This coming January, Warner Home Video will release three titles from early black cinema Hallelujah, The Green Pastures and Cabin in the Sky are all arriving next winter.
A cinematic milestone, Hallelujah was the first all-black feature film from a major studio, as well as the first talkie from noted director King Vidor. Featuring a largely unknown amateur cast and infused with gospel, folk, blues and jazz, including two songs by Irving Berlin, Hallelujah follows the fortunes of Zeke, a poor cotton farmer who succumbs to the temptations of Chick, a mercenary honky-tonk girl. Briefly finding salvation in religion, Zeke falls again when his obsession for Chick overpowers his better self. The brilliantly made film about love, loss, passion and redemption surpasses its historical significance with a story of such profound dignity and understanding that it seems as fresh and as moving as the day it premiered.
The DVD will contain an audio commentary with Donald Bogle and Avery Clayton, musical shorts and the theatrical trailer.
The Green Pastures (1936):
“You gotta git your minds fixed,” the rural preacher tells his Sunday School children, and the best way to do that is from Old Testament stories narrated by the preacher. This feel-good film, filled with kindness and morality, proceeds to re-enact the classic Bible stories as seen through the eyes of the preacher’s group of rural black children.
The DVD features commentary with LeVar Burton, Herb Boyd and Ed Guerrero, two musical shorts (one featuring a 7-year-old Sammy Davis Jr.) and the theatrical trailer.
Cabin in the Sky (1943):
Hollywood’s first all-black film since The Green Pastures, Cabin in the Sky tells the vibrant fable of rascally Little Joe. Torn between the love of his good wife Petunia and the wiles of good-time bad girl Georgia Brown, Little Joe’s soul is caught in a tug-of-war between the forces of good and evil.
The disc will contain commentary by Dr. Todd Boyd, Dr. Drew Casper, Evangela Anderson, Eva Anderson and Fayard Nicholas with Lena Horne. Also on the disc is a studio visit featurette an audio outtake and the theatrical trailer.
Each title will be priced at $19.97 and will arrive January 10th.