Check and Double Check (film #2 on Side B of Disc #2 of Classic Musicals DVD Megapack (Mill Creek Entertainment, 2005)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

Far from being an all-black cast film, this screen adaptation of the radio show “Amos ‘n’ Andy” could almost be called an all-white cast film, since the characters of Amos and Andy are played by the white men who did their voices on the radio. They’re in blackface and it’s just as racist as it sounds, with all white characters rich and well-mannered, while all African-Americans are dull-witted and stupid in supposedly comic ways. Furthermore, the film has a very dull plot and a pace so plodding that during the scene in the haunted house, you start to wish for some bug-eyed stereotyped hi-jinx from the main characters just to liven things up a bit (but your wish won’t be granted). I doubt even fans of the radio show liked this. Although the show was somewhat better, the film really shows how appallingly racist its concept was, and it’s painful to think that not so long ago, it was the most popular radio show in the country. This film makes a good juxtaposition to the all-black cast films, revealing the kinds of stereotypes black actors and directors had to fight against. This gives it historical value, but it’s a tedious watch. The only good thing about it is the obligatory musical number by real African-Americans, Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club orchestra.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

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