During the Great War, a Negro corporal, Jericho Jackson, disobeys an order and saves crewmen trapped below deck after an attack. A sergeant dies in the incident; Jackson is court-martialed and sentenced to death. He bolts, and his captain unjustly gets a five-year sentence for aiding his escape; the captain vows to bring Jackson to justice. Meanwhile, Jackson has stolen a boat and sailed from Bordeaux to Morocco where his skills as a physician give him a new lease on life. He becomes a chief responsible for negotiating peace among tribes and leading the annual great salt caravan. A confrontation with his old captain is, however, unavoidable. Can there be justice? Written by
It's only 75 minutes long, so, even if you don't find it as good as I did, you haven't really wasted that much of you life. It's really quite a good adventure film starring the famous black actor Paul Robeson. He made this film as a part of a package deal with British backers, because he felt that he would be able to play less stereotypical roles. Other blacks in the film don't get this posh treatment, as they speak pidgin English, throw dice, and scare easily, but, for the most part, Robeson maintains all of his dignity (the most he does is sing `Mammy's little babies love shortnin' shortnin', but, who knows, that might not have seemed harmful in 1937). Robeson plays Jericho Jackson, an intelligent soldier trained as a doctor. During a crisis on his ship, Robeson tries to knock out a superior officer who has gone nuts and accidentally kills him. Sentenced to death, he escapes, which gets a friend of his who has vouched for him (Henry Wilcoxon, Marc Antony from Cecil B. DeMille's 1934 movie, Cleopatra) thrown in jail. Robeson runs into the North African desert, where he becomes a leader of a tribe of nomads. A wise-cracking white man (Wallace Ford) becomes his best friend. When Wilcoxon is released from prison, he attempts to search out Jericho in order to reclaim his own honor. It's a pretty good story, although it ends rather lamely. Robeson sings some damn fine songs and his acting is great. The on-location cinematography, by John W. Boyle, is really beautiful. He captures a lot of great shots of a caravan moving slowly up and down the desert terrain. 8/10.
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