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SWING! (director/writer: Oscar Micheaux; screenwriter: from the story “Mandy” by Oscar Micheaux; cinematographer: Lester Lang; editor: Patricia Rooney; cast: Cora Green (Mandy Jenkins), Hazel Diaz (Eloise Jackson/Cora Smith), Carman Newsome (Ted Gregory), Dorothy Van Engle (Lena Powell), Larry Seymour (Cornell Jenkins), Alec Lovejoy (Lem Jackson/Big Jones), Mandy Randolph (Liza Freeman); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Oscar Micheaux; Micheaux Pictures Corporation; 1938)
“There are many lively variety show jazz numbers to keep things swinging.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Interesting mostly as a curio that lets us see the kind of movie blacks were making back in the day of so-called “race films.” Oscar Micheaux (“Lying Lips”/”Body and Soul”/”Within Our Gates”) directs and writes from his own story a familiar tale about a strong black woman overcoming a philandering husband, that’s primarily aimed for a black audience. The directing is fine, and there are many lively variety show jazz numbers to keep things swinging.

Mandy Jenkins (Cora Green) is a black maid from Birmingham, Alabama, who gets so upset when she catches her gambling husband Cornell (Larry Seymour) cheating on her with a club singer named Eloise (Hazel Diaz) that she fights with the woman and then runs off to Harlem. Lena Powell (Dorothy Van Engle) is a secretary from Mandy’s hometown and grateful that the older woman was always there for her in her childhood, and therefore gets her off Broadway producer boss Mr. Gregory (Carman Newsome) to hire her as wardrobe mistress.

It turns out that Eloise is living in Harlem and singing under the assumed name Cora Smith, and her boss is Mr. Gregory. Just before Eloise’s big show in Broadway she breaks a leg and can’t perform, and Mr. Gregory replaces her with Mandy. The show is a hit and Mandy feels sorry for her penitent and broke husband, and forgives him.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”