Rainbow on the River (December 18, 1936)

Rainbow on the River
 

Released on December 18, 1936: (running time 1 hour and 19 minutes) A Southern Civil War orphan thinks his grandmother might be a grumpy old Yankee lady.

Produced by Sol Lesser

Directed by Kurt Neumann

The Actors: Bobby Breen (Philip Ainsworth), Louise Beavers (’Toinette), May Robson (Mrs. Harriet Ainsworth), Charles Butterworth (Barrett, Ainsworth servant), Alan Mowbray (Ralph Layton), Benita Hume (Julia Layton), Henry O'Neill (Father Josef), Marilyn Knowlden (Lucille Layton), Hall Johnson (singer and choral ensemble director), Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson (doctor), Matthew 'Stymie' Beard (Jefferson Davis Christopher Columbus Lillybell Jones, Seline's son), Betty Blythe (flower buyer), Theresa Maxwell Conover (Mrs. Logan), Lillian Harmer (Superintendant), Lew Kelly (cabbie), Lillian Yarbo (Seline Jones), Clarence Wilson (Yankee buying chicken)

 

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The Rebel Orphan, The Flower Lady, and the Grumpy Yankee Grandma

After graduating from Pasadena high school Louise got a job as a dressing room attendant for a photographer, and a personal maid to silent film star Leatrice Joy. Louise Beavers was also part of an all-girl group called the “Lady Minstrels,” who staged plays and musical productions at the Loews State Theater. When Charles Butler, a talent scout for Hollywood Central Casting Bureau saw her performing, he convinced her to try out for motion pictures.

Many film historians criticize Louise Beavers for making a career out of playing the maid, cook, or other domestic servant, but Louise was proud of her busy movie career. She was determined to bloom where she was planted, and in the early days of Hollywood a black actress was almost always either a domestic servant or a jungle savage, and she was not ready to prance around in a grass skirt.

Louise Beavers claims to have been the third black woman to perform in front of a movie camera, and her career spanned forty years and more than one hundred and fifty movies before her final appearance in a 1960 motion picture. In this story Louise Beavers is the leading female actor, playing the part of a slave tending after the orphaned son of her owners.

I am confident that this movie will never be shown on television or any other mainstream movie format. Why? Because it involves slaves, slavery, and the treatment of black Americans in a way that would not be accepted today. So why do I share it with the world? Because if we don’t remember where we have been, how will we know where we are? Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Louise Beavers
Louise Beavers
Alan Mowbray
Alan Mowbray
Alan Mowbray
Alan Mowbray
Benita Hume
Benita Hume
Benita Hume, Alan Mowbray
Benita Hume, Alan Mowbray
Benita Hume
Benita Hume
Bobby Breen
Bobby Breen
Bobby Breen, Matthew Beard
Bobby Breen, Matthew Beard
Bobby Breen, May Robson
Bobby Breen, May Robson
Bobby Breen
Bobby Breen
Charles Butterworth
Charles Butterworth
Charles Butterworth
Charles Butterworth
Charles Butterworth
Charles Butterworth
Clarence Wilson
Clarence Wilson
Clarence Wilson
Clarence Wilson
Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson
Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson
Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Lillian Yarbo
Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Lillian Yarbo
Hall Johnson
Hall Johnson
Henry O'Neill
Henry O'Neill
Henry O'Neill, Bobby Breen
Henry O'Neill, Bobby Breen
Henry O'Neill
Henry O'Neill
Lew Kelly
Lew Kelly
Lillian Yarbo
Lillian Yarbo
Lillian Yarbo, Louise Beavers
Lillian Yarbo, Louise Beavers
Lillian Yarbo
Lillian Yarbo
Lillian Yarbo
Lillian Yarbo
Louise Beavers
Louise Beavers
Louise Beavers, Henry O'Neill
Louise Beavers, Henry O'Neill
Louise Beavers
Louise Beavers
Louise Beavers
Louise Beavers
Louise Beavers
Louise Beavers
Louise Beavers
Louise Beavers
Marilyn Knowlden
Marilyn Knowlden
Marilyn Knowlden, Benita Hume
Marilyn Knowlden, Benita Hume
Marilyn Knowlden
Marilyn Knowlden
Matthew Beard
Matthew Beard
Matthew Beard
Matthew Beard
May Robson
May Robson
May Robson
May Robson
May Robson
May Robson