IMDb > The Emperor Jones (1933)
The Emperor Jones
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The Emperor Jones (1933) More at IMDbPro »

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The Emperor Jones -- Jones leaves home to work in the trains as a porter and steals a friend's girlfriend. He is a gambler and a liar and stabs his friend over a pair of loaded dice.


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Eugene O'Neill (play)
DuBose Heyward (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Emperor Jones on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 September 1933 (USA) See more »
Unscrupulously ambitious Brutus Jones escapes from jail after killing a guard and through bluff and bravado finds himself the emperor of a Caribbean island. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Paul Robeson's Unforgettable Tour-De-Force Performance! See more (18 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Paul Robeson ... Brutus Jones
Dudley Digges ... Smithers
Frank H. Wilson ... Jeff (as Frank Wilson)
Fredi Washington ... Undine
Ruby Elzy ... Dolly
George Haymid Stamper ... Lem (as George Stamper)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Brandon Evans ... Carrington (uncredited)
Taylor Gordon ... Stick-man (uncredited)

Billie Holiday ... Extra in Nightclub Scene (uncredited)

Rex Ingram ... Court Crier (uncredited)
James P. Johnson ... Pianist (uncredited)

Moms Mabley ... Marcella (uncredited)
Harold Nicholas ... Young Tap Dancer (uncredited)
Blueboy O'Connor ... Treasurer (uncredited)
Fritz Pollard ... Extra in Nightclub Scene (uncredited)
Lorenzo Tucker ... Extra in Nightclub Scene (uncredited)

Directed by
Dudley Murphy 
William C. de Mille (uncredited)
Writing credits
Eugene O'Neill (play "The Emperor Jones")

DuBose Heyward (screenplay) (as Du-Bose Heyward)

DuBose Heyward  additional scenes (uncredited)

Produced by
Gifford Cochran .... producer (uncredited)
John Krimsky .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Frank Tours 
Cinematography by
Ernest Haller 
Film Editing by
Grant Whytock 
Art Direction by
Herman Rosse 
Production Management
J. Edward Shugrue .... production manager
George Knafka .... production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Joseph H. Nadel .... assistant director
Sound Department
Joseph I. Kane .... sound engineer (as Joseph Kane)
Camera and Electrical Department
Jack Shalitt .... still photographer (uncredited)
Casting Department
Fritz Pollard .... casting associate (uncredited)
Music Department
Rosamond Johnson .... vocal arranger (as J. Rosamond Johnson)
Max Manne .... music synchronization
Frank Tours .... musical director
Other crew
Gifford Cochran .... presenter
William C. de Mille .... supervisor (as William C. de-Mille)
John Krimsky .... presenter
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
72 min | 76 min (2003 restored version) | USA:80 min (original version)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Canada:G (Ontario) | Finland:K-16 (1936) | Finland:(Banned) (1934) | UK:A | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #1316-R, 29 August 1935 for re-release)

Did You Know?

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 »
Smithers:[Jones prepares to escape into the jungle] Give my regards to any ghosts yer 'appen to meet!
Brutus Jones:[pause] If dat ghost have money, I tells him never to haunt you lessen he wants to lose it!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Water BoySee more »


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
Paul Robeson's Unforgettable Tour-De-Force Performance!, 31 December 2010
Author: ( from United States

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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