4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!
One hundred and thirty-eight years ago, on this date in 1884, Oscar Micheaux was born in Metropolis, Illinois. Starting his career as a writer and an investor, Oscar Micheaux eventually moved into the film industry. At a time when theaters were still segregated and black characters were regularly portrayed by white actors in blackface, the African-American Micheaux founded his own studio, financed his own movies, and distributed them himself. Micheaux’s films dealt directly with themes of systemic racism and the struggle of blacks to get ahead in American society. Many of Micheaux’s early films were designed as an “answer” to D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation while his later films deal with themes of inequality and corruption among both the police and the clergy.
Micheaux gave roles to talented black performers like Paul Robeson, actors who faced limited prospects in Hollywood during the silent and early sound eras. (Even the white characters in Micheaux’s films were played by light-skinned blacks, a reverse of Hollywood’s unofficial policy of using white actors in dark makeup to play black characters.) Unfortunately, many of Micheaux’s films are now lost but the few films that remain present a look at black life in America during the early decades of the 20th century.
In honor of the man and his legacy, Through the Shattered Lens presents….
4 Shots From 4 Oscar Micheaux Films