INSCRIBED BY PAUL ROBESON, PHOTOGRAPH FROM THE FILM BIG FELLA, 1937
ROBESON, Paul. Photograph inscribed. London, circa 1937. Vintage sepia print measures 10-1/2 by 13-1/2 inches. $1800.
Vintage promotional sepia print of Paul Robeson from the 1937 British film Big Fella, with Robeson standing with hands on his hips, inscribed in blue ink, “To ‘Buddy’ from ‘Paul.”
Paul Robeson ‘had so many talents he made acting seem narrow… He was singer, actor and public speaker… Robeson could sing the works of the masters; he could play O’Neill and Shakespeare… testament enough that hardly anyone now would dare to fill his part… [but] because there were no ‘ordinary’ black parts save for servants or ‘boys,… a great deal of what he did [on film] depended on offers from Britain,” such as this role in Big Fella, directed by J. Elder Wills and produced in England (Thomson, 766). A musical loosely based on the novel Banjo by Harlem Renaissance writer Claude McKay, Big Fella is set on the Marseille waterfront and stars Robeson as a wanderer hired by a wealthy English couple to find their missing son.
Light edge-wear and soiling, slight loss to corners, single tape repair to verso, small faint notation in red felt pen to lower right corner. A very good photograph, scarce inscribed.