Oldest Surviving Movie Starring Black Actor Bert Williams To Premiere In New York | Film News
Early 20th century Vaudeville actor comedian Bert Williams has been found to be the oldest black actor on film to date. Previously unseen footage has recently been uncovered of the Bahamas born singer and actor from 1913. The film titled Bert Williams Lime Kiln Field Day Project by curators, is said to be the oldest surviving footage of a black actor, and is set to be shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
No scripts or official story lines have been found supporting the movies narrative, but it is believed that the film is a romantic comedy based around Williams character, a member of the Black Social Club. Most of the other actors seen on the film have been identified to be members of profound black theatre companies of the time, such as the Colored Vaudeville Benevolent Association and The Frogs.
Williams character is seen wooing the beautify actress Warren Grey in competition with two other gentleman at an American funfair. The original film would have run for between 35-40 minutes And is set to be premiered at Moma as part of an exhibition titled 100 Years in Post-Production: Resurrecting a Lost Landmark of Black Film History, on the 24th of October.
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