Uncle Tom's Hut (1927)

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German title Uncle Tom's cabin
Original title Uncle Tom's Cabin
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1927
length 144 (US original and Austrian version 1928), 93 (US new version 1958), 80 (German TV version 1965) minutes
Director Harry A. Pollard
script Harvey Thew
A. P. Younger
Harry A. Pollard
Walter Anthony based
on the novel of the same name (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe
production Carl Laemmle for Universal Studios
music Ernö Rapée
Hugo Riesenfeld
camera Charles Stumar
Jacob Kull
cut Gilmore Walker
Daniel Mandell
Byron Robinson
Ted Kent

Uncle Tom's Hut is an American silent film from 1927 based on the novel of the same name by Harriet Beecher Stowe .


The story, which is largely known in terms of content, is about the good-natured, old Uncle Tom and other blacks who in the middle of the 19th century were held and mistreated by white landowners as so-called "Negro slaves" in southern America. In the course of the dramatic story, families are torn apart, slaves whipped, tortured or even killed if they do not obey the instructions of their white masters. Some of the blacks manage to escape, others are caught again and severely punished. One of the worst and most unscrupulous slave owners is Simon Legree; Uncle Tom is contrasted with him as a wise, tolerant and kind black man.

Production notes

Uncle Tom's Hut premiered in New York City on November 4, 1927 and was also released in German cinemas in February 1928. The Austrian premiere took place on October 12, 1928. There the strip had an enormous length of 13 acts at about 3700 meters, which corresponds to a playing time of almost two and a half hours. In Vienna alone, Uncle Tom's hut was shown in twelve cinemas. In post-war Germany, Uncle Toms Hütte was first broadcast on TV, ARD , on July 6, 1965 - now without the wrong apostrophe . In 1999 the film was released on DVD.

Onkel Tom's Hütte was one of the most ambitious silent films by the German immigrant Carl Laemmle , its planning and production period spanned around two years. The production devoured the then enormous sum of almost two million dollars. Laemmle gave his niece Carla Laemmle a small appearance as a spectator at a slave auction.

All blacks in the plot, with the exception of main actor James B. Lowe, who played Uncle Tom, were played by white actors - so-called blackfacing - such as Mona Ray as Topsy.

The film structures were designed by Charles D. Hall and Joseph C. Wright , the costumes by the Norwegian-born Johanna Mathieson.

The same material was filmed again in 1964 under German leadership by Géza von Radványi .


“In this present translation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's famous classic, Mr. Pollard has presented some scenes with unusual skill, particularly those that feature Topsy and Eva. (...) There is always a tireless effort to make this film tearful, which is probably to be expected. In any case, the hardships and cruelties are never portrayed with the slightest hint of reserve. Little Eve's last moments are filmed in such a way that they completely overshadow any staging of this event. (...) You know that Simon Legree was never shown to have any virtues, but here his presence is just repulsive (...) Topsy is played by Mona Ray, a wonderful, radiant, young person who has an extraordinary inkling of humor seems to be felt in his role. (…) Eva is played by Virginia Gray, another talented and very pretty child. She looks pretty healthy when she is supposed to be ailing. (…) James B. Lowe gives an excellent portrayal as Uncle Tom. He puts a lot of soul into his role ... "

- Mordaunt Hall in The New York Times, November 5, 1927

Paimann's film lists summed up: "The film is just as little art as the novel on which it is based, but it is an ingeniously sophisticated, nifty routine work that pulls the nerves of the audience. The subject is the well-known character drawing in black and white, this time with reversed roles, held, the basic motifs, as well as the masterfully drawn details, tailored to a strong audience impact and staged according to the same aspects. Acting from the consistently excellent ensemble, the negro actors Lowe, George Siegman and the funny little negress [sic!] Mona Ray stand out. For thrills is taken care of by brilliantly successful sensations. Furthermore, beautiful exotic pictures. (...) - Overall qualification: a hit, but not a film for the sensitive audience. "

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Reclam's Universum in issue 24 of March 8, 1928 reproduces a full-page "scene from the new universal film from Ufa", which distributed the film in Germany.
  2. ^ Advertisement in Neue Freie Presse of October 12, 1928
  3. ^ Advertisement in the Arbeiter-Zeitung of October 12, 1928
  4. Onkel Toms Hütte in Paimann's film lists  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / old.filmarchiv.at