I wasn't aware that Will Rogers was a movie star. He is more famous for things like, "Henry Ford may have helped us, or may have hurt us, but he sure didn't leave us where he found us."
I have the dvr set to capture programs with "Henry Ford." It recorded this John Ford directed 1934 movie, set in 1890 Confederate Kentucky. Other notables were Stepnfetchit and Hattie McDaniels of later "Gone with the Wind" fame.
It was fun to watch, in spite of the condition of the film, and this being only six years into talkies. Rogers was his usual clever self.
Yes, a big movie star. One of my all time favorite movies is his last, John Ford's Steamboat Round the Bend. Berton Churchill's performance as the New Moses is a treat.
Insanely quick wit along the lines of George Carlin or Robin Williams. I'm not sure if he couldn't spell worth a damn or was just trying to keep his column's "homey". But their a tough read. As far as his movies are concerned the Hollywood treatment of Blacks is just plain embarasing. Can't watch them. Even alone. Makes my skin crawl.
I agree that the offhand casual racism of the time is pretty striking, but that's our history. I enjoy the good parts and look at the embarrassing parts as an interesting study of who we once were. Race in our country is a bewilderingly complex can of worms, even today.
Historically accurate ??? who can really document.... been a problem in films for years. I agree, that those actions portrayed would not be socially acceptable today, but must be put in proper context for the time in history..... although crude by today's standards.
Comparing the "insanely quick wit" of Carlin to Rogers is mind-boggling to me. IMHO. Will Rogers was the gentleman humorist who didn't feel the need of using vulgarity to gain popularity.
And in the last scene of 'Judge Priest' I greatly enjoyed the joviality of the old, Confederate veterans marching down main street singing as the band played Dixie.