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DID ANYONE WATCH ANNA LACOSTA?


AndyM108
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Since "ordinary" dramas featuring all-black casts were as rare as hen's teeth in the Hollywood of the 50's, it was quite a revelation to see the 1958 version of Anna Lacosta. Quite a cast, too: Eartha Kitt, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frederick O'Neal, Rex Ingram, and Alvin Childress, best known as "Amos" in the TV version of Amos 'n' Andy. Kitt, Davis and Childress are fairly well known today, but O'Neal and Ingram seem to have been largely ignored by film historians. Don't miss them.

 

I won't give away the plot, but I will mention the final camera pan, which consists of a large charcoal extended family portrait of the two generations that were living in the house. For a portrait that on the surface was little more than a throwaway coda between the final scene and "THE END", it was extraordinarily powerful in its sheer ordinariness. I say that because it was so completely uncommon for Hollywood back then ever to depict African Americans as anything other than cartoon figures or victims of oppression, but this portrait gives us a fleeting but powerful glance as the sort of human depth of character that was so rarely afforded to blacks in the movies of that time.

 

I know I haven't expressed this very well, but anyone who watches that film to the end will know what I mean. I'm glad I captured it on a DVD, and I hope that TCM shows it again in the near future.

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I saw it on THIS a couple of years ago. It was odd seeing Eartha Kitt in anything where she isn't tying up Batgirl, (although she was in *Holes* as a fortuneteller.) She gave a good perfromance as kind of an unlikeable character. it was an unusual movie for the time.

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