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Black Legion (1937)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 30 January 1937 (USA)
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.

Directors:

(as Archie L. Mayo), (uncredited)

Writers:

(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

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Ed Jackson
Erin O'Brien-Moore ...
Ruth Taylor
...
Betty Grogan
Helen Flint ...
Pearl Danvers
Joe Sawyer ...
Cliff Moore (as Joseph Sawyer)
Clifford Soubier ...
Mike Grogan
Alonzo Price ...
Alf Hargrave
Paul Harvey ...
Billings
...
Buddy Taylor
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Judge (as Samuel Hinds)
...
Prosecuting Attorney
Eddie Acuff ...
Metcalf
Dorothy Vaughan ...
Mrs. Grogan
...
Tommy Smith
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 January 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La legión negra  »

Box Office

Budget:

$235,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Warners would produce a similar-themed film, Storm Warning (1951), in 1951 about a for-profit hate group similar to the Black Legion. In that film the organization was obviously supposed to be the Ku Klux Klan, although it was never specifically called the Ku Klux Klan and was only referred to as "the Klan". See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

References Jailbreak (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

I've Been Working on the Railroad
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung a cappella by Helen Flint and Humphrey Bogart
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.


16 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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