Gang War (1940, B&W):
Bullets fly and blood flows in the streets of Harlem as three rival gangster bosses vie for control of the lucrative jukebox racket. Aptly named "Killer" Meade (Ralph Cooper) eventually rises to the top of this seamy heap by ruthlessly exterminating the competition, but the one person closest to him puts the police on his trail. The all-powerful crime lord is caught in a running gun-battle with the cops across the rooftops of the city.
A rugged and charming actor, multi-talented Ralph Cooper was variously billed as the "Bronze Bogart" and the "Dark Gable." A song-and-dance man, he learned the movie trade by paying close attention on the set while choreographing the Shirley Temple film, Poor Little Rich Girl. He went on to make a series of hits on the "Black" cinema circuit. Cooper was also one of the founders and early emcees at Harlem's famed talent showcase, the Apollo Theater. Gang War was directed by crime film specialist, Leo C. Popkin, who produced the noir classic D.O.A. in 1951. Starring Ralph Cooper, Gladys Snyder, Maceo Sheffield. Directed by Leo C. Popkin.
Broken Strings (1940, B&W): The gifted hands of a world-renowned musician are crippled in a car crash. Reduced to giving lessons to children on the instrument he once mastered, violinist Arthur Williams (Clarence Muse) has become an embittered malcontent. Frustrated by the apparent lack of discipline in his students (one of them, his own son), and despairing of the decadent rise of primitive swing music, he is sorely in need of some kind of miracle-whether medical or musical.
Revered black actor Clarence Muse brings depth and gravity to this inspiring tale of the curative powers of love and music. Muse had a distinguished 50-year career in both "black" and "white" cinema, dating back to 1929, appearing in such classics as Huckleberry Finn (1931), White Zombie (1936), Count of Monte Cristo (1934), Show Boat (1936), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Heaven Can Wait (1943), Double Indemnity (1944), Lost Weekend (1945), Porgy and Bess (1959), Car Wash (1976) and The Black Stallion (1979). Broken Strings also features an adolescent appearance by Our Gang graduate, Matthew "Stymie" Beard. Starring Clarence Muse, Matthew "Stymie" Beard, Darby Jones. Directed by Bernard B. Ray.