TO FIND AN IMAGE by James Murray


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An expanded essay on the black film scene by the movie editor of Black Creation magazine. Murray travels all over the lot beginning with a bit history which recalls, for example, the pioneering work of Oscar Michaux, black director and producer who started in Harlem in 1918. He moves on to the influence of old and new film stereotypes, the dilemma of the black actor then and now (there is a gingerly if empathetic profile of Sidney Poitier and his identity troubles), and a rundown of studio and independent producers including interviews with Parks, Davis, Van Peebles, Greaves and St. Clair Bourne. Although individual gains have been made in black control of black films, the fact still remains that of the 13,500 theaters in the U.S. blacks own less than twenty, and since each element of the industry -- producers, distributors and theater owners -- support one another, independence is hard come by. Therefore ""black films will be an influence and a force within the American cinema rather than a separate entity."" Murray more or less skirts the ""Shaft"" controversy noting on the one hand a ""white version of the black experience"" with emphasis on hustlers, charlatans, dope pushers, etc. but on the other recording the great success with black audiences. A brisk survey -- but still a survey, geared to industry cognoscenti.

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 1973
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill