I always want what I can’t have…
I have a serious problem, dear readers. I want what I can’t have.
Today I narrowed the selection of passing films I will be using in my thesis. I now desperately want to use the 1932 Oscar Micheaux’ Veiled Aristocrats.
Stars: Lorenzo Tucker, Laura Bowman
Director: Oscar Micheaux
Written by: Oscar Micheaux
Distributor: Micheaux Film Corporation
Release date: May 16, 1932
Run-time: 44 Minutes
Plot (according to Wikipedia): John Walden, a light-skinned African American lawyer, returns to his family in North Carolina after being away for 20 years. Walden has passed as white and been successful. He discovers domestic turmoil: his mother is trying to dissuade his sister Rena, who is also light skinned, from being romantically involved with Frank Fowler (Carl Mahon), a dark-skinned African-American businessman. With his mother’s blessing, Walden suggest that Rena abandon Fowler and move with him to another part of the city, where she could pass for white.
After Rena reluctantly agrees, her brother sets her up in a fancy home with African-American servants, who are initially unaware of Rena’s African ancestry. Rena is pursued by a white high-class man who proposes marriage. Becoming uncomfortable with the situation, Rena tells her brother that she is a “negress” and is “tired of being a liar and a cheat”. Rena reunites with Frank and they elope.
So what’s the issue?: It’s a lost film. It is believed that no copies of the complete original film exist. A trailer and fragments from two reels were, quite serendipitously, discovered in a Tennessee garage in 1992 and they now live at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.