White actors playing black people, Whoopi Goldberg, a film professor in Kansas, me, this year's Confederate flag controversy and a 1940s Oscar-nominated love story from Warner Brothers starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman. All that I will tie together in this blog post. First of all, the 1945 Warner Bros. movie starring Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper is SARATOGA TRUNK. It airs at 2pm Eastern/11am Pacific on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) Monday, Oct. 19th. Bergman plays a clever Creole beauty who returns home to New Orleans. She plans to marry a rich man, gain respectability and get revenge for the way her mother was humiliated by in-laws. She falls for a handsome gambler played by Cooper.
Theresa Harris played a maid opposite Marlene Dietrich in 1941's THE FLAME OF NEW ORLEANS.
Willmott's attention to detail will thrill classic film devotees. His version of a D.W.Griffith silent film to 1940s films in which white British actors play black characters in America's Deep South to TV shows like Cops are so accurate in look, style and tone that you'll be awestruck. Willmott's writing can be extremely funny, shocking, poignant and, above all, make a solid point. As this was the year of national controversy over the Confederate flag, C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America is a DVD that should be watched and re-appreciated. Willmott's feature is a Spike Lee presentation that garnered great reviews. It is a relevant piece of work -- especially today.
I'd still like to talk to him. There is brilliance in his mockumentary. I think you'll agree with me. Another reason I was eager to interview him on Whoopi's national radio show -- in the history of network and syndicated television here in America, you rarely see black film critics. Network morning news programs have not given the country the idea that either film critics who are black or film professors who are black exist in America. Kevin Willmott has "university film professor" on his resumé.
By the way, Flora Robson did not win the Academy Award for Saratoga Trunk. When she was nominated, the Oscar went to Anne Baxter for The Razor's Edge.