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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>
Of course, we will never have a chance to see a director's cut of Body and Soul. Were that possible, then we would certainly see a completely different movie.
Many of the obvious flaws in the film were due to Oscar Micheaux's difficulties in getting the production past the censors. Despite the fact that the convict is acting as a minister, the act of showing one in a minister's robes drinking was too much for the time.
Today it would be a matter of getting several million dollars from the studio and re-shooting sections of the movie. Oscar Micheaux did not have this luxury. This meant that he had to use the little money available to him to change a completely unacceptable movie into one that would help pay the bills.
The only way to do this was to add an ending that corrected everything, and cut the sections of drinking, which happened to be crucial to the story. This resulted not only in a lack of explanation for the story and very clumsy movements from one scene to the next.
The drinking scenes have been replaced, which lengthens the film to eight of its original nine reels. This certainly helps, but the alternative ending remains. I am thinking that the director's cut would not have included this and Oscar Micheaux would have a much better movie.
Of course, Paul Robeson drives this movie (his only silent appearance), and moviegoers now know of his brilliant voice. Sans this, his penetrating eyes showed the emotion that must have matched his stage performances, which makes this a movie that can be recommended.
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