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*GIRL IN ROOM 20 Spencer Williams was famous for playing slow-witted Andy on the ''Amos 'n' Andy'' television show, which thrived in the '50s but was removed from the airwaves when its sitcom view of African-American life was deemed offensive. Williams was also a consultant on black-related issues for Paramount Pictures and made his own series of independent movies for African-American audiences.
Filmed with a minuscule budget but a huge amount of heart, this 1946 drama follows the adventures of a small-town woman who falls in with questionable company after moving to the big city, only to be rescued by a lovable taxi driver played by Williams himself. This cassette, part of the Black Experience Collection, starts with actor Ossie Davis giving a brief introduction to black American cinema. (Not Rated, Timeless Video)
*HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT -- The story begins with a blackmail scheme and climaxes with a disaster at sea, but in between it's mostly a star-struck romance between an ill-treated wife and the Parisian waiter who sweeps her off her feet. Jean Arthur and Charles Boyer head the fine cast, but highest praise goes to director Frank Borzage for steering a quirky, often unwieldy plot to its inevitable happy ending with nary a wrong turn. First released in 1937. (Not Rated, Warner Home Video)
* BEGOTTEN -- A mysterious odyssey across a blasted, nightmarish landscape is the subject of this wildly surreal work, which creates its effects through unorthodox photographic and postproduction techniques. The images are so bizarre that it's sometimes hard to tell what's going on, and this is probably just as well, since the action tends to be muddy, bloody, and bleak. The film's clear sense of conviction drives out any suspicion of mere self-indulgence, however, and spectators with avant-garde tastes may detect a strong resemblance to the murky meditations found in some of Samuel Beckett's prose. Written, produced, and directed by Edmund E. Merhige, a promising new artist. (Not Rated, World Artists Home Video)