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The Melancholy Dame

Evelyn Preer

 

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"1929 Race Talkie"

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This film is one of only three Evelyn Preer talkie films known to exist. It was made as part of producer
Al Christie's "Darktown Birmingham" series featuring The Lafayette Players Stock Company.

Cast:

Edward Thompson - as Permanent Williams
Evelyn Preer - as Jonquil Williams
Spencer Williams - as Webster Dill
Roberta Hyson - as Sappho Dill
Charles Oldenas - as Florian Slappey

In this rare 1929 talkie staring Evelyn Preer Thompson (as Jonquil Williams) opposite her real life husband Edward Thompson (as Permanent Williams) the most beloved actress of the African American community plays the jealous wife of a dancer and club owner whose biggest star and partner Sappho Dill (played by Roberta Hyson) also just so happens to be his ex-wife. Due to his current wife's unwavering feelings of rage towards Sappho, Permanent has little choice but to try to keep their prior relationship a secret.

To make matters even worse Sappho's current husband Webster Dill (played by Spencer Williams) has been told terrible lies of abuse she supposedly suffered at the hands of her former spouse. Tensions build as the sly dancer uses the fact that her husband Webster does not known the identity of her former husband as a bargaining chip to increase her salary.

Spencer Williams who would later play Andy in the 1950's TV series "Amos and Andy".

This particular short features the music of "Curtis Mosby's Dixieland Blue Blowers".

Despite the stereotypes these films are important as they were made with black actors for black audiences (thus 'race films'). Very few of these exist (Preer made dozens of films, but only three are known to have survived.) These were some of the first race talkies ever.



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