Item #8591 Stupendous All-Star Negro Motion Picture : The Green-Eyed Monster. Richard E. Norman.
Stupendous All-Star Negro Motion Picture : The Green-Eyed Monster.

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Norman, Richard E.

Stupendous All-Star Negro Motion Picture : The Green-Eyed Monster.

[Jacksonville, Fl., Norman Film Studios, 1919]. Circular, 6.25” x 4.75”. 4 pp., 6 photo-illustrations. CONDITION: Very good.

A scarce advertisement for this action packed “thriller” by an early and important producer of all-Black films, and showcasing “the cream of talent of the colored race.”

Produced by then-itinerant filmmaker Richard Norman, The Green-Eyed Monster premiered as the dramatic tale of competition between “two men in love with one girl,” unfolding in tandem with the action-packed struggle between “two rival railroads in their fight for supremacy.” The feature included many “startling scenes,” including an “$80,000.00 train wreck,” a “Pistol Duel Between Detectives and the Villain” and a “Hair-Raising Abduction of the Heroine and Her Rescue by the Hero After Thrilling Chase on a Steel Monster.” The excitement is rendered “even more interesting than the usual ‘thrillers’ because of the fact that the characters are colored people, splendidly assuming the different roles of Railroad President, Financial Backer, Traffic, Manager, Directors, Superintendent, Railroad Contractor, Minister, Lawyer, Doctor and representing the cream of talent of the colored race.” The film initially flopped: “African American audiences responded favorably to the dramatic story of racial uplift and achievement expressed in the film, but were unimpressed with the new comedic elements. So, Norman headed back into the editing room, cutting the comedic elements and remixing them into their own slapstick romantic comedy called The Love Bug. In 1920, he re-released The Green Eyed Monster as a dramatic film and often screened The Love Bug as a pre-feature extra. The combination proved successful” (“Green Eyed”). Unfortunately no portion of the film survives, but reviews list Jack Austin, Steve Reynolds, Robert A. Stuart, and Louise Dunbar among the actors.

White filmmaker Richard Norman (1891–1960) was born in Middleburg, Florida, and established himself in the Midwest, primarily through promotional films. His extravagantly expensive train wreck scene—which was incorporated in many of his early works, as well as The Green-Eyed Monster—is an early example of the profitable use of stock footage. Norman came into contact with pioneering Black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux in Chicago, where he entered the world of “race films,” in which African American casts play “non-stereotypical roles” (“Richard Norman”). The Green-Eyed Monster was his first foray into race films, and around 1923 he purchased Eagle Studios in what is now the Old Arlington neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida. Renaming his previously-itinerant enterprise “Norman Film Manufacturing Company Studio,” he went on to single-handedly write, finance, produce, edit, and distribute a total of at least eight full-length films featuring African American casts, becoming one of the most prominent early producers of Black films in the 1920s.

Just three holdings of this circular for The Green-Eyed Monster are located in OCLC, at Princeton, State Library of Florida, and Southern Methodist University. 

A rare circular promoting the first iteration of this early race film by one of the genre’s earliest and most prominent filmmakers.

REFERENCES: “The Green Eyed Monster” and “Richard Norman,” at Norman Studios online.

Item #8591


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