Both of the movies on this DVD appear to be classic black cinema. That is, films made for black audiences of the '30s.
The fist film, "Hi De Ho", Cab Calloway plays himself in a very poor vehicle about the rise to fame of a bandleader. Grade Z acting is the order of the day in this one, but the real reason to watch is Cab's music. There's also a great tap dance routine in the finale. Although he plays "himself", Cab gets involved in a gunfight and even smacks his girl around! Certainly an odd proceeding for the bandleader.
"The Duke is Tops" is much better, and better produced. Lena Horne makes her film debut in this story about a show producer who feels he is standing in Lena's way. He loves Lena so much he steps aside so she can have her shot at stardom while he fades into obscurity, eventually working with a travelling medicine show. This film is the more enjoyable of the two.
Included with the two movies is a color cartoon from the forgotten Van Beuren Studios, featuring "Mr. Bang", a perpetually angry and argumentative character, and a foreign woman named Katrinka with superhuman strength. Van Beuren Studios went belly up in 1936, having failed to create any lasting characters of note. A strange, but somewhat useful inclusion on this disc for the film student.
There's also a newsreel with footage of Hitler, the Hindenburg disaster, and Joe Louis preparing for a fight.
The disc is an interesting slice of 1930's black cinema, which no student of film history should pass up. Of course, Cab and Lena's music are the real prize for the collector.