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Edna Mae Harris,
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A minister is malevolent and sinister behind his righteous facade. He consorts with, and later extorts from, the owner of a gambling house, and betrays an honest girl, eventually driving them both to ruin. Written by
Martin H. Booda <email@example.com>
The board censors initially had strong objections to the dark and sinister portrayal of a man of the cloth. But with no money left for reshoots, producer Oscar Micheaux shot a quick ending which makes most of the film's action a dream of the heroine's. See more »
This was a good movie! I just saw it for the first time. I've never ever really sat down to watch a silent movie not to mention a "race film" made by a black producer back in the 1920's. I was impressed yet at the same time distraught by the stereotypical overtones. Being a man born in the 50's the written dialog was a bit challenging to decipher. However, I did enjoy the chance to interpret what I was seeing and not be forced to feel or react to things like most films do today.
I enjoy films made by black producers because they often carry historical inferences but sadly still adorned with stereotypes. Nowadays it seems to be all about special effects, graphical imagery and money. Micheaux's "Body and Soul" doubtless was also about money because he had to pay bills too, but it's obvious he was into his craft. You can see this from the acting and storytelling. It emanated the typical and cynical parody of life which has manifested throughout generations. This film didn't need special effects to be appreciated or tell the story. The emotional acting of Isabelle (Mercedes Gilbert), the daughter, was impressive and a major faction of the film. The animated deceitful behavior of the reverend (Paul Robeson) along with well emphasized facial expressions was very entertaining. The mother's acting (Julia Theresa Russell) was descent. The ending was questionable. It moved the film into a completely different direction? Can't figure that one out? Maybe it was Micheaux's mind working the "What If?" factor.
Micheaux, obviously no Alfred Hicthcock, I can see had to avoid subversive film-making to implore the white film industry with their vision of blacks. I'm sure if he were alive today I'd say, "Oscar, there's no reason for you to feel shame or disgrace having to produce films that way because things aren't so different now. They may seem to be, but still the same."
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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