Black and Tan (1929) - Rotten Tomatoes

Black and Tan (1929)





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Movie Info

Black and Tan, filmed in February of 1929, was the legendary Duke Ellington's first screen appearance. The short opens with Duke in his apartment, sitting at the piano and going over a new number with trumpeter Arthur Whetsel. As they work, two movers appear outside. They have trouble finding Duke's apartment, but when they do they start to repossess the piano. At that moment, the lithe and beautiful Fredi Washington walks in. She's landed a job dancing in a nightclub, and Duke and his band are to play as well. When she sees that her darling's piano is being taken, she offers the movers $10. They refuse, but when she offers them gin, they agree to leave the piano and pretend that no one was home when they come by. Duke is concerned about Fredi's job, as her doctor has warned her that dancing may be dangerous to her heart, but Fredi dismisses his fears. At the nightclub, a quintet of male dancers performs to two numbers by Duke. As Fredi watched backstage, she seems ill and weak, and everything is swimming in front of her. She gathers herself together and bursts onto the stage with energy and verve, but she cannot complete the number. She is taken home, where a large group of people gathers to sing and play the sickness out of her, but to no avail. Among the songs used in Black and Tan are "The Duke Steps Out," "Black Beauty" and "Black and Tan Fantasy."


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