Monday, June 18, 2012

Before Amistad...

Before Amistad...and before Roots...

There was Tamango...

This 1958 film (directed by black-listed American director, John Berry) was banned in France's West African colonies (for fear that it would "cause dissent among the natives". It was released in New York City in 1959, but wasn't distributed nationwide until 1962 because it violated the miscegenation section of the Hays Code (which also led to its banning in the United States). 

Tamango is about a slave ship crossing the Atlantic and the newly enslaved people (led by "Tamango", played by Alex Cressan in his only film role) who start a rebellion on it. Curt Jürgens plays the role of Captain John Reiker and Dorothy Dandridge plays Aiché, an enslaved woman whose (for lack of a better term) content with being Reiker's "mistress" is disturbed by the newly enslaved Africans' will to be freed.

The film has gone pretty much forgotten, unfortunately, but some copies of it are available online and pretty affordable prices. 

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