Film of the Day: Carib Gold

What did Key West look like in the 1950s, before much of it was contorted into a garish tourist trap?

Carib Gold, a 1956 drama, gives some indication. It is a rare document of its time in another respect, too: its cast was largely African American.

With great underwater shots and plenty of local flavor, it tells of a group of Florida shrimpers who meet misadventure while recovering a sunken treasure. It was shot in and around Key West, with local citizens appearing alongside stars Ethel Waters, Coley Wallace, Cicely Tyson, and Geoffrey Holder.

The G. William Jones Film and Video Collection at the Hamon Arts Library at Southern Methodist University has just added Carib’s Gold to its online collection, and is adding other titles from the Texas Black Film Collection during 2012.

The Jones Collection currently has some 420 titles online.

SMU also is the home of the African American Film Materials digital collection of photographs and pressbooks from films featuring African American actors. It includes over 4,000 film stills, lobby books, pressbooks, posters, and related items from motion pictures spanning nearly 40 years.

Beginning in 2010, SMU preserved and digitized its print of Carib’s Gold with a grant from the San Francisco-based National Film Preservation Foundation, which is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage.

Categories: Of Special InterestShorts

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