Harlem on the Prairie (1938)

Genres - Musical, Western  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Western  |   Release Date - Dec 9, 1937 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 54 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

As indicated by the title, Harlem on the Prairie was aimed at the "all-colored" theaters which flourished in the 1930s. The star of this musical western is Herb Jeffries, a former vocalist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra who might have been a major film personality in a more equitable world. Though the film takes place in an all-black west, the plot is indistinguishable from the many "white" B westerns of the era. Jeffries plays a heroic vigilante who hopes to purge the territory of the evil influence of big-city gangster Maceo B. Sheffield. Nightclub singer Connie Harris is the ingenue, Spencer Williams Jr. ("Andy" on TV's Amos 'N'Andy) contributes to the plotline as a glib-tongued medicine show huckster, and the comedy team of Mantan Moreland and Flournoy Miller provide the laughs. Very cheaply made, Harlem on the Prairie is nonetheless very watchable, if only because of the imposing presence of Herb Jeffries.



bad-guy, cowboy, damsel-in-distress, good-guy, prairie