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Murder in Harlem (1935)

TV-G | | Mystery, Drama | 12 December 1935 (USA)
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.

Directors:

(uncredited), (uncredited)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clarence Brooks ...
Dorothy Van Engle ...
Claudia
Andrew Bishop ...
Brisbane
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 ...
Singer
Henrietta Loveless ...
Undetermined Role
Lorenzo McClane ...
Arthur Vance
Helen Davis ...
Undetermined Role (as Helen Lawrence)
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Storyline

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

Genres:

Mystery | Drama

Certificate:

TV-G
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 December 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brand of Cain  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Andrew Bishop had acted for Oscar Micheaux several times, starting from as early as 1923, but this is their earliest surviving collaboration. See more »

Connections

Version of Thou Shalt Not Kill (1915) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Murder In Harlem
1 December 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Before watching this film and certainly before judging it, there are things you should bear in mind. First, the quality of the actual celluloid leaves much to be desired, and the film jumps in places. Secondly, although by 1935 blacks had already made an enormous impact on American popular culture, this was primarily through music. Oscar Micheaux, who made this, was a rarity, so although by 2015 standards this low budget monochrome leaves much to be desired, it was not a bad effort for the son of a slave, even if he had been making films for more than a decade.

Yes, the script is a bit wooden, and the extended absurd cameo at the beginning about the book salesman is superfluously irrelevant and then some, but this was based on Micheaux's own experience. The film itself is a thinly veiled reworking of the murder of Mary Phagan by Leo Frank. Although there have been repeated attempts over the past hundred years to absolve Frank of this crime and put the blame on his Negro sidekick, the complete documentation from the case has now been placed on-line, and it is difficult to conclude otherwise than that fanciful as Jim Conley's story may sound, he was telling the truth.

That being said, certain agenda-driven special interest groups continue to beat the drum of anti-Semitism, with the absurd implication that in 1913 a low class Negro was higher up the food chain than a white, college educated businessman. Those same mischief-makers were very active when this film was made, so it is possible that the twist in the end of the story was formulated by Micheaux to avoid problems with distribution.


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