A local detective investigates the murder of a Harlem band-leader, Prince Ellis, and along the way, develops a lengthy list of suspects as he learns of Ellis' unpopularity.
2015.167.16.1ab: 16mm black and white films.
Prince Ellis, a noted trumpet player, signs a Hollywood contract, and reporter Biff Boyd is assigned to interview him at the Penguin Club. Biff's girl friend, Linda Carroll, a newspaper secretary, joins him. Linda's younger sister Mae is in love with Prince, and their father, John Carroll, writes music for him. Although John and Linda advise Mae that Prince is a lothario who is not worthy of her, she refuses to believe them. While Mae adores her autographed photo of Prince, Prince's wife Cleo smashes hers. At the Penguin, Biff and Linda notice that Prince is giving Maxine Ray the runaround. Maxine was hired as a lead singer at the club by Chet Wallace, whom she spurned in favor of Prince. Instead of getting the interview, Biff and Linda ask Prince and Maxine to join them as they get drunk, and Biff and Prince get into a fight. The next day, Prince is visited by Mae, for whom he promises to send as soon as his divorce comes through; Cleo, who demands her alimony; and John, who warns Prince that he will kill him if he continues to see Mae. When Maxine arrives, Prince puts his trumpet to his mouth to play, but suddenly collapses and dies. A knife then passes before Maxine's face with a note attached, which warns her not to reveal the killer. Biff and Linda arrive at the apartment in time to find the body and see Maxine leaving. She is picked up for questioning after Biff telephones Captain Hall. It is soon determined that Prince died from poison placed on the mouthpiece of his trumpet. Biff gathers all the suspects at the Penguin, where Maxine collapses at the end of a song from a knife wound and dies. Biff discovers a clue when he learns that the sister of Buck Bedford, Prince's servant, killed herself following a love affair with Prince. Biff finds Buck unconscious in his apartment, but Buck escapes when the foolish Sergeant Slim, who was supposed to guard him, falls asleep during a card game. When Biff, Linda and the police enter Prince's apartment, they are shot at, and the culprit escapes, leaving a song sheet signed that day by John. Hall is ready to charge John, but Biff, who does not believe that John is the murderer, is given forty-eight hours to prove his innocence. After learning that Prince left no will, Biff assembles the suspects once again and has Lawyer Jones read a fake will in which one possession is left to each of his friends. Chet, who inherits Prince's trumpet, gives himself away as the murderer when he refuses to play it because of the poison. Chet then admits that he killed Maxine too because she threatened to expose him. The mystery solved, Biff and Linda plan to marry."
Source: AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Accessed on August 11, 2016 (http://www.afi.com/members/catalog/DetailView.aspx?s=&Movie=2264)
"Spirit of You" is a dramatic film based on the life of American heavyweight boxer Joe Louis. The lead character, Joe Thomas, is played by Joe Louis himself.
2015.167.19.1ab: 16mm black and white films.
Jefferson Thomas, a black foundry worker, is seriously injured when a heavy castor falls on his legs. No longer able to support his family, Jefferson's young son, Joe, decides to leave school and take a job. Many years later, Joe, now grown, gives his family all his savings and leaves Birmingham to make something of himself. Joe hitchhikes to Detroit, where he gets a job as a dishwasher and meets Creighton "Crickie" Fitzgibbons. When Crickie and Joe lose their jobs, they find work at a storage and shipping company, but are soon fired from the job when a foreman hits Crickie and Joe knocks him out with one punch. Impressed with his fighting abilities, Crickie encourages Joe to enter the Golden Gloves boxing tournament, and he is soon billed in the newspapers as the 'Dark Destroyer'. After winning the finals, manager Frankie Walburn offers to handle him as a professional. Joe accepts after consulting with his mother Nora, who now lives in the city, and who tells him to be honest and fair. As Joe wins bouts, Flora Bailey, a nightclub singer at the Bluebird Cafe´, who is in cahoots with gambler Duke Emblin, takes an interest in him. Their involvement worries Frankie, whose concern that he is ignoring his training antagonizes Joe. When Mary and Joe's sister Eleanor, visit Flora, they implore her to help get Joe back on track, but because Duke is now betting against Joe, Flora encourages his nightlife and drinking. Joe is knocked out in a match, and as he prepares for the heavyweight championship bout against Jack Stanley, he confesses to Flora that he loves Mary. When Flora sees that he does not have his heart in the fight, she brings Mary, now a schoolteacher, to the ring, and her presence spurs Joe to defeat Stanley in a knockout. Afterwards, he and Mary are guests of honor at a banquet at which Flora sings"
Source: AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Accessed on August 12, 2016 (http://www.afi.com/members/catalog/DetailView.aspx?s=&Movie=2226)