Stepin FetchitAs Stepin Fetchit - "the ultimate embodiment of the lazy, whining servant" - actor Lincoln Perry made so much money from white America that he owns a dozen cars, including "a $16,000 pink Rolls-Royce with his name in neon." Hattie McDaniel, meanwhile, bought a 17-room mansion with the profits she earned from playing an endless parade of comfortably rebellious maids. A pair ofnew biographies aim to illuminate the profoundly conflicted roles that these controversial pioneers played, both in Hollywood and within their own cultures and lives.

A surface examination reveals that Perry, while cringingly submissive on screen, was "about as angry and aggressive a fighter as humanly possible" off-screen; McDaniel, on the other hand, was much more aggressive and confrontational on-screen than she was while not in front of the cameras. Both books, however, go much deeper into their subjects, and offer us long overdue looks at these noteworthy but heretofore rarely examined figures.
categories Movies, Cinematical