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 ...
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Andrew Manson, a young, enthusiastic doctor takes his first job in a Welsh mining town, and begins to wonder at the persistent cough many of the miners have. When his attempts to prove its ... See full summary »
Rosa Moline is bored with life in a small town. She loves Chicago industrialist Neil Latimer who has a hunting lodge nearby. Rosa squeezes her husband's patients to pay their bills so she ... See full summary »
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
Presently available version, as broadcast on Turner Classic Movies, is the re-edited 100 minute 1939 re-release, with redesigned opening and closing credits. See more »
When Zeke is shown singing atop the train car, the audio of his singing does not match his lip movements, probably due to difficulties relating to dubbing in 1929 (the footage on the train was clearly shot silent, with singing and effects added in post-production). See more »
What is the matter, Son?
I'm just thinkin' Mammy. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have you and Missy Rose to look after me.
I tell you, it done take a good woman for to keep a man out of mischief these days.
That's right, Mammy, it sure does.
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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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