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The Emperor Jones (1933)

Passed  -  Drama  -  29 September 1933 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 561 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 19 critic

Unscrupulously ambitious Brutus Jones escapes from jail after killing a guard and through bluff and bravado finds himself the emperor of a Caribbean island.

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Title: The Emperor Jones (1933)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Dudley Digges ...
Frank H. Wilson ...
Jeff (as Frank Wilson)
Fredi Washington ...
Undine
Ruby Elzy ...
Dolly
George Haymid Stamper ...
Lem (as George Stamper)
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Storyline

At a Baptist prayer meeting, the preacher leads a prayer for Brutus Jones, who is leaving to become a railway porter. Jones joins the congregation in a spiritual. Once on the train, Jeff, a porter, shows Jones the ropes. Jones secretly takes up with Jeff's girl, Undine. He makes some money in a deal with a rich businessman on the train. Jones proves to be a cunning manipulator and a good liar. In a crap game, Jones stabs Jeff over a pair of loaded dice. Now doing hard labour, Jones kills a white prison guard and escapes. Shovelling coal on a ship in the Caribbean, Jones swims to an island. He is brought before the island's ruler, where Smithers, a crooked white trader, buys his freedom. Jones schemes his way into a partnership in Smithers' business, then finally control of the entire island through a touch of witchcraft, or so it seems. Brutus declares himself to be The Emperor Jones... Smithers reports on the unrest that Jones' rule is causing. One morning, the palace is empty of ... Written by David Steele

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

island | caribbean | train | escape | porter | See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 September 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El emperador Jones  »

Box Office

Budget:

$250,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2003 restored) | (original)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fredi Washington's scenes were reshot using dark pancake makeup because she looked "too white" in the first rushes. It was feared audiences would think Paul Robeson was embracing a white woman. See more »

Quotes

Brutus Jones: [With bravado] It takes a silver bullet to kill Brutus Jones.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Man Who Would Be King (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Emperor Jones
(1933)
Music and lyrics by Allie Wrubel
Written in connection with this movie
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User Reviews

 
Paul Robeson's Unforgettable Tour-De-Force Performance!
31 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Before there was Denzel and Sidney Poitier, there was Paul Robeson, the pioneering African American actor whose talents were amazing. His rich, deep voice and presence in this unforgettable performance as Brutus Jones depicts his brilliance as an actor in what would be a forgettable film. The film was filmed in the 1930s in the height of the Great Depression. Even though it wasn't filmed in the South, it does give the impression that it was. His character Brutus Jones starts off as an honorable man until he gets a porter/pull-man job on the trains going from the heart of Georgia to New York City. Brutus slowly engages in shady activities which leads to prison and his escape twice to a foreign land where he becomes Emperor Jones but he's not a black and white character or an easy villain. Robeson's performance as Brutus Jones slowly unwinds and develops over the film. It's a film based on Eugene O'Neill's play of the same name. He should have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.


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