The author of this article, Charlene Regester, compares directors D.W. Griffith and Oscar Micheaux, and the impact of each on American silent cinema. Through the examination of each director's films, the author provides examples of how American films in the silent era that portrayed racially-charged characters played an important role in race relations-visually empowering and disempowering both black and white constituencies. While films like Birth of a Nation promoted white supremacy and the separation of the races, writes Regester, Micheaux responded to the reductive myths ingrained in Griffith's prejudices, constructing instead nuanced and overtly revisionist accounts of the African American experience. Like author J. Ronald Green, Regester proposes that Micheaux raised taboo racial topics to present black subjectivity as complex and resist racially infused representations.
This article's focus on character symbolism provides helpful information for my discussion of Body and Soul. It explores how Micheaux split Robeson's protagonist into two parts: Robeson as morally righteous Sylvester, and Robeson as the Reverend Isaiah, a fantasized figure who should represent morality, but actually signifies its antithesis. The evil reverend struggles to locate his righteous self through parishioner Martha Jane's mirror image. Martha Jane symbolizes the ability to assume moral position, and she associates Sylvester with the desired racialized definition of blackness, which counters the criminality of Rev. Jenkins. This use of Robeson for both the protagonist and the antagonist displays two important truths: there is an extremely thin line between good and evil, and the complexity of black subjectivity. Utilizing these symbols, Micheaux hoped to elevate blacks and guide them into a position of respect and high esteem, not just in the eyes white oppressors, but for themselves and the whole of the black community.
tagged oscar_micheaux silent_film by jamiefh ...on 02-DEC-08
Article talks about film classics being screened at theater of living arts, a Philadelphia area theater; this includes even some classic silent films such as “the passion of Joan of Arc”. By E. Fuld
Call#: Van Pelt Library Rosengarten Reserve PN1995.9.A8 A44 1999
Briefly discusses the cast and the Colored Players while announcing the premiere of The Scar of Shame. By Elissa Stern
Advertises a screening and “monster benefit” for The Scar of Shame at the Gibson’s Theater at Broad and Lombard streets in Philadelphia. Calls it “the Greatest of Race Movies” with “An All Star Colored Cast” and includes seven screen shots in the ad. By Elissa Stern
Dudley, S. H. (1927, March 12). Dud’s Dope. Chicago Defender, 8A. [Cited in Oscar Micheaux and his circle : African-American filmmaking and race cinema of the silent era / Pearl Bowser, Jane Gaines, and Charles Musser editors and curators.  Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c2001.]
In his column, S. H. Dudley, who became closely involved with the Colored Players Film Corporation of Philadelphia, advocates the production of race films and cites the Colored Players as a praiseworthy example. By Elissa Stern
Production-November 1926, March 1927
Premiere-April 18-24, 1927
This film was shot at the studios of Philadelphia-based production company, the Colored Players Film Corporation, at 5813 Woodlawn Avenue and was screened at Philadelphia’s Royal Theater in 1927. By Elissa Stern
Preview-November 17, 1926
Ten Nights in a Barroom was shot at the studios of the Colored Players Film Corporation at 58th and Woodlawn Streets in Philadelphia. The Colored Players were a Philadelphia-based production company, and used local actors, artisans, and cinematographers. It also had its preview at Philadelphia’s Gladstone Theater in 1926. By Elissa Stern
Premiere-July 19-24, 1926
This film is firmly embedded in the milieu of Philadelphia film production. It was shot in a studio at 5813 Woodlawn Avenue by the Colored Players Film Corporation of Philadelphia. It also previewed and premiered at local Philadelphia theaters-the Astor Theater and the Royal Theater, respectively. By Elissa Stern
Elmore Theater. Pittsburgh Courier, 10A. Aug 6, 1927. [Cited in Oscar Micheaux and his circle : African-American filmmaking and race cinema of the silent era / Pearl Bowser, Jane Gaines, and Charles Musser editors and curators.  Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c2001.]
Advertises a film by the Colored Players Film Corporation of Philadelphia entitled Children of Fate, with the interesting misprint “Children of Hate” as mentioned in Musser (2001). Cites the film as the “most talked-of movie of the year” and “The Greatest Colored Picture Ever.” By Elissa Stern
Scores of Race Theaters Install Talkies. Pittsburgh Courier, p. 9A. March 30, 1929. [Cited in Oscar Micheaux and his circle : African-American filmmaking and race cinema of the silent era / Pearl Bowser, Jane Gaines, and Charles Musser editors and curators.  Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c2001.]
This article provides a reference relating to the film historical context in which the Colored Players Film Corporation was working in the second half of the 1920s, when the silent film industry was on its last legs as sound film took over. By Elissa Stern
Goldwyn, R. (1974, November 17). The Scar of Shame: Why the Fuss over this Old, Made-in-Philadelphia, Silent Black Film. Sunday Bulletin, Philadelphia Bulletin, p. 16. [Cited in Oscar Micheaux and his circle : African-American filmmaking and race cinema of the silent era / Pearl Bowser, Jane Gaines, and Charles Musser editors and curators.  Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c2001.278-85.]
