"Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910)

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Dief88

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"Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910)

PostThu Feb 23, 2017 11:59 pm

Hello all, new board member here. I thought some might be interested in watching the film "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand," a 1910 silent film I just uploaded to YouTube.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF480rLzwZ0[/youtube]

The film first came to my attention a few months ago when I noticed it listed on the website ICheckMovies. Oddly, only four people had indicated they'd seen it despite the film being on an official ICM list, and I could find no trace of it online. I became determined to track it down.

I was eventually able to get a copy via interlibrary loan through the university where I work. It was apparently commercially released (in a very limited fashion) along with three other silent films on a long-OOP VHS entitled "Visions of Africa," which had been converted to DVD-R at some point. I'm not sure if the DVD was made by the lending library from the VHS, or by the original manufacturer at some point. (I'm guessing the former, since the DVD-R had a pretty tacky handmade paper label glues to the top of the disc!)

The film itself is perhaps less interesting than the process of finding it and ultimately making it available for people everywhere to see. Like many depictions of Africans and African Americans from the early silent era, it's filled with stereotypically racist themes and imagery. Still, it's an interesting and important part of film history that I thought folks here might appreciate.
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boblipton

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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostFri Feb 24, 2017 4:36 am

How did you arrive at the date of 1910? The IMDB (certainly not the last word on the subject, but indicative) says 1913.

Bob
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Spiny Norman

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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostFri Feb 24, 2017 5:45 am

By the way, I'll let you in on one of this board's closest guarded secrets: For youtube links, you have to remove the S from httpS, then it will work:

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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostFri Feb 24, 2017 5:53 am

It seems that it might be 1913 after all, judging by lantern.

Wow, no lack of stereotypes here...!

Judging by the picture, it was indeed transferred from VHS as you already suspected. Long live ILL! (Well, the only time I borrowed a DVD that way, it was defective. But still.) Out of interest, what were the other three silent films?
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostFri Feb 24, 2017 9:55 am

Thanks for the tip on embedding YouTube videos...I wondered why it wasn't working!

As far as the date, I was going off of the back of the "Visions of Africa" DVD case. I was also referring to this IMDb entry, which seems to refer to this film: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0139557/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

My understanding was that "Rastus Among the Zulus" and "Rastus in Zululand" are in fact the same film. But is it possible that these are actually two different films (both by the same director, if IMDb is to be believed), or that 1913's "Rastus Among the Zulus" is actually a recut version of 1910's "Rastus in Zululand"? (The version I found clearly has intertitles that read "Rastus Among the Zulus.")
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostFri Feb 24, 2017 10:04 am

Also, the other three silent films included are:

1) "The Zulu's Heart" (D.W. Griffith, 1908)
2) "The Kaffir's Gratitude" (1916)
3) "The Sins of Rosanne" [Reels 3 & 4] (Tom Forman, 1920)

I actually have a few questions about these. Has the Griffith film been otherwise released on home video? I haven't been able to find it anywhere online, so I will probably upload this to YouTube as well.

I'm also a bit confused about "The Sins of Rosanne." The DVD case claims that what's included are reels 3 and 4, but I'm not actually sure if that's the case. The Library of Congress is apparently missing reels 1 and 3 (there were originally five reels total). Perhaps I'll write them and see if what I have is something they're missing.
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostFri Feb 24, 2017 11:33 am

Dief88 wrote:My understanding was that "Rastus Among the Zulus" and "Rastus in Zululand" are in fact the same film. But is it possible that these are actually two different films (both by the same director, if IMDb is to be believed), or that 1913's "Rastus Among the Zulus" is actually a recut version of 1910's "Rastus in Zululand"? (The version I found clearly has intertitles that read "Rastus Among the Zulus.")
That looks like it's at least a possibility.
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostFri Feb 24, 2017 4:06 pm

I'm planning on seeing I Am Not Your Negro this weekend. Not that it has anything to do with this thread.
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostFri Feb 24, 2017 11:00 pm

Two of the white guys in the beginning of the film are Walter Stull and George Reehm. This is more than likely the 1913 film and has nothing to do with The similarly titled 1910 film. Also probably shot in Jacksonville.
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostSat Feb 25, 2017 9:39 am

The "I'd rather get eaten than marry her" gag shows up again in the (somewhat) infamous Merrie Melodies short "Jungle Jitters", which makes me wonder whether there's a direct connection there, or if it was just a well-known trope.
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostSat Feb 25, 2017 10:12 am

Dief88 wrote:Also, the other three silent films included are:

1) "The Zulu's Heart" (D.W. Griffith, 1908)
2) "The Kaffir's Gratitude" (1916)
3) "The Sins of Rosanne" [Reels 3 & 4] (Tom Forman, 1920)

I actually have a few questions about these. Has the Griffith film been otherwise released on home video? I haven't been able to find it anywhere online, so I will probably upload this to YouTube as well.

