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The Emperor Jones (1933)

Passed  |   |  Drama  |  29 September 1933 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 610 users  
Reviews: 18 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.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(play), (screenplay) (as Du-Bose Heyward) , 1 more credit »
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Title: The Emperor Jones (1933)

The Emperor Jones (1933) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Dudley Digges ...
Frank H. Wilson ...
Jeff (as Frank Wilson)
Fredi Washington ...
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

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

In his autobiography, Paul Robeson said he regretted making the film because it deviated too much from the play. See more »

Quotes

Brutus Jones: Ain't talking big what makes a man big, s'long as he makes folks believe it?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Brother Can You Spare a Dime (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Now Let Me Fly
(uncredited)
Traditional American spiritual
Sung by the church patrons and Paul Robeson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Oddly, the O'Neill Climax Is Not As Effective As Heyward's Prologue
14 July 2008 | by See all my reviews

Not a great deal of the O'Neill play is retained in this adaptation, and I thought that climax was the least effective portion of the film despite its tinted visuals and stereo sound effects. The preceding 45 minutes, enhanced by Robeson's virile presence and his superlative singing, were much more impressive. Just about every scene took place at night where Haller's noirish photography contributed to the fascinating atmosphere.

Once we arrive on the island, however, and are confronted by Dudley Digges as a stage Cockney and other theatrical contrivances, the narrative's admirably headlong pace not only slows down considerably, but the movie itself starts to fall apart—although we still have some great moments as the vain Jones takes over the kingship and attempts to bleed the natives white.


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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