Dorothy Dandridge and her Tamango co-star photographed at Maxim’s in Paris (circa April 1957). Many have asked about Mr. Cressan’s filmography. but Tamango was unfortunately his only film. Prior to this role, he was a medical student in Martinique.
“Throughout [Tamango], she [Dorothy Dandridge] was hampered by a weak script. Cast as a woman whose blood is mixed, she is clearly the doomed mulatoo; alienated from the Black world and of course, not really accepted by the White.”-Donald Bogle
Dorothy Dandridge in a September 26, 1959 press photo for Tamango. The original caption stated: “Dorothy Dandridge costars with Curt Jurgens in Tamango,” a slave ship adventurous drama coming Tuesday to the Paramount Theatres.”
Dorothy Dandridge played in a 1950s Slave Revolt Film—Who Knew?!?
The film “Tamango” was set during the early 19th century, and groundbreaking for its time, since it dealt with the slave trade and a Dutch slave trader (with his slave cargo) sailing for Cuba. Dandridge played a slave mistress, who is swayed to support a mutiny on the ship.
Of course a 1950s film featuring an interracial romance and slave revolt that’s directed by a blacklisted “Communist” was bound to never see the light of day. Needless to say Tamango didn’t get much distribution. But this information was an interesting deviation from her seminal role as Carmen Jones.
During cinema’s earliest years, most films that dealt with or depicted American slavery did so mainly through the eyes of white characters. Not only was Tamango one of the first films to depict the horrors of slavery and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade through (some of) its black characters’ point-of-view, but it was also one of the first films to reenact a slave ship revolt–if not the first film to do so. The revolt was led by the title character, Tamango (played by Alex Cressan).
Tamango was shot and released in France and other parts of Europe, but was initially banned in French colonies and the United States due to the depiction of an interracial “romance” between Aiché (Dandridge) and her owner, the slave ship’s captain (played by Curd Jürgens).
Dorothy Dandridge working with French instructor Michel Thomas at Antibes on the French Riviera in preparation for her role in the movie Tamango (1958). Despite her preparation Dorothy’s voice was later dubbed for the European version.
In 1957, Dorothy Dandridge starred in the film Tamango. However, it was banned in the United States because the interracial love scenes between her and Curt Jürgens violated miscegenation (race mixing) laws