The Scar of Shame (1927)

TV-PG  |   |  Drama
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 170 users  
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An educated, upscale young black musician marries a woman from a lower socioeconomic class to get her out of the clutches of her stepfather, who beats and abuses her. However, once he "... See full summary »


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Complete credited cast:
Harry Henderson ...
Alvin Hillyard
Norman Johnstone ...
Eddie Blake
Ann Kennedy ...
Lucretia Green
Lucia Lynn Moses ...
Louise Howard
William E. Pettus ...
'Spike' Howard
Lawrence Chenault ...
Ralph Hathaway
Pearl McCormack ...
Alice Hathaway
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Gilpin
Shingzie Howard


An educated, upscale young black musician marries a woman from a lower socioeconomic class to get her out of the clutches of her stepfather, who beats and abuses her. However, once he "saves" her, he won't let his new wife meet his mother, as he knows she will be angry and disappointed with him for marrying someone "below his station". Written by

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| (TCM print)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


While appearing in this film, Lucia Lynn Moses was commuting back and forth between the studio in Philadelphia and a chorus-line spot at the Cotton Club in New York City. See more »


Referenced in Losing Ground (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

Very Important Film
27 February 2008 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Scar of Shame, The (1927)

*** (out of 4)

Historically important race film (black cast for black crowds) is one of the best I've seen from this genre of films. A rich concert pianist (Harry Henderson) marries an abused poor girl (Lucia Lyn Moses) so that she can escape her abusive stepfather but this leads to tragedy as the girl doesn't know any life other than the ghetto. Sadly a lot of these silent race films are now lost but from the few I've seen I can see why they were controversial back when they were originally released. Like Within Our Gates, this film spends a lot of time bashing black people for their living conditions, alcohol and the "shame" of their race, which is interesting to see since this film was meant for a black crowd. I guess the producers knew black folks would be seeing these films so they wanted to push some sort of moral issue on them. What I also find interesting and somewhat hypocritical is the fact that these race films always put light skinned black people in the lead roles. In fact, if you just looked at the actors in this movie you'd never guess they were black and in several scenes it appears that the actors are wearing make up to make themselves look lighter. I've read a couple books by race experts and they said this was due to the producers hoping these films could sneak into white theaters (they never did).

As for the film itself, it's pretty much a remake of Griffith's Broken Blossoms bit it's still very powerful and memorable. The best thing about the movie are the performances, which match any of the actors appearing in Hollywood films at the time. The real highlight is the work of Lucia Lynn Moses, who while filming this was also working at The Cotton Club. She's an incredibly beautiful woman who uses those looks to bring out a certain sadness, which would touch anyone. She's does a remarkable job here and it's a damn shame that this was her only film. The film's final act is pretty predictable and far fetched but it still works pretty well. At times the film pushes its moral lessons a tad bit too strongly but this is still an important film that more people need to see.

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