African-American Religion in the Hollywood Imagination
This chapter discusses approaches to the co-construction of religion and race in Hollywood films focusing on the case of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s 1929 film Hallelujah. Directed by King Vidor, the film extended popular culture and literary traditions of naturalizing and sanctioning American racial hierarchies through the presentation of an aesthetic of primitive black religion. The chapter examines the production history and reception of the film with attention to discourses about race, religion, and representation, as well as about the relationship between African-American religious practices and civil rights more broadly.
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