micheaux influenced many who came after them.


Previously if you could get your hands on these films they were of a poor quality. For this collection they have been lovingly restored. There is around twenty hours of material, including sixteen feature length films, to see and the films cover a wide range of topics and styles.


A collection like this is long overdue and gives film fans a chance to learn and enjoy a large and underappreciated slice of American film history.




Disc One (Total Running Time 282 minutes):

Two Knights of Vaudeville

Ebony Film Co., 1915. 11 minutes. Music by Donald Sosin


Mercy the Mummy Mumbled (BLU-RAY ONLY)

Ebony Film Co., 1918. 12 minutes. Music by the Alloy Orchestra.


A Reckless Rover

Ebony Film Co., 1918. 14 minutes. Music by Donald Sosin.


Within Our Gates

Oscar Micheaux, 1920. 73 minutes. Music by DJ Spooky.


The Symbol of the Unconquered: A Story of the KKK

Oscar Micheaux, 1920. 59 minutes. Music by Max Roach.


By Right of Birth

Lincoln Motion Picture Co., 1921. 4 minutes. Music by Donald Sosin.


Body and Soul

Oscar Micheaux, 1925. 93 minutes. Music by DJ Spooky.


Screen Snapshots (Micheaux footage, 1920, 1 minute)

Bonus: An Introduction (7 minutes)

Bonus: The Films of Oscar Micheaux (8 minutes)


Disc Two (Total Running Time – 259 minutes):


Richard E. Norman, 1923. 11 minutes. Music by Donald Sosin.


The Flying Ace

Richard E. Norman, 1928. 65 minutes. Music by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.


Ten Nights in a Bar Room

CPFC, 1926. 64 minutes. Music by Donald Sosin.


Rev. S.S. Jones Home Movies

Rev. Solomon Sir Jones, 1924-1926. 16 minutes. Music by Andrew Simpson.


The Scar of Shame

Frank Peregini, 1929. 86 minutes. Music by Makia Matsumura


Bonus: The Color Line (5 minutes)

Bonus: Ten Nights in a Bar Room – An Introduction (4 minutes)

Bonus: About the Restoration (8 minutes)


Disc Three (Total Running Time – 253 minutes):

Eleven P.M.

Richard Maurice, 1928. 60 minutes. Music by Rob Gal.


Hell-Bound Train

James and Eloyce Gist, 1930. 50 minutes.

Restored by S. Torriano Berry. Music by Samuel Waymon.


Verdict Not Guilty

James and Eloyce Gist, 1934. 8 minutes.

Restored by S. Torriano Berry. Music by Samuel Waymon.


Heaven-Bound Travels (BLU-RAY ONLY)

James and Eloyce Gist, 1935. 15 minutes.

Restored by S. Torriano Berry. Music by Samuel Waymon.


The Darktown Revue

Oscar Micheaux, 1931. 18 minutes.


The Exile

Oscar Micheaux, 1931. 78 minutes.


Hot Biskits

Spencer Williams, 1931. 10 minutes.


Disc Four (Total Running Time – 272 minutes):

The Girl from Chicago

Oscar Micheaux, 1932. 70 minutes.


Ten Minutes to Live

Oscar Micheaux, 1932. 58 minutes.


Veiled Aristocrats

Oscar Micheaux, 1932. 48 minutes.



Oscar Micheaux, 1938. 73 minutes.


Bonus: Veiled Aristocrats Trailer (4 minutes)

Bonus: Birthright Trailer (4 minutes)

Bonus: We Work Again (BLU-RAY ONLY) – WPA Documentary (1937, 15 minutes)


Disc Five (Total Running Time – 243 minutes):

The Bronze Buckaroo

Richard Kahn, 1939. 58 minutes.


Zora Neale Hurston Fieldwork Footage (excerpt)

Zora Neale Hurtston, 1928. 3 minutes.


Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940 (excerpt)

Zora Neale Hurston, 1940. 15 minutes.


The Blood of Jesus

Spencer Williams, 1941. 56 minutes.


Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A.

Spencer Williams, 1946. 60 minutes.


Moses Sisters Interview

Pearl Bowser, 1978. 32 minutes.


Bonus: Texas Tyler Promo Film with Ossie Davis (1985, 6 minutes)

Bonus: The Films of Zora Neale Hurston (2 minutes)

Bonus: The Films of Spencer Williams (7 minutes)

Bonus: The End of an Era (4 minutes)

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