Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 18, 2021 } Playhouse Square

AFRO PROMO

 

Year: 1996
Country: USA
Run Time: 75 minutes

"A negro and a white man linked to each other by four feet of hate and a steel chain!" - an immortal "Defiant Ones" blurb from a fascinatign compendium of coming attractions, hyping mass-market black-oriented features from 1946 to 1976. Rare promos reveal the kitschy packaging of people of color, from Uncle Remus to "Mandingo." Don't be quick to jeer; you may end up gaining some respect for the earnest, if patronizing, ad campaigns of entries like 1957's "Edge of the City" (okay then, how would you try to introduce Sidney Poitier to moviegoers whose daddies torched Rosewood?). Watch how ethnic images evolve, debonair Nat King Cole and Dorothy Dandridge at one end, the aggressively violent and sexual blaxploitation icons Fred Williamson and Pam Grier at teh other. Adventures set in Africa are the most cringeworthy, pitting Anglo hunters an troops against dehumanized tribesmen and the naked splendor of "200 Zulu virgins!" We debated whether this deserved the scholarly reception of Marlon Riggs' "Color Adjustment" (16th CIFF, 1992), or a "Mystery Science Theater 3000" treatment. Co-collectors Knapper and Olson present the trailers without comment, letting you evaluate AFRO PROMO as sociological specimen or tasteless, campy fun. Maybe both. Easily our most quotable attraction. - Charles Cassady

Directors
Karl Bruce Knapper, Jenni Olson

Producer
Karl Bruce Knapper, Jenni Olson

Principal Cast
Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones, Tamara Dobson, Billy Dee Williams, Pam Grier, Shelley Winters, Richard Pryor, Muhammed Ali, Pearl Bailey

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