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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 2 wins. 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
...
Cliff Moore (as Joseph Sawyer)
Clifford Soubier ...
Mike Grogan
Alonzo Price ...
Alf Hargrave
...
Billings
...
Buddy Taylor
...
Judge (as Samuel Hinds)
...
Prosecuting Attorney
...
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

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 »

Goofs

A newspaper clipping names Clifford Soubier's character as Michael F. Grogan. However the letter earlier refers to him as Michael P. Grogan. See more »

Quotes

Cliff Moore: Read!
Frank Taylor: [reading the Black Legion oath] In the name of God and the Devil, one to reward and the other to punish, and by the powers of light and darkness, good and evil, here under the black arch of Heaven's avenging symbol, I pledge and consecrate my heart, my brain, my body, and my limbs and swear by all the powers of Heaven and Hell to devote my life to the obedience of my superiors and that no danger or peril shall deter me from executin' dere orders. That I will exert every possible means in ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

References Public Enemy's Wife (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

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.


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