Saturday, August 1, 2015

Lying Lips (1939)

How bad is it? Amazingly stilted acting and dialogue in a predictable plot.
Should you see it? Yes, for historical reasons.

Oscar Michaud was (I believe) the first black director in Hollywood, the first to hire black actors and the first to make films for black audiences; that makes his films important, but they tend to be terrible. This later film is one of his best and one that is reasonably easy to find, containing numerous musical numbers in the first half that are pretty good. The story is about a girl who refuses to sleep with customers at the nightclub, so her aunt is killed and she's framed for the murder. The police are fairly inept (and why do they repeat everything twice?) and the conclusion is talky and a bit muddled. The acting in this is unbelievably bad; imagine an elementary school doing an Amos and Andy routine and you get close. If you want to see some of the worst performances on film, they are here.

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