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Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films, Fourth Edition [Paperback]

by Donald Bogle
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 24, 2001 082641267X 978-0826412676 4
Completely updated to include the entire twentieth century, this new fourth edition covers all the latest directors, stars, and films including Summer of Sam, Jackie Brown, The Best Man, and The Hurricane. From The Birth of a Nation--the groundbreaking work of independent filmmaker Oscar Micheaux--and Gone with the Wind to the latest work by Spike Lee, John Singleton, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry and Will Smith, Donald Bogle reveals the ways in which the depiction of blacks in American movies has changed--and the shocking ways in which it has remained the same.

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Editorial Reviews


"America's leading historian on black cinema."—USA Today

"A well-researched and lively romp through the history of blacks in films. Far more inclusive and informative than previous books on the subject."—The New York Times

"Mr. Bogle continues to be our most noted black-cinema historian."-Spike Lee

"Bogle is passionate and good-humored. His book is valuable as a film reference work and social document."—Gene Siskel

"Thank goodness for Donald Bogle."—Essence

"No one tells the story of Black Tinseltown like Donald Bogle. From the writing of the classic best seller Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks, to his definitive biography of Dorothy Dandridge, this film scholar has made Hollywood his town."—Essence (4/05)

Mentioned as the author’s “…landmark study” in a review for his new book. –Washington Post Book World, 2/27/05

About the Author

Donald Bogle is one of the foremost authorities on African Americans in film and the arts. He is the author of the classic Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films, which is published by Continuum. His best-selling Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood received the Hurston/Wright Finalist Legacy Award in Non-fiction. His other books include the critically acclaimed Dorothy Dandridge: A Biography; Blacks in American Films and Television: An Illustrated Encyclopedia; and Primetime Blues: African Americans on Network Television. He has appeared on such television programs as Entertainment Tonight; Today; Good Morning, America; and Nightline; and has served as a commentator on such documentaries as Spike Lee's Jim Brown: All-American, American Movie Classics' Small Steps . . . Big Strides, and TV Land's three-part series on African Americans on television. He also co-hosted Turner Classic Movies' award-winning series Race and Hollywood. The first edition of the present book, Brown Sugar, covered eighty years of America's black female superstars, and was turned into the highly successful four-part PBS documentary series by Mr. Bogle.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 4 edition (October 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082641267X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826412676
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books I have read November 13, 2005
This is perhaps the GREATEST book accounting the plight of Blacks in film. I read this book for a class titled "Blacks in the Electronic Media" during undergrad. After reading this book and watching television, I honestly felt as if I were let out of the "Matrix." To this day, I can not watch television and not be critical of whats being aired. These charatcters are very visible today at this very moment. If you want a deep experience and to fully understand whats on the television and the movie screen, BUY THIS BOOK!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Have you ever seen Green Pastures, or Hallelujiah, or any of the other Studio made films of the Golden Age that feature all black casts?

I have.

Have you ever seen any of the Independent Films with all black casts made during the same period, but only seen in theatres catering to black audiences?

I have, sadly, not.

This book opened my eyes.

Forget the familiar actors of the 80's to the present day, even the great ones, this book will open your eyes to the rich heritage of black actors, and film, between 1955 and 1975, but more importantly it will reveal to you the complicated, yet glorious, world of these films, and actors, in the Golden Age of film.

If you belong to Netflix, or some other similar service then search out the films, and actors mentioned here if they are available and rent their films.

You will not be disappointed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The History of Blacks In Film October 25, 2007
By Ms. 90
Whew! This is not a book to be read in one sitting. This is 433 pages chock-full of the history of Black actors/actresses in film. From the humble beginnings of actor James B. Lowe in Uncle Tom's Cabin to the current mass appeal of Samuel L. Jackson and Morgan Freeman, Bogle takes us on an wonderfully detailed journey that chronicles the contributions of Black actors/actresses in film. Of course, Bogle's book includes those well-known films from the bygone era, but he also notes those little known films that featured Blacks playing roles that, in most instances, were the stereotypical tom and mammy, but allowed Blacks to at least get a foot in the door to make inroads to the current day Hollywood. After reading this, you'll likely want to hit up the nearest video store to pick-up some movies that you've never seen or seen before to determine whether you now view them in a different light.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational Read May 16, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for a friend because I borrowed hers, and then didn't want to give it back. There are so many people I didn't know about, or facts I'd never heard about. This would be a great gift for a person between ages 15-100's who love movies or looking for their history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Teaching African American Film May 10, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've used this text a few times in the past in my African American Film class. It is simply the best text out there for this subject (up to the 80s). It is astonishingly well researched, and manages to have both a strong continuous argument and amazing details about heaps of films, and in depth analysis of individual careers. My students usually hate 'textbooks' but they truly loved this one. It is true that the text is a little old in the sense that he still uses a lot of defunct language (though in its historical context) and by the 80s he is pretty much done, so I needed new material for contemporary film. But if you love film you'll love this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading December 10, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Donald Bogle is a terrific writer and historian. All his books are worth getting for enjoyment and research. A great gift for your research shelf.
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This is an updated version (4/e) of Bogle's classic book of the same title. The epithets in the title convey the essence of the black experience in cinema, particularly prior to the 1980s. Well written with tight prose and sardonic wit, Bogle touches upon every major film in a narrative, story-like manner. The book is richly detailed with image stills that capture the black actor stereotypes of films, including rare images from early films. After reading this book, the reader will never look at films featuring black actors in the same way. Extraordinarily well-researched, deeply critical and insightful, Bogle just nails it. From the mammmies to Blackploitation of the seventies to buddy-cop films of the eighties, this books covers them all. It is required reading for African American studies at UCLA including its film school (four copies are available in the UCLA libraries). Unfortunately, this book is out of print and nearly impossible to find nowadays (sigh). If you are a student of cinema, then this is a must-have for your library.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Resource - Movie History June 24, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good resource guide that presents a historical analysis of the portrayal of African Americans in film. It provides a understanding how stereotypes are used to sell movies and how actors/actresses can be boxed into specific roles.
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