A black night watchman at a chemical factory finds the body of a murdered white woman. After he reports it, he finds himself accused of the murder.


(uncredited), (uncredited)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Clarence Brooks ...
Dorothy Van Engle ...
Andrew Bishop ...
Alec Lovejoy ...
Lem Hawkins
Laura Bowman ...
Mrs. Epps
Bee Freeman ...
The Catbird
Lionel Monagas ...
Undetermined Role
Alice B. Russell ...
Mrs. Vance
Sandy Burns ...
Undetermined Role
Lea Morris ...
Undetermined Role
Joie Brown Jr. ...
Undetermined Role
Eunice Wilson ...
Henrietta Loveless ...
Undetermined Role
Lorenzo McClane ...
Arthur Vance
Helen Davis ...
Undetermined Role (as Helen Lawrence)


A black night watchman at a chemical factory finds the body of a murdered white woman. After he reports it, he finds himself accused of the murder. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Mystery | Drama






Release Date:

12 December 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brand of Cain  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The lead character Henry Glory pays his way through university by selling copies of his own novel door to door. This is a self-reference by director Oscar Micheaux, who supported himself much the same way when he was starting out as a writer. See more »


Featured in American Experience: Midnight Ramble (1994) See more »


Harlem Rhythm Dance
(1933) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Clarence Williams
See more »

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User Reviews

basically pretty bad, but a fascinating time capsule in certain respects
26 July 2014 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Okay, in spite of what some of the other reviews may tell you, this is basically a really bad movie. But it is blessed with some features that make it sporadically fascinating in spite of its frequent bouts of ineptitude. First of all, the cast is not good. Some of the acting is painfully wooden, particularly from the leading lady. To give them their due, they've been handed some very stiff and unnatural dialogue. The best members of the cast clearly did some ad-libbing rather than stick to the clunky text.

It's also poorly directed and edited. This has nothing to do with the fact that it needs some significant restoration. It's also obvious that it was done on a shoestring budget, but that can't excuse all of its technical and artistic flaws. There is one scene where the camera attempts a simple maneuver, but then chops off the tops of the actors' heads and then jerkily and belatedly returns to a more workable composition. The script is an interesting mess -- very slow and dull in spots, but then weirdly non-linear and unpredictable in others. I couldn't tell if it was an early attempt at a Rashomon or Pulp Fiction- like experiment, or if it was merely disjointed and awkward. Perhaps a little of both.

But it's interesting for a few other reasons, one of which is the excellent musical interlude around the midpoint, when the leading lady visits a speakeasy. Willie "The Lion" Smith is among the performers, and the music is terrific. Surprisingly, the technical quality of the soundtrack is not bad.

I also liked it for some of its fairly raw explanation of the race relations of the era. It's quite up front about the fact that blacks are second-class citizens, and everyone agrees that a black man who turns to the police for any sort of help is basically a chump. None of the many slicker and better movies of the era would have been so blunt about these sorts of things.

Anyway, it's good weird fun to watch, if you can get past the dullest scenes (the endless sequence between the boss at the chemical plant and the watchman he bribes comes to mind). Some of the bad acting is hilarious enough to be worth the effort.

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