Nelson George’s adventures in the screen trade started at the age of 7, when he first saw such deathless classics as Zulu and Planet of the Apes. In the 30-odd years since, as critic, journalist, director, and novelist, George has explored the connections between various outlets of modern black culture. His ninth book, Blackface: Reflections on African-Americans and The Movies, takes a critic’s wistful look back at the origins of a long love affair with film, and assesses the strengths of his early movie heroes (Sidney Poitier and Richard Pryor, in particular). He also offers a critical time line of important black American , films, as well as a cheeky, Evian-by-Evian account of the process of getting a studio commitment to make the 1993 film CB4. For anyone who wants to know what it’s like to be young, gifted, and black in Hollywood, this book is insightful as a chatty personal perspective, and a comically caustic view of the often dispiriting way in which movies, like so much creative sausage, are made. A

Originally posted January 20 1995 — 12:00 AM EST

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