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Ray 'Boom Boom' Mancini,
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Saul J. Turell
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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 »
Its nice to see there was a Black director (Micheaux) with the gumption to take on difficult themes (like a crooked preacher and sexual abuse). Unfortunately his mastery of technique wasn't very good; this movie resembles the sort of thing D.W. Griffith was doing in 1913, both in form and tone (cf. A Girl and her Trust). Cinema had evolved by 1925.
There is one great comic sequence that is worth the price of the movie, an over-the-top sermon (on the valley of dry bones) in which the whiskey-guzzling preacher has his congregation in such ecstasy that they do what looks suspiciously like break-dancing. Robeson, usually the good guy, here proves that he is equally adept at playing a sleazebag when required. There is a similar "sermon" in The Blues Brothers that was surely inspired by this one. The comical stereotypes would normally cause us to cry "racism", but this movie was made by and for blacks.
Body and Soul explores serious issues and has moments of great fun, but is mainly of historical interest.
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