By Elissa Stern
Canby, Vincent. ‘Scar of Shame,’ a Black Pioneer Film, at Whitney. The New York times [0362-4331] (March 18, 1976).
This article summarizes the Colored Players Film Corporation’s 1927 film The Scar of Shame and reviews a 1976 screening of the film at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, providing an example of the place the company’s work has taken in the discourse of film history. By Elissa Stern
Black Film Series. The New York times [0362-4331] (March 21, 1979).
This advertisement announces a 1970 screening of the Colored Players Film Corporation’s Ten Nights in a Barroom (1926) at the Jewish Museum in New York, providing an example of how their work has engaged in inter-ethnic discourse within film history. By Elissa Stern
Fraser, Gerald C. Two Weekends of Black Film Classics at Symphony Space ... The New York times [0362-4331] (Nov 30, 1979).
This article announces a 1979 screening of the Colored Players Film Corporation of Philadelphia’s 1927 film The Scar of Shame in association with a screening of Oscar Micheaux’s Body and Soul(1925), briefly summarizing the two films and the context of their production. These are billed as “Black Film Classics” providing an example of the place the work of the Colored Players has come to hold in film historical discourse. By Elissa Stern
tagged black_genre_film colored_players_film_corporation pfdoctype_newspapers_articles_&_reviews pffilmtitle_body_and_soul pffilmtitle_the_scar_of_shame pfpeople_Oscar_Michaeux race_film silent_film by wellske ...and 1 other person ...on 25-JUL-06
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Kalinak, Kathryn. Kathryn Kalinak Responds to Jane Gaines’ “The Scar of Shame: Skin Color and Caste in Black Silent Melodrama." Cinema journal [0009-7101] 27.2 54-56. Summer 1987.
Kalinak responds briefly to Gaines’ social and historical analysis of the context in which The Scar of Shame (1927) was produced and screened. She calls for an analysis of the portrayal of black female sexuality in the film. By Elissa Stern
Leab, D. J. "All-Colored"-But Not Much Different: Films Made for Negro Ghetto Audiences, 1913-1928. Phylon [0031-8906] 36.3 321-339. 3rd Qtr., 1975
Leab discusses the representation of blacks in film during the period from 1913-1928 and the audience that were the targets of such representations. This discussion of spectatorship and black representation in film is relevant to the context in which the Colored Players Film Corporation of Philadelphia worked during the second half of the 1920s. By Elissa Stern
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Bowser, P. & Spence, L. Oscar Micheaux’s Body and Soul and the Burden of Representation. Cinema journal [0009-7101] 39.3 3-29. Spring 2000.
This article provides a good discussion of film production in the context of stratification within black urban communities at a time contemporary with the production of the Colored Players Film Corporation.
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Cripps, Thomas. Thomas Cripps Responds to Jane Gaines. Cinema journal [0009-7101] 27.2 56-59. Winter 1988.
Cripps responds to Jane Gaines’ analysis of The Scar of Shame, praising her application of melodramatic cinema and literature theory to black film, but calls for increased attention to the black audience and its modes of spectatorship in 1920s America. By Elissa Stern
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Gaines, Jane. The Scar of Shame: Skin Color and Caste in Black Silent Melodrama. Cinema journal [0009-7101] 27.2 54-56. Summer 1987.
Gaines analyzes issues of aesthetics and spectatorship surrounding the 1927 Colored Players Film Corporation’s 1927 film The Scar of Shame. She notes that the portrayals of black figures in the film are specific to a particular historical moment and are “haunted by white society” and a pervasive class consciousness among the black community (p. 5). She addresses the political views of the owners of the company in reference to those portrayed in the film citing the influence of a racist society as a cause for the melodramatic “stylistic excess” in the film (p. 16). By Elissa Stern
Bowser, P. Lost, Then Found: The Wedding Scene from The Scar of Shame (1929). Oscar Micheaux and his circle : African-American filmmaking and race cinema of the silent era / Pearl Bowser, Jane Gaines, and Charles Musser editors and curators.  Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c2001. 188-9.
This brief article includes a description of a “rediscovered” scene from the Colored Players Film Corporation’s 1929 silent film The Scar of Shame. Bowser also provides bits of information about the history of the actual prints of the film. The American Film Institute acquired 35mm prints of the film around 1970 and this became the commercially available video version. The wedding scene, however, discovered a few years later by Bowser in a 16mm version, is missing from the AFI version. By Elissa Stern
Musser, C. Appendix C: A Colored Players Film Corporation Filmography. Oscar Micheaux and his circle : African-American filmmaking and race cinema of the silent era / Pearl Bowser, Jane Gaines, and Charles Musser editors and curators. / Pearl Bowser, Jane Gaines, and Charles Musser editors and curators.  Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c2001. 278-85.
