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Oft in the Silly Night
"1929 Race Talkie"
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.
Edward Thompson - as Temus Robinson
Roberta Hyson - as Mezanine Conner
Arthur Ray - as Julip Conner
Spencer Williams - as Eli Rubb
Laurence Criner - as L. J. Criner
In this production Edward Thompson (real life husband to Evelyn Preer) portrays a chauffeur named Temus Robinson who works for the affluent Mezanine Conner (Roberta Hyson). Obviously quite smitten with his beautiful employer (and she with him) Temus concocts a plan to attend a party where she will be on his night off but he'll need a driver. So he enlists the aid of his old friend Eli Rubb (played by Spencer Williams) to act the part.
Things take a turn for the worst when Mezanine mistaking Eli for Temus confesses her true feelings for him while they are driving to a secluded spot in the country. The shock causes a befuddled Eli to lose control of their vehicle resulting in the car leaving the road and flipping over down an embankment. Believing Mezanine to be dead Eli leaves the scene of the accident to find Temus but never fear it all works out in the end. After finding Temus faking injury Mezanine's father Julip Conner (played by Arthur Ray) grants her permission to marry he beloved.
Despite the stereotypes these films are important as they were made with black actors for black audiences (thus 'race films'). Preer made dozens of films, but only three exist today. These were among the very first race talkies ever produced.
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