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Nina Mae McKinney,
The Nicholas Brothers,
The Washboard Serenaders
In a juke joint, sharecropper Zeke falls for a beautiful dancer, Chick, but she's only setting him up for a rigged craps game. He loses $100, the money he got for the sale of his family's entire cotton crop. His brother Spunk is mortally wounded in the shoot-out which follows. Zeke goes away but returns as Brother Zekiel the preacher. His forceful preaching draws the faithful in large numbers. Even Chick wants to be saved. Zekiel has asked the pretty Missy Rose to marry him, but Chick can still cast a spell over the preacher... Written by
A gorgeous, all-black masterpiece. King Vidor directs a group of (mostly) non-actors to depict a picture of black life in the South. Daniel L. Haynes stars as Zeke, a none-too-smart cotton farmer who is tricked into wasting half a year's pay on gambling by a sexy little hoochie (Nina Mae McKinney). When Zeke gets in a fight with the man who cheated to win his money, tragedy strikes. In a fit of grief, he begins to belt out a gospel song and the people around him think he should become a priest. Not only is this a great gospel musical, it's a great religious drama, one where the emotions of faith seem deeply felt and real. Vidor's direction is as good as it ever was. When a lot of the films of 1929 were clunky and static, this one has a beautiful visual and aural flow with only a couple of small stumbles along the way.
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