The Black Kino Fist: Black life as depicted in film history

Stormy Weather (1943)

"The annals of Hollywood are filled with movies that scrimp by on flimsy plots. But few of those movies are as significant - culturally or even historically - as Stormy Weather (1943), a dazzling entertainment with an all-black cast, set in a world of sophistication and glamour.

Stormy Weather was a world apart, even, from another picture released earlier that year, Cabin in the Sky: While that picture - the first big-ticket Hollywood film with an all-black cast -- certainly represented a leap of progress in terms of how people of color were represented in Hollywood cinema, its themes were somewhat biblical, pitching Lena Horne's bad gal against Ethel Waters' woman of virtue. Stormy Weather, set in a different milieu, the world of entertainers, didn't completely ignore the struggles faced by African Americans in midcentury America. But it cast those issues in a different light, presenting them as potentially surmountable with talent and hard work. The characters in Stormy Weather may struggle, but they want - and ultimately get - the same things that all Americans would have wanted at the time: Respect and remuneration for doing good work, enough money on which to live well, the love of a good man or woman. Is the plot of Stormy Weather 100 per cent realistic? Of course not. But the movie presents something more important than realism: It's a fantasy version of an America that might have been if Americans of all colors had, literally and figuratively, been sitting at the same table.'"

- Stephanie Zackarek for the New York Times

Status: Available for purchase.

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