Song Of Freedom

559. SONG Of FREEDOM (1937-USA). With Paul Robeson. A moving portrait Of a black man and his “roots” in 17th-century Africa, starring the incomparable Paul Robeson in his prime. The majestic-voiced actor plays John Zinga, a London dockworker who dreams Of going to the land Of his ancestors. He doesn’t know exactly what pan Of Africa they came from, but a tribal song “born in him” emerges in bits and pieces from his unconscious. An opera composer discovers John singing on the docks, and turns him into a world- renowned opera star. But when John learns that he is a descendant Of the royal family Of Casanga, an African island, he interrupts his illustrious career and goes there, determined to bring modern scientific knowledge the natives and free them from their superstitious dependence upon the oppressive, tyrannical witch doctor. His efforts are met with hostility and violence, and in the climaxÑa wild voodoo ceremonyÑhis wife is almost burned alive until suddenly, magically, out Of the depths Of his soul, comes the ancient song, which he sings in the language Of his ancestors, proving that he is indeed the island’s rightful king. This lovely film features Robeson in a variety Of numbers, including spirituals, blues, lullabies, arias from a fictional opera called “The Black Emperor” (a variation on “Emperor Jones”), and the haunting title song. A rare and very rewarding exÂperience. 71 minutes. Music-Drama