Seeking out new avenues for his artistry, Paul Robeson moved his family to London in 1928. During the next twelve years, he headlined six British films, pioneering uncharted territory for black actors and reaching a level of prominence unthinkable in Hollywood. Robeson's first British production, ZoltÃ¡n Korda's Sanders of the River (1935), however, ended up being an embarrassment for the actor, its story of an African tribal leader transformed into a celebration of the British Empire. As a result, Robeson sought more artistic control, eventually achieving it with Jericho (1937), which features Robeson in what turned out to be his most satisfying film role, as a World War I officer who escapes his fate as a black man by fleeing to Africa and creating a new world for himself.
True Pioneer: The British Films of Paul Robeson, a new video program featuring interviews with Paul Robeson Jr. and film historians Stephen Bourne and Ian Christie, and including film clips from Song of Freedom (1936), King Solomon's Mines (1937), and Big Fella (1937)