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Murder in Harlem (1935)

TV-G  |   |  Mystery, Drama
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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.


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Title: Murder in Harlem (1935)

Murder in Harlem (1935) on IMDb 5.2/10

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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Mystery | Drama






Also Known As:

Brand of Cain  »

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Based on the infamous Leo Frank case of 1913. Oscar Micheaux had examined this subject 14 years earlier in The Gunsaulus Mystery (1921). It is interesting to note that, while this film sides with the Frank character, research suggests that Micheaux believed the real Leo Frank to have been guilty. See more »


Version of They Won't Forget (1937) See more »


Ants in My Pants
(1934) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Clarence Williams
See more »

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User Reviews

Dorothy Van Engle is tops. She was the first "lady" on the screen not Lena Horne!
17 December 2004 | by (Michigan) – See all my reviews

An interesting movie. You may have to watch it a few times to really understand and seem interesting, it took quite a few times because at first it seemed boring but since I'm understand Micheaux and his actors and actresses...I get it.

The movie is about a black night watchman who's accused of killing a white girl which he didn't do but the watchman and his boss(who done it) try to put it on another watchman which is Claudia's brother played by Dorothy Van Engle and she along with Henry Glory try to bring her brother justice. Dorothy provides Henry with the determination and will to clear her brother and in love all the time, Henry and Claudia profess their love.

Dorothy Van Engle light shines throughout all this movie. She's the most appealing and most beautiful of Black Cinema and movie history period. Dorothy could of rivaled the leading white ladies of Hollywood if Hollywood wasn't so afraid for Dorothy fit the beauty standards and acting talents of Hollywood. Dorothy Van Engle was the first black woman on screen to be glamorous and elegant not Lena Horne, a coincidence is Lena and Dorothy were friends as children. If I was to compare, Dorothy Van Engle, I would say is the Black Dolores del Rio or vice versa. Dorothy has the sweetness of Ruby Keeler, the glamour and impeccable dressing of a Kay Francis(Van Engle made her own clothes for the movies she was in) and appeal, charm, and naturalness of a Myrna Loy. Dorothy Van Engle was the first positive black woman on the screen. Intelligent, smart, ambitious, sure, spoke proper English but wasn't snooty and still possessed the Black heritage. Dorothy's body language, gestures, attitudes were right on time. You forgot her color and look at her talent, the same you would a white actors and actress. The best parts are the nightclub scenes where Van Engle really is exuberant and sensational Eunice Wilson who is always a treat to see sing and dance and in her few scenes, she was called, the best of the female dancers in the 1930's. She also was in a few black cinema movies, especially in the first movie made in color by blacks. Clarence Brooks plays his role fine. All this wasn't seen in Hollywood or even today with Blacks. So audiences were very appreciative of Black Cinema and its actors and actresses for providing them with role models. These types of films gave Blacks chances to play substantial roles and sparked an interest in wanna be actors and actresses in Black Cinema instead of begging Hollywood for a chance they never would get. Most didn't make a lot in Black Cinema but became movie stars with the Black Press giving them publicity, but the best parts were they could be dignified, respectful, classy, beauty, able to tell a story and challenge the stereotypes in a movie which would use their talents favorably.

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