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

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Overview

User Rating:
6.4/10   558 votes »
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Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Eugene O'Neill (play)
DuBose Heyward (screenplay)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Emperor Jones on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 September 1933 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
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:
Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Superstar Robeson rises above thrifty production. See more (17 total) »

Cast

  (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)

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)
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Directed by
Dudley Murphy 
 
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


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
72 min | 76 min (2003 restored version) | USA:80 min (original version)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
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?

Trivia:
The original Broadway production of "The Emperor Jones" opened at the Neighborhood Playhouse on November 1, 1920 and ran for 204 performances. Between 1925 and 1927 the play was revived three times, once with Paul Robeson who recreated his stage role in this movie version.See more »
Quotes:
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:
Soundtrack:
Now Let Me FlySee more »

FAQ

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Superstar Robeson rises above thrifty production., 8 July 2008
Author: st-shot from United States

As charismatic and talented as any star of the era, Paul Robeson's filmography is mostly low rent productions made on the cheap. Eugene O'Neil's short play, The Emperor Jones, made by an independent New York company, was shot entirely in New York and while it does an admirable job with it's bare bones sets and limited amount of takes it does not do justice to the bravura larger than life presence of Robeson who gives an awe inspiring performance as he goes from Brutus Jones, Pullman porter to chain gang prisoner to Emperor of his own Caribbean Island.

The sound quality is poor (an abominable affront to Robeson's magnificent baritone singing Waterboy) and director Dudley Murphy for the most part keeps his camera static with uninspired composition as Robeson electrifies from scene to scene. Whether brimming with confidence or desperately trapped he is a man in full. It is painstakingly evident that this enormous talent deserved MGM treatment and his loss is ours as well. Uglier things were happening in America back then in terms of institutional racism but the shabby handling of this man's incredible abilities is a clear example of prejudice in another form.

While Robeson holds the center if not all the film, Frank Wilson as Jeff, a veteran porter that shows Brutus the ropes spars well with him especially in one of the film's better ensemble scenes in a juke joint crap game down South. Dudley Diggs as Smithers the surly white trader he outsmarts has some decent lines but for the most part is pure English vaudeville.

The Emperor Jones may be a rickety production but it remains valuable in displaying the qualities of a mighty talent, tragically wasted by the "American Way" of the times.

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