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Minstrel Man (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Minstrel Man
Directed byJoseph H. Lewis
Edgar G. Ulmer[1] (uncredited)
Wallace W. Fox (uncredited)
Produced byLeon Fromkess (producer)
Harry Revel (associate producer)
Written byIrwin Franklyn
Pierre Gendron
Martin Mooney (story)
Raymond L. Schrock (story)
StarringBenny Fields
Gladys George
Music byFerde Grofé, Karl Hajos
CinematographyMarcel Le Picard
Edited byCarl Pierson
Distributed byProducers Releasing Corporation
Release date
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States

Minstrel Man is a 1944 American film directed by Joseph H. Lewis and produced by Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). It was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Original Song and Best Original Score).[2]

Production began in late 1943, but was shut down for four weeks and retooled when members of the cast and crew became unavailable. Director Lewis was drafted during production; he was replaced briefly by Edgar G. Ulmer [1] and then Wallace W. Fox. Female lead Binnie Barnes had a prior commitment to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and had to drop out; she was replaced by Gladys George. The juvenile role was intended for PRC contractee Gerra Young, who was sidelined by illness; she was replaced by Judy Clark.[3] Production resumed after the scheduling conflicts of cast and crew were resolved. Lewis was released from the army in March 1944 and completed the film.

Minstrel Man was a vehicle for Broadway and vaudeville headliner Benny Fields. Producer Leon Fromkess originally budgeted the film at $80,000,[4] slightly above average for the very-low-budget PRC studio. When Fromkess saw how well the project was progressing, he allocated more money for the production. Composer Harry Revel co-wrote the score with Paul Francis Webster; Revel was equally impressed and invested his own money, earning an "associate producer" credit. The final budget was "more than $200,000," according to Variety.[5] PRC's most elaborate production was booked into many major first-run theater chains. Minstrel Man became the biggest critical and financial success PRC had ever enjoyed.


Singing star Dixie Boy Johnson (Benny Fields) and his wife Caroline (Molly Lamont) are jubilant over Dixie's headlining a Broadway show and Caroline's impending motherhood. On opening night, Caroline is rushed to the hospital and Dixie begs to leave the theater and join her, but producer Lew Dunn (Alan Dinehart) refuses. Caroline dies in childbirth and Dixie is shattered. He leaves the baby in the care of his friends, Lasses and Mae (Roscoe Karns and Gladys George), and drops out of sight. Presumed dead, Dixie stays under cover and takes an assumed name, as a shipboard entertainer. Years later, Lew Dunn grooms Dixie's daughter Caroline (Judy Clark) for stardom in a revival of Dixie's Broadway show. Dixie's former agent (Jerome Cowan) sees an opportunity to sue Dunn for damages, and arranges for Dixie to confront his daughter and his old friends.



  • Benny Fields - "Cindy" (music by Harry Revel, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster)
  • Judy Clark - "Cindy" (music by Harry Revel, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster)
  • Benny Fields - "Remember Me to Carolina" (music by Harry Revel, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster; Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song)
  • Benny Fields - "I Don't Care If the World Knows About It" (Music by Harry Revel, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster)
  • Judy Clark - "I Don't Care If the World Knows About It" (Music by Harry Revel, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster)
  • John Raitt - "Shakin' Hands With the Sun" (music by Harry Revel, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster as Paul Webster)
  • Benny Fields - "My Bamboo Cane" (music by Harry Revel, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster as Paul Webster)
  • The minstrel show chorus, danced by Johnny Boyle - "Minstrel Man"
  • Benny Fields - "My Melancholy Baby" (music by Ernie Burnett, lyrics by George A. Norton)


  1. ^ a b Isenberg, Noah William (2014). Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins. Univ of California Press. pp. 124–125. ISBN 978-0-520-23577-9.
  2. ^ "The 17th Academy Awards | 1945". | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  3. ^ "'Minstrel Man' Resumes After Four-Week Layoff," Film Daily, March 8, 1944
  4. ^ "PRC's 'Minstrel Man' Reaching Epic Stage," Variety, March 1, 1944
  5. ^ "PRC's 'Minstrel Man' Reaching Epic Stage," Variety, March 1, 1944

External links

This page was last edited on 16 February 2021, at 13:02
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