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Music Hath Harms

Spencer Williams & Roberta Hyson


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"An Early Race Talkie (1929)"


The 1929 two-reel comedy short "Music Hath Harms" was produced as part of Al Christie's "Darktown Birmingham" series featuring The Lafayette Players Stock Company. This early race "talkie" features an original story by Octavus Roy Cohn and a screenplay written by the film's assistant director and star Spencer Williams.


Spencer Williams - as Roscoe Griggers
Roberta Hyson - as Zenia Sprowl
Harry Tracy - as Florian Slappey
Nathan Curry - as Prof. Aleck Champagne
Leon Hereford - as Sam Ginn
Harry Porter - as Willie Trout
Curtis Mosby - as Orchestra Leader
Mosby's Blues Blowers - as the Band

Overloaded with stereotypical dialect this film tells an amusing tale about prominent orchestra leader and conman Roscoe Griggers, played by Spencer Williams. The plot unfolds and trouble ensues when Roscoe is offered $500 to play two cornet solos and concocts a scam to hide his obvious musical inability. Not actually knowing how to play the cornet he hires a trumpeter to play under the stage in his stead while he pretends to perform. Unfortunately his romantic rival Florian Slappey soon discovers his plan rendering his musical accomplice indisposed so that a saxophone must be substituted at the last minuet instead. In the end despite this comedy of errors Roscoe still wins over the audience and gives his earnings to his new honey, Zenia Sprowl. The happy couple are married and Zenia's dreams are realized when she finally gets to open her brand new "glory of beauty" shop.

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