A struggling musician's wife agrees to dance in his show in order to cement its success, even though she knows her heart condition will ultimately not allow her to survive the performance.
2015.167.2.1a: 16mm black and white film.
2015.167.2.1b: Original metal film reel.
2015.167.2.1c: Original metal, 16mm fIlm canister. Exterior film canister label reads: Handwritten: Duke Ellington's "Black + Tan Fantasy" / Typed: Wald Transfer & Storage Co.
2015.167.2.1d: Original cardboard film shipping box. Exterior film shipping box label reads: Handwritten: Nate Zelikon, 5555 West Loop South, Suite 155, Bellaire, Texas, 77401 / "Black + Tan Fantasy" Duke Ellington
This feature film uses jazz both organically and dramatically and with a slight melodramatic plot that provides the background for the first appearance of Duke Ellington on film. Appearing with Ellington are his Cotton Club Orchestra , the Hall Johnson Choir, and Fredi Washington. Musical numbers include: "Black and Tan Fantasy," "The Duke Steps Out," "Black Beauty," "Cotton Club Stomp," "Hot Feet," and "Same Train." Anticipates, with its kaleidoscope conclusion, the staging and optical effects used by Busby Berkeley years later. In one of the first short musical films to showcase African-American jazz musicians, Duke Ellington portrays a struggling musician whose dancer wife (Fredi Washington in her film debut) secures him a gig for his orchestra at the famous Cotton Club where she’s been hired to perform, at a risk to her health.
"2015 National Film Registry." News release, December 16, 2015. News from the Library of Congress. Accessed on August 12, 2016 (https://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2015/15-216.html)
WorldCat. Accessed on August 12, 2016 (http://www.worldcat.org/title/black-and-tan-fantasy/oclc/317363368&referer=brief_results)