This charming musical, about a black production company trying to make a feature film, is really a series of musical numbers presenting exuberant musicians, mostly from the all-woman jazz forties’ band, The International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Starring a very young Ruby Dee, it was made by a small independent black company for black audiences and was one of the first films to successfully counter its era’s negative stereotypes of African Americans. Part of the film’s treasure is in its depiction of black women, so different to their Hollywood stereotypes as maids or mammies, as intelligent, talented and educated.
Ruby Dee is an Academy Award nominated actress whose career has spanned more than 60 years. Some of her films include The Jackie Robinson Story, A Raisin in the Sun, Edge of the City, The Incident, and American Gangster (Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, 2007). Today,she remains active in film and television and is a member of such organizations as the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the NAACP, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Her husband was the late actor Ossie Davis.