African American Film Pioneers: Eleven P.M.
In this wholly unique and cinematically innovative drama, a poor street violinist, Sundaisy (played by director Richard Maurice), pledges to protect an orphan from preying small-time hoodlums only to fall victim to his own naiveté. The film, a surreal melodrama that may or may not be all the dream of a struggling writer, culminates in one of the most bizarre endings in film history when the spirit of the deceased Sundaisy enacts revenge on his enemies. Not to be missed, this recent discovery shines a light on the work of a little-known African American independent director working in 1920s Detroit.
(Richard Maurice, USA, 1928, 60 minutes, Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber)
Jacqueline Stewart is Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies.