Uncle Tom's Cabin

1927

Drama / History

0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 83%
IMDb Rating 6.8 10 431

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
September 29, 2021 at 04:08 AM

Cast

Louise Beavers as Slave at Wedding
Francis Ford as Captain
Rondo Hatton as Slave
720p.BLU
228.89 MB
1280*960
English 2.0
NR
24 fps
12 hr 24 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by rudy-46 9 / 10

Another Golden Epic

This is perhaps the best film adaption of the classic Harriet Beecher Stowe novel. One of the more expensive films for the time, a price tag of $1.8 million, it is brimming with brilliant photography and fine performances. A film beautifully restored with the original movietone score and one of the few surviving works of director Harry Pollard, a lesser known name in the annals of cinema history but nonetheless an innovative filmmaker. Mr. Pollard successfully captures the mood of the old pre-war South while emphasizing the horror and immorality of slavery. James Lowe gives a fine performance in the title role, obedient yet not lacking integrity. Some characterizations may seem degrading to today's audiences, but this film was groundbreaking for its sympathy for African-Americans of the time. This film is also important in that it features a great actress of the silent period and wife of the director, Margarita Fischer. I had seen many striking photos of Ms. Fischer in Daniel Blum's Pictorial History of the Silent Screen and was delighted to find one of her few surviving films on video. She stars as Eliza, a fair skinned servant who eventually falls into the hands of the sinister Simon Legree, played by George Siegmann. Ms. Fischer gives a powerful performance of a young woman defying the evils of a cruel world and there is a memorable scene of her flight to freedom across the ice flows with her son. This was this lovely actresses' swan song, for she retired prematurely after this film and lived many more years. An early appearance of Virginia Grey as Little Eva, Harry Pollard's mastery of filmmaking, and Margarita Fischer's beauty and talent all combine to make film preservation an important cause.

Reviewed by Pleasehelpmejesus 7 / 10

Dated but effective

While this movie certainly suffers from the prevailing prejudices of the times it still carries great emotional weight and manages to humanize slaves and rightfully demonize the institution of slavery itself. Turkish actor Arthur Edmund Carewe is a little more believable as a light skinned black person than is Marguerite Fischer in her role as Eliza but Fischer's performance is pretty effective. I was a little surprised to find that she was once promoted as the "American Beauty". She seemed particularly unattractive to me and even though she had quite a successful film career prior to this film (her last) I can't help but think that being married to the film's director, co-screenwriter and co-producer helped get her cast. Still, standards of beauty are mutable and she is not the only actress from early twentieth cinema whose physical appeal is a mystery to modern eyes.

The oddly and somewhat eerily talented Lassie Lou Ahern plays her son Harry.Even though cross gender casting was not uncommon for child roles(nor for "Lassie's" either come to think of it) she is not very believable as a little boy. The fairly common habit in the years before and the early years of the 20th century of dressing up boys in girlish clothing doesn't help either. Still it is an amazing performance, for a 7 year old. Her acrobatic dancing being particularly notable.

James B. Lowe, the only actual African-American actor in one of the lead roles is outstanding as Uncle Tom. What is even more outstanding is the dignity and lack of minstrelsy in the way he is allowed to play him. Not at all typical of even the few films with sympathies toward the plight of black Americans and slaves from the start of American cinema to the late 1950's, this treatment and characterization of Uncle Tom goes a long way toward negating the ridiculous portrayal of the slaves of the kindly Shelby's as happy and content, even thankful (Tom and his wife proclaim how the Lord has blessed them with their life on the plantation)to be in bondage. For a slave, happiness was relative. I wish I could remember who said it but I have heard it said that 'the slave with a cruel master wishes for a kind one-the slave with a kind master wishes for freedom'. The myth of the contented slave grew out of the necessity for self-preservation and the fact that protests fell on deaf ears anyway. Certainly some slave owners were otherwise decent people who were also victims of the pseudo-science that proclaimed blacks as simple naive and in need of white guidance at one end of the philosophical spectrum and as sub-human and even evil at the other. The prevailing attitude was probably somewhere in-between. Certainly contact with slaves served to humanize them for some whites and their value as property and investment and laborers called for some humane treatment if only to protect them as such. The saintly Eva is a bit unrealistic but there certainly were many Southern whites who were rightly disgusted with slavery and the treatment of black people in general. Eva's declaration of love (and Aunt Ophelia's declaration of same after Eva's death) for Topsy is a major statement socially and cinematically. Affection on a non-patronizing level between blacks and whites on screen was almost never displayed and even more rarely stated outright. The physical contact between Uncle Tom and Eliza's mother Cassie was also exceptional. Even though the characters are both "black" the actress playing Cassie was not and the hand holding with and affectionate nursing of Lowe's Uncle Tom was the kind of action that would normally raise howls of protest from certain audiences. This avoidance of physical contact between especially a white female and a black male was still occurring even into the 1970's when some TV stations banned a special featuring a prominent white British female singer and a famous black actor/singer holding hands during a duet.

