December 21st, 2006

  • mikemdp

A surprising find at Just-A-Buck

OK, so here's a new one on me. I dropped into the Just-A-Buck store for some last-minute stocking-stuffers and found a boatload of these "Black Cinema" DVDs. Usually a title like that means bad '70s PD stuff starring Jim Kelly, but these were a collection of 1930s and '40s "race movies" from the unfortunate days of segregated theaters.

Among the titles were a lot of Paul Robeson films as well as some early all-black-cast movies with Vaudeville greats like Moms Mabley. Titles included Boarding House Blues, Jericho, Two-Gun Man from Harlem and Mystery in Swing. 

They were distributed under the "Cascadia Entertainment" label by a Canadian company called Maple Technologies, which bills itself as "the largest independent video duplicator in Western Canada." Ya gotta be somethin', I guess.

MapleTech's Cascadia label must not have proven too lucrative, since its DVD wholesale catalog Web site has died, and the company's own site is a slapdash effort with lots of typos and bad grammar ("Richard Gere in 'Striking Force'!"). I wonder if the company may be just one guy with a bunch of dupe machines.

Anyway, I didn't purchase any of these so I cannot attest to their quality. I’ve read elsewhere online, though, that while the company's library includes a good amount of rare and novelty flicks, its quality is quite poor.

Still, if I had the money and it wasn't the holiday going-broke season, I'd have bought them all for their historical value.