Boardinghouse Blues (1948)

Genres - Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Comedy  |   Release Date - Jan 1, 1948 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Robert Firsching

Josh Binney directed this wonderful, nostalgia-soaked vaudeville revue with an all-black cast headed by the delightful Moms Mabley. Because films like this were aimed specifically at segregated inner-city black audiences, they were treated like disposable product by the studios, which offered them a surprising amount of leeway in terms of material. Drug jokes and sexual innuendos, which would surely have been censored in mainstream films in 1948, rub elbows with some truly bizarre novelty acts including a dancer with one arm and one leg, an acrobat dressed like a monkey, and a genial "let's put on a show to keep the wicked landlord from evicting us" plot line. Mabley does her usual comedy and tap dances, Bull Moose Jackson sings, and many popular African-American acts perform. Binney was something of an expert at films like this, having directed Hi-De-Ho for Cab Calloway, Killer Diller with Nat King Cole and Mabley, as well as this film within the space of a year or so.



African-American, entertainer, jokes, vaudeville