Black Legion (1937)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  30 January 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,740 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 16 critic

When a hard-working machinist loses a promotion to a Polish-born worker, he is seduced into joining the secretive Black Legion, which intimidates foreigners through violence.


(as Archie L. Mayo) , (uncredited)


(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Erin O'Brien-Moore ...
Ruth Taylor
Betty Grogan
Helen Flint ...
Pearl Davis
Joe Sawyer ...
Cliff Moore (as Joseph Sawyer)
Clifford Soubier ...
Mike Grogan
Alonzo Price ...
Alf Hargrave
Paul Harvey ...
Buddy Taylor
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Judge (as Samuel Hinds)
Addison Richards ...
Prosecuting Attorney
Eddie Acuff ...
Dorothy Vaughan ...
Mrs. Grogan
Tommy Smith


Frank Taylor joins the "pro-American" Black Legion when he loses his chance at foremanship to a foreign-born man. The organization is a sort of Ku Klux Klan in the industrial sphere. Frank has troubles with his wife over this and causes serious trouble when he tells all to his best friend Ed Jackson. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 January 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La legión negra  »

Box Office


$235,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was inspired by a real case involving a racist/nativist organization called The Black Legion in Michigan, in which a WPA worker was murdered. See more »


When the Legion trusses Mike Grogan to the tree branch before flogging him, in the shot from the front both of his arms are fully extended from the branch. However, in the shot from behind, his right wrist is strapped to the branch with his arm bent at the crook of the elbow. See more »


Cliff Moore: Well, what's the matter? You afraid?
Ed Jackson: So, you're afraid! Maybe they better change the name of your outfit from the Black Legion to the Yellow Legion.
See more »


Featured in The Brothers Warner (2007) See more »


Fair and Warmer
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played when Frank turns on the radio at home
See more »

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User Reviews

Sensationalistic, but brave for it's day.
2 August 1999 | by (Canberra, Australia) – See all my reviews

The opening credits of this film declare in large letters that the characters and institutions portrayed in the film are entirely fictional. It seems even the brothers Warner were afraid of the Ku Klux Klan. And why wouldn't they be in the Thirties when lynchings and other acts of terror were common - are they still? Bogart is fine in an early role as a young worker, dismayed at a Polish worker getting a promotion he was seeking, who joins the Klan (or the Black Legion as they call it here). It's interesting to see him before he was typecast as the tough guy - he is very vulnerable here but not entirely sympathetic.

The film wears its sincerity on its sleeve a bit and is never wholly believable, but it is a brave attempt to confront the racism that was rife in Depression era America, when getting and keeping a job was very tough.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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