This filmography of the four films produced by the Colored Players Film Corporation of Philadelphia is by far the most detailed source of information regarding Philadelphia film production in the second half of the 1920s. Musser’s filmography includes cast listings, production credits, the length of the features (all are 8 reels), plot descriptions transcribed from newspaper advertisements, production and screening dates and locations, as well as copious lists of relevant contemporary newspaper citations. By Elissa Stern
Musser, C. Colored Players Film Corporation: An Alternative to Micheaux. Oscar Micheaux and his circle : African-American filmmaking and race cinema of the silent era / Pearl Bowser, Jane Gaines, and Charles Musser editors and curators.  Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c2001. 178-87.
This article relays detailed information about the organization of the Colored Players Film Corporation, the inter-racial and inter-ethnic context in which its films were produced, and also provides interesting discussion about the rivalry between Colored Players and the company of Oscar Micheaux, including the “st[ealing of] each other’s actors” (Musser, 2001, p. 182). By Elissa Stern
Premiere-April 13-17, 1929 (New York Premiere), April 15-20, 1929 (Philadelphia Premiere)
This film was shot at the studios of Philadelphia-based production company, the Colored Players Film Corporation, at 5813 Woodlawn Avenue with local actors and was screened at Philadelphia’s Gibson’s Theater in April 1929 and the Pearl Theater in June of the same year. By Elissa Stern
Call#: Storage: From RECORD page, use Place Request tab PN1582.U6 G7 1910a
Speculates that Caruso’s phonograph records reduced his ability to sway audiences in performance but that this cost is worth the preservation of his voice for generations to come. Also, the phonograph has “realized what is perhaps the most significant achievement in the history of music. I has developed a condition that will lead to national opera..” (54). Shop girls and lay workers are educating themselves musically and in Latin languages by way of phonogrash. “It will be from just such a start [as Mr. Mildenberg’s municipal opera company] that grand opera will be popularized for the masses.”
Edison on future of sound film, especially making opera available to working class (121).
Call#: Van Pelt Video Collection; ask at Circulation Desk. PS3535.A66 J32 1990
Conventional silent film score compiled and arrange dby Lou Silvers from Tchaikovsky, Lalo, Debussy and Sibelius, Hebraic, pop and folk melodies. (Fred Steiner in Film Music 1, p. 81)
Call#: Van Pelt Library ML2100 .G76 2005
Premises: aesthetic foundation of opera is “Italian notion of song” – “opera that engenders a state in which one is always listening in anticipation of, or listening toward, [desiring], a place where one knows beautiful singing will take place.” Operatic singing is transcendent and potentially ridiculous “being both miraculous and continually available for parody.” (3) “Death is immanent in the operatic voice.” “Moments of beautiful singing are always already being mourned.” (4) Poizat: death in operatic narrative allegorizes voice’s tendency to reach beyond melos and signification to “the cry, the shriek, the scream, fading out into after-echoes and silence.” Dramatic conditions created in order to produce cry (logic of vocal jouissance). Zizek: Wagnerian horror is the threat of existing between two deaths, the first biological, the second dying in peace. Abbate: Wagnerian death a Utopian moment allowing operatic immortality, for dead remain in music in sonorous form even after they can no longer authorize it. (5) Grover-Friedlander: “Orphic death” means “song revives the dead, but that revival is overturned by a gesture that is not acoustic (song) but visual (looking back)….hints that the spectral, the visual or the optical is able to bring about the total collapse of whatever has been achieved by the vocal or the acoustic.” But “the idea of mortality or impermanence is already called for by the frailty of song, by its incapacity to sustain life, or by its passing and ephemeral nature.” (7) But “repetition of song questions the finality of eath, introducing a dimension of immortality.” “What is ephemeral and passing is also what can return.” [<- illogical] Death fails to hold sway. (8)
Call#: Van Pelt Library ML2075 .M37 1997
This book is amazing; it situates its contributions to our knowledge of silent film music – which our copious – within the existing body of literature, providing a solid point of departure for all further study. Marks gives extensive consideration to the availability and state of the historical evidence, and works to piece together the surviving (often partial) scores, advertisements and reviews in order to create a more complete picture of the silent era’s musical practices then has elsewhere been achieved. Marks debunks the notion that there was a period during which anything went musically as long as it covered up the noise of the projector and compensated for the uncanny flatness of the moving image by looking at music for some of the proto-film technologies (vitascope, biograph and bioskop). The more compelling case of bioskop took place in Europe, however, and their film music practices were not immediately taken up in America. In 1909 Moving Picture World dubbed the majority of pianists inadequate movie accompaniests, and only months later Edison published its first guidelines for film accompaniment. Marks observes that the 1910-14 period has been subject to severe music scholarly neglect due to the perceived lack of evidence. Marks finds and considers numerous “special scores,” i.e. scores written specially for particular movies, that predate Birth of a Nation (1915), the oft cited “first.” Birth of a Nation gets its own chapter too, however, for it was a significant and influential achievement. Marks includes numerous facsimiles as well as transcriptions of the surviving parts/scores, and subjects them to paleographic as well as music analysis. I would say this is THE book for silent film music.
Call#: Van Pelt Library ML2075 .M23 1969
By the time the cinema was born, the pianist and the orchestra had long been established in the living theater.
Marks criticizes this book's characterization of silent film music in his Music and the Silent Film.