Edited by Azizi Powell
This is Part I of a two part series about stereotypical images in the 1937 "A Day At The Races" movie's Lindy Hop dance scene.
Part I presents information about the American movie "A Day At The Races" and showcases three film clips (videos) from that 1937 movie.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/10/black-stereotypes-in-1937-movie-day-at_9.html for Part II of this series. Part II provides an excerpt of a 2011 thesocietypages.org/socimages.com blog post entitled "Race, Appropriation, & Lindy Hop: How to Honor our Heroes" as well as selected comments from that article's discussion thread. With the exception of two comments, the comments that are quoted in that post were written by me.
The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all those who are featured in these film clips. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these film clips on YouTube.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE MOVIE "A DAY AT THE RACES"
"A Day at the Races (1937) is the seventh film starring the three Marx Brothers, with Margaret Dumont, Allan Jones, and Maureen O'Sullivan. Like their previous Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer feature A Night at the Opera, this film was a major hit.
Hugo Z. Hackenbush (Groucho Marx) is a veterinarian who is hired as chief of staff for the Standish Sanitarium, owned by Judy Standish (Maureen O'Sullivan), at the insistence of her most important patient, the wealthy Mrs. Emily Upjohn, (Margaret Dumont), who insists on being treated only by Dr. Hackenbush. The Sanitarium has fallen on hard times, and banker J.D. Morgan (Douglas Dumbrille) is attempting to gain control of the sanitarium in order to convert the building into a casino...
Meanwhile, Judy's beau, singer Gil Stewart (Allan Jones), who performs in Morgan's nightclub, has spent his life's savings on a racehorse named Hi-Hat. His hope is that the horse, which he purchased from Morgan, will win a big race and the money will allow Judy to save the sanitarium. Unfortunately, he now has no money to pay for the horse's feed, and he and Tony (Chico Marx), who works for the sanitarium, and Stuffy (Harpo Marx), Hi-Hat's jockey, have to resort to trickery to fend off the Sheriff (Robert Middlemass)....
The songs in the film, by Bronislaw Kaper, Walter Jurmann, and Gus Kahn, are "On Blue Venetian Waters", "Tomorrow Is Another Day," and "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" (which features Ivie Anderson from Duke Ellington's orchestra)....
The film also features a lindy hop dance sequence set to the tune of "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm", and featuring Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, including Willamae Ricker, Snookie Beasley, Ella Gibson, George Greenidge, Dot Miller, Johnny Innis, Norma Miller and Leon James. The dance sequence was nominated for the short-lived Academy Award for Best Dance Direction."...
Example #1: A day at the races 1
Ugacchio, Published on Jul 17, 2013
Se ami il lindy-hop, questo ti piacerà !
Vero antiquariato (1937)
Example #2: Lindy Hop - Marx Brothers Day at the Races 1937
Savoy Hop Published on Jan 30, 2014
A Day at the Races (1937) is the seventh film starring the three Marx Brothers, with Margaret Dumont, Allan Jones, and Maureen O'Sullivan.The film also features a lindy hop dance sequence set to the tune of "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm", and featuring the Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, including Willamae Ricker, Snookie Beasley, Ella Gibson, George Greenidge, Dot Miller, Johnny Innis, Norma Miller and Leon James. The dance sequence was nominated for the short-lived Academy Award for Best Dance Direction
Note: This film clip is the Lindy Hop dance scene that is also included in the video given as Example #1. I'm including this video in part because of its summary statement.
Example #3: Who Dat Man? Why It's Gabriel! (A Day at the Races)
TurkleTone94, Published on Mar 25, 2015
Harpo Marx and friends in the iconic 1937 film A Day at the Races
Here's a summary of this scene that I wrote in 2011*
"The scene begins with a White pied piper figure [one of the Marx brothers who were stars of the movie] playing his flute for a White couple who ignore him. He then moves on to the barnyard where he interrupts Black girls jumping rope, and Black children otherwise at play-the longest focus is of boys engaged in the lower class pastime of shooting dice. The children ask "Who dat man?" and answer "It's Gabriel!' (as in the Biblical archangel) singing a Gospel tinged song and following behind the pied piper.
Unlike the White couple who brush the pied piper off, the Black children and adults quickly drop what they are doing, form a circle and dance for the pied piper, and supposedly for themselves."
*This summary is part of the excerpted comments that are featured in Part II of this series.
This concludes Part I of this two part series.
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