A minister is malevolent and sinister behind his righteous facade. He consorts with, and later extorts from, the owner of a gambling house, and betrays an honest girl, eventually driving ... 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 ... See full summary »
Daniel L. Haynes,
Nina Mae McKinney,
In this all-black cast short, legendary blues singer Bessie Smith finds her gambler lover Jimmy messin' with a pretty, younger woman; he leaves and she sings the blues, with chorus and ... See full summary »
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
The jungle scenes were originally to be shot in the swamps of the American South, but when Paul Robeson signed for the film, he had a clause inserted in his contract that specifically prohibited filming in the South, due to that area's violent racist history and strict racial segregation. The scenes were filmed on a studio set in Astoria, Queens, New York. See more »
Oddly, the O'Neill Climax Is Not As Effective As Heyward's Prologue
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 apartalthough we still have some great moments as the vain Jones takes over the kingship and attempts to bleed the natives white.
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