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Straight Lick: The Cinema of Oscar Micheaux

Straight Lick: The Cinema of Oscar Micheaux
Your Price: $31.95 CDN
Author: J. Ronald Green
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 295
Pub. Date: 2000
ISBN-10: 0253337534
ISBN-13: 9780253337535

About the Book:

A critical examination of the films of a remarkable African American filmmaker, Oscar Micheaux.

One of the most original and successful filmmakers of all time, Oscar Micheaux was born into a rural, working-class, African-American family in mid-America in 1884, yet he created an impressive legacy in commercial cinema. Between 1913 and 1951 he wrote, directed, and distributed some forty-three feature films, more than any other black filmmaker in the world, a record of production that is likely to stand for a very long time.

Oscar Micheaux's work was founded upon the concern for class mobility, or uplift, for African Americans. Uplift provided the context for Micheaux's extensive commentary on racist cinema, such as D. W. Griffith's 1915 blockbuster, The Birth of a Nation, which Oscar Micheaux "answered" with his very early films Within Our Gates and Symbol of the Unconquered. Uplift explains Micheaux's use of "negative images" of African Americans as well as his multi-pronged campaign against stereotype and caricature in American culture. His campaign produced a body of films saturated with a nuanced intertexual "signifying," boldly and repeatedly treating controversial topics that face white censorship time after time, topics ranging from white mob and Klan violence to light-skin-color fetish to white financing of black cultural productions.

What people say:

"Until recently the name Oscar Micheaux might have provoked the question Oscar who? But scholars have now begun to look at this pioneering African American moviemaker ... Green's study ... sets up a critical landscape that allows the reader to sense the density of the culture out of which Micheaux's work arose while also citing sources of his own theoretical modeling. That said, any Micheaux film demands a great deal of creative dissection, which Green provides. He makes uncommonly good use of frame enlargements and stills and provides a thoughtful index and a thorough bibliography. For serious undergraduate students and scholars." — T. Cripps, formerly, Morgan State University

About the Author:

J. Ronald Green is Associate Professor of Film Studies in the Department of History of Art at Ohio State University. His writings on Oscar Micheaux and other topics have appeared in journals such as Film Quarterly, Griffithiana, Black Film Review, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Journal of Film and Video, Cinema Journal, Afterimage, and Aperture, and in various anthologies, including Diawara's Black American Cinema.

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