The program Juano Hernandez, an Afro-Latino Actor in Hollywood features five films with this Puerto Rican who became the first Afro-Latino actor to work in Hollywood. His career lasted 50 years. Opening Night film, St. Louis Blues by Allen Resiner, is the 1958 classic film with a very emotional story of love, music, religion and family values broadly based on the life of W. C. Handy and featuring Nat ‘King’ Cole, Eartha Kitt, Pearl Bailey and Juano Hernandez. The other films in the program are Intruder in the Dust by Clarence Brown (1949), Something of Value by Richard Brooks (1957), Sergeant Rutledge by John Ford (1960), and the Pawnbroker by Sidney Lumet (1964).
OPENING NIGHT Q&A FRIDAY, NOV. 27 @ 7PM EST
Conversation with Miluka Rivera author of
Magnificent Juano Hernandez: From Vagabond to Hollywood Star
“Magnificent Juano Hernandez: From vagabond to Hollywood star,” by Miluka Rivera, a lauder writer-activist, journalist, actress, poet, and historian, is a splendid and moving story and biography of a gifted black performer, who broke racial barriers in all mediums since the 20s. He struggled against all odds, racism, poverty, segregation, and the hardships of the streets, as a gifted vaudevillian, he who was considered ‘the most versatile black actor in the world’ by Ebony magazine. This self-taught Puerto Rican erudite and well-respected pioneer actor was awarded by the British press and nominated for a Golden Globe in his first Hollywood film. In this meticulous research the author provides a finer understanding of an accomplished and best-paid black actor of his generation and the Golden era. His example will serve as an example and inspiration for the indomitable spirit of a human being and his capacity to conquer all hurdles and bigotry.
In 1940’s Mississippi, two teenage boys and an elderly woman combine forces to prevent a miscarriage of justice and clear a black man (Juano Hernandez) of a murder charge.
A Jewish pawnbroker (Rod Steiger), victim of Nazi persecution, loses all faith in his fellow man – including lonely client Mr. Smith (Juano Hernandez) – until he realizes too late the tragedy of his actions.
Lieutenant Tom Cantrell (Jeffrey Hunter) is sent to defend Sergeant Braxton Rutledge (Woody Strode), a black cavalry soldier, on a charge of rape and murder.
In Kenya, Peter (Rock Hudson), the son of a white settler, forms a tight friendship with Kimani (Sidney Poitier), a Kenyan worker.