Eslanda and Paul Robeson: A Twentieth Century Love Affair
Talk with David Bosted
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Eslanda and Paul Robeson in Big Fella
The 1937 movie Big Fella, starring Paul Robeson as a street-wise but honest dockworker, is set on the docks and streets of Marseilles. Elisabeth Welch plays opposite him as a café singer in love with Robeson’s character. Robeson’s wife, Eslanda Robeson, plays the role of the café owner. The novel Banjo by Harlem Renaissance writer Claude McKay provides the underlying plot and themes of the movie, a critical and commercial success.
Robeson’s own life and relationship with his wife Eslanda was successful in many respects yet also complex and multi-faceted. As a lead-in to Valentine’s Day, TMS trustee David Bosted explores that relationship.