Release dateMay 1929 (1929-05) WriterWalter Weems (story), Walter Weems (scenario and dialogue) GenresMusical, Drama, Black-and-white, Musical Drama CastStepin Fetchit, Clarence Muse, Eugene Jackson Similar moviesStand Up and Cheer! (1934), Hallelujah! (1929), Get Hep to Love (1942), Stepin Fetchit appears in Hearts in Dixie and Show Boat, Rudderless (2014)
Hearts in Dixie (1929) starring Stepin Fetchit was one of the first all-"talkie", big-studio production to boast a predominantly African-American cast. A musical, the film celebrates African-American music and dance. It was released by Fox Film Corporation just months before the release of Hallelujah!, another all-black musical by competitor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The director of Hearts in Dixie was Paul Sloane. Walter Weems wrote the screenplay, and William Fox was producer.
Hearts in Dixie unfolds as a series of sketches of life among American blacks. It featured characters with dignity, who took action on their own, and who were not slaves. The plot focuses on Grandfather Nappus (Clarence Muse), his daughter, Chloe (Bernice Pilot), her young son, Chinaquapin (Eugene Jackson), and her husband, Gummy (Stepin Fetchit). To make certain his grandson Chinaquapin does not end up like his father or become tainted by the superstitions that dominate the community, the grandfather decides to send the boy away. One particularly tender scene shows Nappus' love for his grandson, whom he sends North for schooling. The film ends with the youngster's departure aboard a riverboat.