One of the first multi-million dollar productions, this film is not quite faithful to the book but still catches the viewer up in the plight of George and Eliza in particular and manages to indict the evil institution of slavery despite its concession to certain "sensibilities". A scene showing Uncle Tom rescuing Eva from the river was cut-probably so as not to give a black character too much heroic prominence but Eliza's escape over the ice floes is as realistic (even though it was done, or rather re-done on a studio backlot after having some footage shot on location originally) as anything of the times or even later. Actors and stunt people blend seamlessly and there is a real sense of danger conveyed.

Cinematically and dramatically the film more than justifies its huge budget and if a modern viewer can stomach some of the cliché portrayal of blacks and slaves and the cartoon-ish portrayal of some of the white characters they might find themselves understanding why Abraham Lincoln upon meeting Harriet Beecher Stowe was supposed to have remarked "So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war!" Only a true Simon Legree could look at even this stylized portrayal of slavery and still support the "peculiar institution".

Added December 12 2005:

Wanted to mention to Joseph Ulibas that while he is right that this film marks an innovative use of a racially mixed cast thecharacters of the slaves George, Eliza and Topsy were all played by white actors.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10

A Family Man

In these days Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel of Uncle Tom's Cabin is known more by historians as a contributing cause of the Civil War than as an actual literary work. I would happily include myself in that number. The only exposure I had to the story at all was in watching The King And I where Tuptim puts on the play for the king recognizing the story as an indictment of slavery. So sadly did the king, but that's another story.

What you're seeing in this 1927 version is not Harriet Beecher Stowe's story, it couldn't be because there are references in the film to the Dred Scott decision, the firing on Fort Sumter and the Emancipation Proclamation all in the future because her story was published in 1852.

What slaves, free blacks, and sympathetic northerners like the Quaker family you see who rescue Eliza and her baby are afraid of the new strict fugitive slave law. The law was part of the Compromise of 1850 which almost mandated help for slave catchers who found runaway slaves in the north. It was a stench in the nostrils of folks like the Quakers who were prominent in the anti-slavery movement.

We're not seeing Stowe's story, but we are seeing her vision of the cruelty of slavery as an institution. Even the idea that black people were to be thought of as equal was radical in too many eyes back in the day.

Stowe used a lot of what would later be labeled stereotypes, most importantly the phrase 'Uncle Tom'. That which denotes a person willing to accept inequality in all its forms. The criticism has certain validity, but I think for the wrong reasons.

As seen her old Uncle Tom is the elder head of the plantation blacks on a Kentucky estate who the master even trusts to go to free state Ohio on business for him. No one can believe that Uncle Tom actually returns, the criticism is that his pride is so broken he accepts what the slave owners give him.

Tom returns, not because he accepts, but because in that cabin are his wife and children, even in slavery he's a family man. This is the most horrible thing of all for Stowe, the human beings are property. Even the kindly masters shown here like the Shelbys, Tom's owners accumulate debts and have to sell Tom and break up that family. Families being destroyed is the cardinal sin for Stowe.

Except for young Virginia Grey playing little Eliza the innocent who hasn't learned to regard certain people as beneath treating as human, most people today won't know the cast members. Some might know Lucien Littlefield who has a small role as a bottom feeding slave dealer. This was not a profession that attracted the best in society. James B. Lowe as Uncle Tom you will not forget, he invests great dignity in the original Uncle Tom role of them all.

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