Gertie, a Harlem nightclub dancer, leaves her boyfriend for a fresh start on the island of Trinidad. Comfortabkle in her own skin, she enjoys using her sex appeal to dazzle and flirt with the local men. A preachy local, Mr. Christian, meddles by making it a point to convert her into the type of woman he believes she should be.
2015.167.6.1ab: 16mm black and white films.
In "Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A.", a two-timing showgirl, on the run, that takes work at an island hotel, winning the heart of the hotel owner, until a vengeful ex-boyfriend catches up with her. Moral dilemmas in the tradition of Rain, with the director in the role of a lady fortune-teller.
When famous Harlem stripper Gertie LaRue arrives on the island of Rinidad, she is given celebrity treatment and taken to the Paradise Hotel, where she and her assistant, Stella Van Johnson, are placed in the posh bridal suite. The hotel's proprietor, Diamond Joe, is smitten with Gertie, but Gertie ignores Stella's suggestion that she take an interest in him. Meanwhile, in their private dormitory room, members of Gertie's troupe discuss Gertie's past relationship with a generous Harlem man named Al, whom Gertie treated poorly and deserted. Also staying at the hotel is the pious Mr. Jonathan Christian and his assistant Ezra Crumm, two missionaries who have come to the island to teach about sin. Having witnessed Gertie's flirtatious behavior on the boat, Mr. Christian tells Ezra that she is a "painted trollop." Gertie remains true to her reputation as a gregarious flirt when she joins a sailor named Tight Pants and a soldier named Big Boy for a drink at the Diamond Palace lounge. There, Larry, the bar's piano player, recognizes Gertie and plays a tune intended to stir memories of her troubled past in Harlem and her relationship with his friend Al. When Gertie returns to the hotel drunk and in the company of the two military men, Mr. Christian watches in horror as she kisses both of them. He also sees Gertie throw a liquor bottle at a hallucination of Al that has suddenly haunted her. Gertie faints when Mr. Christian emerges from the shadows, and when she regains consciousness, she misinterprets his actions and accuses him of trying to take advantage of her. Later that day, Gertie, having been spooked by bad omens since her arrival on the island, goes to a fortune teller, an old woman named Old Hager, who looks into her crystal ball and sees Gertie's misdeeds and has a vision of a man coming after her. However, neither the medium's portents nor Mr. Christian's best efforts to have the Diamond Palace shut down prevent Gertie from taking the stage and performing her striptease. During her act, Mr. Christian, who has been watching the show with interest, takes to the stage and orders an end to the show. A brawl ensues when he grabs Gertie, but Diamond Joe whisks her out of the club and takes her back to the hotel. Alone in her room, Gertie is unhappy with the image she has caught of herself in the mirror, and while she is thinking, Al bursts into the room from the balcony and shoots her. When Stella and the police rush into the room, Al tells them that he killed her because he loved her.
AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Accessed April 4, 2016 (http://www.afi.com/members/catalog/DetailView.aspx?s=&Movie=27623)
WorldCat. Accessed April 4, 2016 (https://www.worldcat.org/title/dirty-gertie-from-harlem-usa/oclc/422866093&referer=brief_results)
Released in 1947, Ebony Parade was a series of short sketches and numbers originally distributed as musical shorts by the Soundies Distributing Corporation of America.
A large poster for the film Ebony Parade with a blue background and an off-white border. Across the blue background are red musical notes and stars outlined in white. At the top center in red lettering is [20 Great Stars]. Printed in the center in small black type is [Astor Pictures presents] followed by [EBONY PARADE] in large yellow letters over a red background. Surrounding the title are color photographic portraits of the stars of the film. At the top left are the faces of Mantan Moreland, Dorothy Dandridge and Ruby Hill, followed by a full portrait of a seated Mabel Lee and in the bottom left corner is an image of the Mills Brothers gathered around two microphones. On the right side are the faces of Cab Calloway, Vanita Smythe, Francine Everett, and Count Basie. At the bottom right is a yellow box bordered in black with red text that reads [featuring/ Cab Calloway * Count Basie/ His Band His Band/ Mills. Bros. * Vanita Smythe/ Mantan Moreland * Mable Lee/ Ruby Hill * Francine Everett / Dorothy Dandridge * Pat Flowers/ and/ Day, Dawn, and Dusk * Jubilaries]. At the bottom left, in small white text on a red background is [RELEASED THRU ASTOR PICTURES CORP.]. On the back of the poster are two stamps in purple that say [Screen Classics, Inc. / 1632 Central Parkway, Cincinnati 10, Ohio].