This film is part of Free

Gorno's Italian Marionettes

Early sound film of a popular stage puppet show that reveals the unpleasant stereotypes of its age.

Musical 1928 6 mins


This early sound film of a popular stage puppet show is a discomfiting watch, revealing the unpleasant racial stereotypes of its age and their widely accepted use in entertainment. The parodic references to 'Jal Olsen' and alarming lyrics of Sonny Boy are probably more attributable to the UK producers than the Gorno-Dall'Acqua puppet company. Sadly, the racist stereotypes continued in at least two other puppet films, The Limejuice Mystery or Who Spat in Grandfather's Porridge? and Paleface and Redskin or Handsome Men Are Slightly Sunburned.

The Gorno-Dall'Acqua marionette company was a well-established part of a rich tradition of Italian puppetry, with UK performances including a pantomime of Cinderella in 1928 and Ali Baba in 1930. This film is unfortunately incomplete and ends rather abruptly.