Dorothy Dandridge in The Decks Ran Red. Dottie’s role in this film
marked the first time a Black actress was cast in a part that was written exclusively for a white actress. The Decks Ran Red was initially banned in the United States simply because Dorothy’s character, Mahia (a black woman) shoot and killed a white man played by Stuart Whitman. The two characters also share a kiss, one of the first interracial onscreen movie kisses.
A South Pacific cargo ship gets a new captain (James Mason) and a new cook. While a group of criminals plot to take over the ship, the new captain gets acquainted with the cook’s wife (Dorothy Dandridge,) and as temperature’s boil to a breaking point, it’s up to the two of them to save the ship, the rest of the crew, and themselves. 1958
“What remains striking about The Decks Ran Red was the way [Andrew] Stone and his cinematographer Meredith Nicholson treat [Dorothy] Dandridge as a full-fledged movie goddess. Her first apperance—when she is hoisted on board the ship, surrounded by a troupe of men who look like lovesick schoolboys—established her as a feminine ideal. Throughout the closeups were lovingly, dreamily, lit and shot.”-Donald Bogle