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Hallelujah (1929)

Passed | | Drama, Musical | 20 August 1929 (USA)
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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(scenario), (treatment) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Daniel L. Haynes ...
...
William Fountaine ...
Harry Gray ...
Parson
...
Mammy
Everett McGarrity ...
Spunk
Victoria Spivey ...
Milton Dickerson ...
Johnson Kid
Robert Couch ...
Johnson Kid
Walter Tait ...
Johnson Kid
Dixie Jubilee Singers
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Storyline

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 David Steele

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A DRAMA OF SOUTHERN NEGRO LIFE! ALL-TALKING AND SINGING! (original poster - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 August 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aleluya  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Turner library print) (re-release) (re-edited)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Al Hirschfeld designed this film's iconic poster. See more »

Goofs

When fighting for the revolver after the craps game seven shots are fired from a six shooter. See more »

Quotes

Parson: [First lines] Mammy, we're almost through with the pickin'.
Mammy: Yes sir! And we done put in a good season of work!
See more »


Soundtracks

Go Down Moses (Let My People Go)
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Henry Thacker Burleigh
Sung offscreen during the opening credits
See more »

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User Reviews

A wee bit dated; otherwise a real eye-opener
10 July 1999 | by (NAS Whidbey Island, WA) – See all my reviews

There's something hypnotic about good preaching. All that passion, all that energy, whether it's in film or in person, has a cumulative power. It's hard to doubt the spreading power of religion when you see Daniel L. Haynes (this film) or Robert Duvall ("The Apostle"), or read the sermon at the end of "The Sound and the Fury." Feverishly, they try and communicate God's word. They rant, they rave, they speak quickly and with an undeniable amount of integrity. They get the crowd going, usually in whoops and outbursts, and one man's conversation with God becomes a community event. (Indeed, the power of a worked-up crowd is a powerful tool in and of itself).

That's what's so terrific about King Vidor's "Hallelujah." Everyone's up in arms about one thing or another in this movie, whether it's money, sex, or Jesus. Early in the film there's a rather ludicrous scene where the hero's brother is accidentally killed, due to the hero's folly and hubris. That's his Sin, for which he must Redeem Himself Before God. There's also a woman who represents Temptation, who leads him astray time and time again. In the end there's an extended chase through a swamp, that would be done again in Kurosawa's "Stray Dogs."

All of that's well and good, but the film really peaks during the sermon sequences. Done wrong, sermons in movies usually pass by unnoticed, or are used as a clothsline to hang lame jokes about apathetic churchgoers. Done right, as in this film, "The Apostle," and the most unusual ones in "Beloved," they can be as captivating as if you were really in attendance. It's a testament to the power of the motion picture.


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