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:
Worth Watching For Paul Robeson's 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?

This movie inspired the creation of the Fiction House Publications villain Broot, an African-American gangster who became an African chieftain. Broot clashed with Ka'a'nga, the Lord of the Jungle, in several early stories in Jungle Comics before being captured by him.See more »
Brutus Jones:[With bravado] It takes a silver bullet to kill Brutus Jones.See more »
Movie Connections:
DanielSee more »


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
Worth Watching For Paul Robeson's Performance, 25 October 2010
Author: sddavis63 ( from Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada

Paul Robeson was a very fine early black actor whose career was rather limited because he generally refused the types of servile and undignified roles that tended to be the lot of black actors in the 30's and 40's (not to mention the fact that he developed some associations that led him - rightly or wrongly - to be associated with the communist movement and further limited his career potential.) In this adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's famous play "The Emperor Jones," Robeson plays Brutus Jones, a man in prison in the United States, who escapes and finds his way to a lonely Caribbean island, where he succeeds in setting himself up as dictator, and an increasingly brutal one, more interested in his own power and glory than in the well-being of his "subjects." Robeson's portrayal of Jones was quite convincing, particularly in the latter few scenes of the movie as he shows Jones losing touch with reality as he races through the jungle, trying to escape from his former subjects who are now in revolt.

Robeson's performance aside, though, I found this to be an unfortunate disappointment. The first problem was that the version I watched had some issues - particularly in the quality of the sound. It was often difficult to make out some of the dialogue. The story also seemed to move too rapidly through events. There wasn't sufficient development of the plot, which often was disconcerting as one tried to find some logic to the course of events.

I first became familiar with O'Neill's play way back in high school. Some of the adaptations made in transferring this to the screen didn't work well. In particular, there's far less emphasis in the movie on Jones' race through the jungle (which is, as I noted, the highlight of the movie) than there is in the play. O'Neill might not be overly pleased with this particular adaptation of his work. For Robeson's performance alone, though, this is definitely worth watching, even if it isn't great.

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