Go to AfricaBib home

Go to AfricaBib home AfricaBib Go to database home

bibliographic database
Previous page New search

The free AfricaBib App for Android is available here

Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Make faces, Zulu! Make faces, Zulu!: silent comedy and ethnic stereotyping in early South African movies, 1916-1921
Author:Parsons, NeilISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Cinemas (ISSN 1754-923X)
Geographic term:South Africa
film history
race relations
Abstract:The comedies of African Film Productions, a film company in South Africa, were filmed by American and British directors, with casts drawn mainly from stage actors on overseas tours. After an experiment combining actors with cartoon animation in 1916, three farces of British-American type were directed by B.F. Clinton, notably with A.F.P.'s Zulu star Goba's head stuck inside a valuable vase. Five short comedies were directed by Dick Cruikshanks in 1917, three with large predominantly African casts. The Zulutown series, in the mould of Charlie Chaplin slapstick, was widely shown to African audiences in subsequent years. A Christmas pantomime, which critiqued the use of child labour on farms, featured a small black child at its centre. And 'Then?' was a parody of blood-and-thunder melodrama. The independent production 'Thoroughbreds All' (1918) was a satire on the morality of horse-racing. These comedies are remarkable for being plot-centred rather than constructed around the antics of well-known comedians, as were most comedy films made overseas. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]