I'm also a bit confused about "The Sins of Rosanne." The DVD case claims that what's included are reels 3 and 4, but I'm not actually sure if that's the case. The Library of Congress is apparently missing reels 1 and 3 (there were originally five reels total). Perhaps I'll write them and see if what I have is something they're missing.


I'm pretty confidant in opining that no, the Griffith piece hasn't been available on home video in the last quarter of a century, aside from this issue. If you would upload it, I would appreciate the chance to see it.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostSat Feb 25, 2017 10:14 am

"I'd rather get eaten" seems to have been a common trope in these kinds of racist cannibal films. Another example in animation is Tex Avery's "Big Heel-Watha" (1944), although that one is about Native Americans rather than Africans.

Also, I've uploaded the Griffith film that I mentioned above, "The Zulu's Heart":



It's about as racist as anything in Griffith's oeuvre, and unlike "Rastus Among the Zulus" it uses white men in blackface for its cannibals rather than African American actors.
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostSat Feb 25, 2017 11:14 am

Many thanks! Despite fearing the worst, I notice that the fierce Zulu warriors sometimes love children.

Bob
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 12:54 pm

Just a note: the reason that Griffith employed whites in blackface for the major "negro" roles in his films was that he had the generally accepted belief that blacks (especially men) should not touch white women.
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 4:55 pm

Bor Enots wrote:Two of the white guys in the beginning of the film are Walter Stull and George Reehm. This is more than likely the 1913 film and has nothing to do with The similarly titled 1910 film. Also probably shot in Jacksonville.
Out of interest, why couldn't the film 1913 film be an expanded edition of the 1910 one?
Not saying that you're wrong; just curious what you base the conclusion on, when even you must not be able to find information on a film like this, I fear?
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostWed Mar 01, 2017 9:14 am

1) The synopsis are different, the only similarity being it all being a dream sequence. In the 1910 film the Rastus character willingly goes on ship, in the 1913 film he is shanghaied. In the 1910 film he marries the chief's daughter to avoid the cooking pot. In the 1913 film he chooses the pot.

2) The presence of Walter Stull, George Reehm and Bobby Burns points towards the footage being shot in 1913. Also 1910 would have a bit early for Lubin to be in Jacksonville (although I will have to double check that to be sure), but what is on YouTube was obviously shot on the St. John's River and at or near Pablo Beach.

3) Back in those days film companies would reuse ideas and premises frequently, but rarely reused footage. Most were shot and forgot.

4) Curious as to where the evidence is that the 1910 film has anything to do with the 1913 film?
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostWed Mar 01, 2017 1:27 pm

Wow, I can look at this thread finally. Without glasses glancing at it I thought it said "Rastas Amoung the Zulus," aka "Rastas in Zululand." (1910).
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostWed Mar 01, 2017 3:56 pm

Bor Enots wrote:3) Back in those days film companies would reuse ideas and premises frequently, but rarely reused footage. Most were shot and forgot.

4) Curious as to where the evidence is that the 1910 film has anything to do with the 1913 film?
Mostly it's just the name that suggests it might have been the same.
I know at least one probable example from the same period. Wasn't "The Cowboy Millionaire" from 1909 released in an extended version in 1913?
And the 1912 Cleopatra in 1917?
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostThu Mar 02, 2017 12:18 am

What connection other than title and subject matter do the 1912 and 1917 Cleopatra have?
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Re: "Rastus Among the Zulus," aka "Rastus in Zululand" (1910

PostThu Mar 02, 2017 3:55 am

Bor Enots wrote:What connection other than title and subject matter do the 1912 and 1917 Cleopatra have?
It was reissued in a reworked version, triggered by the Fox/Theda Bara version, sorry I should have clarified. Not that it's the same kind of production, anyway.
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