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Night of the Quarter Moon

Night of the Quarter Moon(1959)

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teaser Night of the Quarter Moon (1959)

Nothing snaps Chuck (John Drew Barrymore) out of his post-POW malaise like the sight of Ginny (Julie London) shamelessly swimming in the nude. His brother brought him to this quiet Mexican hamlet so the battle-scarred vet could get his head together, but meeting Ginny--smart, funny, beautiful and uninhibited--hangs the trajectory of his whole life. He wants to marry her, but she's got a secret: a maternal grandmother who was "Portuguese Angolan," meaning Ginny's not really white. Undeterred, Chuck weds her anyway, only to meet the wrath of society back home, to say nothing of his money-conscious mother (Agnes Moorehead). Directed by sordid noir veteran Hugo Haas and produced by exploitation movie king Albert Zugsmith (High School Confidential! (1958), this uniquely tawdry-meets-socially-conscious movie follows the tradition of other movies like Pinky (1949) and Imitation of Life (1959) by casting white actresses as "tragic mulattas", but also makes room for distinguished performances by Nat King Cole, Anna Kashfi, and James Edwards, a forgotten "everyman" African American actor of the era.

By Violet LeVoit

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