Oscar Micheaux • United States • 1931
The earliest surviving sound film by an African-American.
The immediate historical significance of THE EXILE is that it is the earliest surviving sound feature by an African-American filmmaker. Watching it, one immediately detects a change in Oscar Micheaux’s visual style, indulging in lengthy dialogue exchanges with few cuts and minimal camera movement. Much of Hollywood went through this same stylistic regression during the Dawn of Sound, until they wrestled themselves free of the restrictive technology of filming with synchronized audio. In addition to The Conquest the film borrows elements from Micheaux’s 1917 novel The Homesteader.