While I am in the habit of celebrating black excellence in my podcast round-ups, we are living in a difficult, but remarkable moment, one which I hope leads to positive change and justice, and in response I wanted to send a little more love out there this month by focusing entirely on black hosts and guests.
While they don’t focus on classic movies, I also recommend these podcasts about movies and culture which center black voices: The Treatment, Still Processing, Black Men Can’t Jump In Hollywood, The Curvy Critic, and Bad Romance (RIP Slate: Represent and Another Round).
Enjoy the round-up. Titles link to episodes:
The Black Film Space Podcast
Rachel Moseley-Wood on 1950’s Caribbean Cinema
June 8, 2020
This wasn’t so much a podcast episode as an engrossing lecture about the Jamaican Film Unit and the way films were made, distributed, and viewed in the mid-century Caribbean. Moseley-Wood is a lecturer at the University of West Indies and author of Show Us as We Are: Place, Nation & Identity in Jamaican Film. She had a lot to share in this incredibly informative hour.
Night of the Living Dead
October 16, 2019
If you want to get right to the movie discussion, start this episode at about 28 minutes in. However, be forewarned that you will miss an amusing discussion of classic TV westerns. Hosts Len Webb and Vince Williams, self-billed as the Men of Micheaux, are on a mission to “watch and review every black feature film released,” so while they do not focus entirely on studio-age classics, they do cover many of these films. I had to go right to their episode about Night of the Living Dead (1968), as I’m always interested in hearing different takes on this influential film. Webb and Williams have a great time together and they know how to shine a light on the most intriguing aspects of a movie. I was especially fascinated by their discussion of the way the zombies looked in Romero’s film. I can’t wait to see what they had to say about The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh (1979).
Blacula with Jezebel Director Numa Perrier
July 4, 2019
My favorite thing about this episode is how director Numa Perrier characterizes the AIP production of Blacula (1972). Instead of falling into the easy opinion of classifying it as solely camp, she appreciates the tragic love story within the exploitation trappings of the film. She also recognizes the grandeur of star William Marshall, who played an especially cultured vampire and always seemed like he’d be most at home performing King Lear.
The Movies That Made Me
June 9, 2020
Legendary Disney animator Floyd Norman bursts with love for his craft and the movies. I saw it when he shared his memories before a screening of Sleeping Beauty (1959) at TCM Classic Film Festival and again in the excellent documentary Floyd Norman: An Animated Life (2016) which I enjoyed as a part of the TCMFF Home Edition. After years of appearing at events, Norman has become a sort of entertainer: funny, great with an anecdote, and imbued with the elegance of another time. Here he shares the films that most influenced him with hosts Josh Olson and Joe Dante. While they are titles that will be extremely familiar to classic film fans, there is an extra layer of excitement to the animator's memories of them because he saw so many of these movies first run or in revival theaters. I loved getting the perspective of a film lover who grew up long before VHS came along. He also tells an interesting story about sharing Song of the South (1946) with the delighted members of a black church and sweetly gives his approval to the live-action reboot of The Jungle Book, while politely offering honest criticism of other Disney remakes. I have the feeling anything he’d have to say would be fascinating.
June 14, 2019
I wanted to revisit this episode from a year ago, because guest Donald Bogle shares a succinct, but thorough historical overview of black cinema. A frequent TCM guest and host and author of nine film books, he has helped me to discover many of my favorite stars, filmmakers, and movies.