Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A.. is a 1946 race film directed by Spencer Williams and produced and distributed by Sack Amusement Enterprises.
Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A.. is an unauthorized adaptation of the W. Somerset Maugham story “Rain”, which had been adapted as the John Colton-Clemence Randolph play Rain. The property had been filmed twice before this version: as the 1928 Sadie Thompson starring Gloria Swanson and the 1932 Rain starring Joan Crawford. This adaptation changed the names of the characters, switched the location from the Pacific Rim to the Caribbean, and gave the female lead a career in entertainment (the original concept had her as a prostitute).
It was directed by Spencer Williams, an African-American actor and writer who directed a series of race films during the 1940s for the Dallas, Texas-based producer Alfred Sack, who distributed these all-black productions to cinemas catering to African-American audiences. Williams appeared in Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A. as a female fortune teller who predicts Gertie’s death.
Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A. was the last starring role in a feature movie for Francine Everett, who was a star of race films, most notably Keep Punching (1939) and Big Timers (1945). After completing this film, she had bit roles in two Hollywood productions, Lost Boundaries (1949) and No Way Out (1950), before retiring from acting.
Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A. was a commercially successful title on the race film circuit, but it was not widely seen by white audiences until the 1990s. The film is a public domain title.
Here’s the full video:
Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A. was released on Region 0 DVD by Alpha Video, as part of a double feature with Sepia Cinderella, on July 31, 2007.