Thursday, April 5, 2018

Golden Dawn (1930)

Director: Ray Enright

Writers: Otto A. Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II, Walter Anthony

Composer: Rex Dunn

Starring: Walter Woolf King, Vivienne Segal, Noah Beery, Alice Gentle, Dick Henderson, Lupino Lane, Marion Byron, Edward Martindel, Nina Quartero, Sojin Kamiyama, Otto Matieson, Julanne Johnston, Eduardo Cansino, Nigel De Brulier

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Music drama of the jungle!

Plot: Dawn (Segal) is a white woman thought to be a godess born unto a black tribe but Tom (King) discovers her true parentage and tries to stop her from being sacrificed to the gods.  Naturally everyone sings about it.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Let's play a game called, "Is It Racist?".  It is.  Thanks for playing.  Be sure to get your copy of our play-at-home game for the family.  You've got to see this for yourself.  It's outrageous and entertaining.  I was surprised at how often I laughed in between the grins.  Looking at this 88 years after it was released, it's jaw-dropping in how acceptable things like blackface were back then.  Noah Beery is especially bad (as in racist bad) with his darkened skin and his Amos & Andy's Kingfish voice (as in "now lookee here").  It's so outrageous it's laughable.  That's just the beginning.  The timeline jumps ahead sometimes months at a time.  Then there's the abundance of songs and many of them are quite good and catchy.  Shep (Beery) sings a song devoted to his whip, Dawn sings about loving her Bwana (that's the East African word for 'master') and Joanna (Byron) warbles out how she's looking for a man who will smack her around and treat her like shit (you know, the fun side of domestic abuse that no one talks about these days).  It's just your typical songs about love and devotion.  And all of this takes place in the jungles of Africa.  The whole thing is a wild and crazy ride on the wrong side of the movie tracks (and history) but it can be very entertaining in the weirdest ways.  It's one curiosity you probably won't regret seeing.  I can see this playing well with a group of friends and some liquor.

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