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Celebrating Paul Robeson: The Proud Valley

Throughout his career Paul Robeson struggled to break-away from roles that he felt reinforced racial stereotypes. With The Proud Valley he found such a part, and in addition was able to utilise his famous singing voice in the story of an American seaman who finds himself immersed in a Welsh mining community. 

As Stephen Bourne, writing for the BFI Screenonline, notes that ‘The film enabled Robeson to express his socialist beliefs and portray the struggles of the working-class people of South Wales, and he found making it a rewarding experience. “It was the one film I could be proud of having played in,” he said, “That, and the early part of Song of Freedom.”