The Bronze Buckaroo Western:
Pioneers of African-American Cinema
While Denzel Washington stars on the big screen as Sam Chisolm in the movie “The Magnificent Seven,” it seems only fitting to reflect back on one of the first African-American western movies, ever made, “The Bronze Buckaroo.”
First shown in 1939, “The Bronze Buckaroo” is an all Black cast western that was made during the Race Movie era when African-Americans were making movies to be shown in segregated theatres for Black audiences. This rare African-American western is one of the movies now featured on the recently released “Pioneers of African-American Cinema” DVD collection.
Herb Jeffries (who became famous as a singer with Duke Ellington) stars in film along with Spencer Williams (who would later became famous for his role as Andy in “Amos ‘n Andy” and as a director of Race Movies, too.)
“The Bronze Buckaroo” has been digitally restored in the Pioneers collection, making this version the best quality available for home viewing at this time.
Herb Jeffries is fondly remembered as the first Black singing cowboy because he sings in all of the movies. He starred in four Black cowboy westerns from 1937 to 1939. The other three westerns that he starred in were “Harlem on the Prairie” (1937), “Two Gun Man from Harlem” (1938), and “Harlem Rides the Range” (1939).
In multiple interviews, Jeffries stated that he was eager to star as a Black cowboy because during the time there weren’t any Black cowboy movies and he wanted to give children a Black cowboy hero to admire.
All of the African-American westerns that Herb Jeffries starred in are available on DVD. (See links below.) However, only “The Bronze Buckaroo” has been digitally restored and included in the “Pioneers of African-American Cinema” DVD collection.
The “Pioneers of African-American Cinema” DVD set is an exceptional collection of Race Movies made in the early 1900s that have been thoughtfully restored. We will be writing more about the film and filmmakers featured in this collection over the next few weeks, so please check back or Join Our Email List.
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