While watching this movie I decided to read about it a bit and I also read about the director, Spencer Williams.
I read a few things saying that Spencer Williams' directing and filmmaking has been criticized--basically for its low production and lack of camera angles, stuff like that--but if anybody knows anything about American history, American Film History, and "race films", they may easily come to the conclusion that Spencer Williams may have had little to work with and that most "race films" were low-budget, dark, and have been poorly preserved. (Wikipedia page on "Race Movies")
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I understand what some critics may see--I actually have seen better quality "race films", but I understand history of these movies (and of course, America) and I've seen enough "race films" to know that the majority of them were clearly low budget or "lowly funded". I mean, c'mon--how many big Hollywood studios (the folks who had all the movie money) do you think were trying to give money to the small, independent, and most importantly--black-owned film production companies? I'm not saying that black filmmakers of the time were "poor"--but name one black-written, black-produced, black-directed "big budget" film from the 1930s/1940s or before?
Feel free to drop some titles in the comment box.
Well anyway, as stated before--I can see the critics' point. I've seen better classic black cinema. I did enjoy watching this movie (up until the end--the end made me mad) and seeing how it would unfold. It had a pretty good storyline that reminded me of Hallelujah! mixed with Carmen Jones--but that's part of what I find wrong with it as well--it didn't seem original (excluding Carmen Jones, because that came out after 8 years after this movie), but a lot of films, especially race films had similar story lines. The storyline: Hard hearted Hannah eventually pays for her ways. That kind of storyline.
I would watch this movie again, but only to observe it and sort of study it. I wouldn't exactly watch it to be entertained. I think the best part of the film was its star--Francine Everett. This was my first time totally seeing all that Ms. Everett brought to the table as an actress and I think she was very good. I loved, but slightly hated her character and I believe the ability to make someone hate you and/or your character is the sign of a great actor.
I would give this movie a C+
Movie Scene Photo from: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_KWR_gvxCigs/SyKphATLg3I/AAAAAAAAFnM/mjwa_5N4SoY/s400/dirty+gertie2.jpg