Oscar Micheaux • United States • 1932
An early experiment in sound cinema.
Resisting the stagebound atmosphere of The Exile, Oscar Micheaux found ways to shoot a talking picture on location, without cumbersome and expensive audio recording equipment. He did this by making one of his characters deaf (rendering dialogue unnecessary) and having much dialogue spoken off-camera (so it could be dubbed later). At times, these devices are clumsily executed but they prove Micheaux had a more canny understanding of the medium than he is often given credit for having. Other highlights are a blackface comedy routine by Galle De Gaston and George Williams, and an unexpectedly provocative performance of Duke Ellington’s “Diga Diga Doo” by a bevy of feathered Cotton Club chorines.