Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dennis Haysbert Will Play Him When I Do The Bio-Pic


Paul Robeson is really one of the most fascinating yet largely unknown figures of the 20th Century, I did an episode of my now defunct radio series about him last year. Click here to learn more about him. Anyway I rented a double picture DVD of Robeson movies from the BSU library, so far I've only watched one of the two flicks, both of which were made during his sojourn in England. Robeson was not pleased with the stereotyped parts available to blacks in the U.S. film industry, but in Britian there was a willingness to taylor parts just for him. Both of the movies on the set, his two best known from that period, where directed by J. Elder Wills.

Song of Freedom features Robeson as a London dock worker turnerd opera star, who discovers he is the heir to an African thrown. That plot sounds corny and contrived, but it works and I quite enjoyed the film. Here Robeson has the chance both to act and sing in a dramatic context. The movie is also a strang kind of forrunner to Roots, as Robeson's character is obseased with learning about "where my people come from", and gets involved in a singing career in the hopes that by doing so he will be in a better position to look into his origans. Kudos to Elizabeth Welch as Robesons devoted wife.


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