Monday, 10 May 2010

Lena Horne (1917-2010)

Lena Horne had probably one of the most frustrating careers in Hollywood - just because she wasn't white. She talked quite candidly about this in "That's Entertainment III". She was a singer whose numbers could be easily taken out of the film, especially in the South of the USA. Yet, among those numbers are one of the best renditions of "Stormy Weather" ever (although I prefer Judy Garland's). One of the few starring roles was in Vincente Minnelli's "Cabin in the Sky", an all-black musical, but even there one of her numbers ("Ain't it the Truth") was cut because she sang it while in the bath, i.e. too sexy (and it is...). MGM released it later in one of their shorts and you can see it as an extra on DVD. Go, watch it, do it, pay homage to a great singer who never got the chances she deserved as an actress.



Anyway she was a product of the brown-sugar hype, which is racism as well.

Evangeline Holland said...

How her career would have played out if she were at another studio (Fox? Universal?)? Not only did MGM not know what to do with her, but honestly, she didn't fit in with Louis B. Mayer's image of "American" (you know, the Andy Hardy films). If Thalberg had lived ten or fifteen more years, I can't help but wonder what he vision he would have seen for her career.