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Way Down South (July 21, 1939)

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Sally Blane in Way Down South
 

Released on July 21, 1939: (running time 61 minutes) An evil lawyer tries to keep the son of a plantation owner from inheriting his fathers estate.

Produced by Sol Lesser

Directed by Leslie Goodwins and Bernard Vorhaus

The Actors: Bobby Breen (Timothy Reid Jr.), Alan Mowbray (Jacques Bouton), Ralph Morgan (Timothy Reid Sr.), Steffi Duna (Pauline Dubini, Dill's mistress), Clarence Muse (Uncle Caton), Sally Blane (Claire Bouton), Edwin Maxwell (Martin Dill), Charles Middleton (Cass, plantation foreman), Robert Greig (Judge Louis Ravenal), Lillian Yarbo (Janie, plantation housekeeper), Matthew 'Stymie' Beard (Gumbo), Hal Johnson Choir (musical ensemble), Willy Best (chimney sweep), Stanley Blystone (slave auctioneer), Don Brodie (slave buyer), Jack Carr (Luke), Ed Cassidy (slave trader), Charles Dixon (drummer), Ruby Elzy (soloist in Hall Johnson Choir), Lillian Randolph (slave), Blue Washington (slave), Marguerite Whitten (Lulu)

 
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Clarence, Bobby and Susan

There are fascinating stories about several of the actors in this story, but I only have time to tell you about two of them before the movie begins. One was the son of an impoverished immigrant family from the Ukraine that was born in Montreal, Canada in 1927, and the other was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1889.

When the poor Ukrainian immigrant family moved to Toronto, Canada, three-year-old Isadore Borsuk was already singing like a pro. His parents tried to discourage him, but Isadore had an older sister Susan, who was also musically minded. As Isadore got a bit older and even better at singing, older sister Susan convinced young Isadore to run away from home with her, and soon the two were in Chicago working on stage with Gloria Swanson and Milton Berle. When they came to America, Isadore Borsuk changed his name to a more American sounding Bobby Breen. Soon Hollywood producer Sol Lesser discovered his talent and his movie career was launched. In this story, he is the twelve-year-old son of a Louisiana plantation owner.

Clarence Muse was born in Baltimore Maryland in 1889, and got a law degree in 1911. Instead of going into the legal profession after college, he became an actor and song writer. In 1929 he was part of the cast of the first Hollywood motion picture with an all-black cast. In 1943 he became the first African American Broadway director. After sixty years of acting in more than 150 movies, he passed on October 13, 1979, the same day that the movie opened in New York City that he last appeared in. Largely because of his help in writing the music for this story, the movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music and Scoring. In this story, he is Uncle Caton, the butler for the plantation. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Clarence Muse
Clarence Muse
Alan Mowbray
Alan Mowbray
Alan Mobray and Bobby Breen
Alan Mobray and Bobby Breen
Alan Mowbray and Sally Blane
Alan Mowbray and Sally Blane
Alan Mowbray and Sally Blane
Alan Mowbray and Sally Blane
Bobby Breen
Bobby Breen
Charles Middleton and Edwin Maxwell
Charles Middleton and Edwin Maxwell
Clarence Muse
Clarence Muse
Clarence Muse
Clarence Muse
Edwin Maxwell
Edwin Maxwell
Jack Carr
Jack Carr
Jack Carr and Marguerite Whitten
Jack Carr and Marguerite Whitten
Jack Carr
Jack Carr
Lillian Yarbo
Lillian Yarbo
Lillian Yarbo and Matthew Beard
Lillian Yarbo and Matthew Beard
Marguerite Whitten
Marguerite Whitten
Marguerite Whitten
Marguerite Whitten
Marguerite Whitten
Marguerite Whitten
Matthew Beard and Lillian Yarbo
Matthew Beard and Lillian Yarbo
Matthew 'Stymie' Beard
Matthew 'Stymie' Beard
Matthew 'Stymie' Beard
Matthew 'Stymie' Beard
Ralph Morgan
Ralph Morgan
Robert Greig
Robert Greig
RObert Greig and Alan Mowbray
RObert Greig and Alan Mowbray
Robert Greig and Bobby Breen
Robert Greig and Bobby Breen
Sally Blane and Bobby Breen
Sally Blane and Bobby Breen
Steffi Duna
Steffi Duna
Steffi Duna
Steffi Duna
Steffi Duna
Steffi Duna
Willie Best
Willie Best