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Moon Over Harlem (1939)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  31 October 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 4.7/10 from 136 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 5 critic

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Title: Moon Over Harlem (1939)

Moon Over Harlem (1939) on IMDb 4.7/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Buddy Harris ...
Dollar Bill (as Bud Harris)
Cora Green ...
Izinetta Wilcox ...
Earl Gough ...
Zerita Steptean ...
Jackie (as Zerita Stepteau)
Petrina Moore ...
Daphne Fray ...
Mercedes Gilbert ...
Jackie's mother
Frances Harrod ...
Alec Lovejoy ...
Walter Richardson ...
Brother Hornsby
Slim Thompson ...
Freddie Robinson ...
John Bunn ...
Marieluise Bechet ...
Nina Mae Brown


Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis


Powerful drama... Ripped from the heart of harlem!


Crime | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

31 October 1939 (USA)  »

Box Office


$8,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Variray Blue Seal Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The PCA refused to issue an approval certificate for the film because the murderers were never punished and also for portraying a sexual relationship between a black man and a white woman. See more »


Referenced in Edgar G. Ulmer - The Man Off-screen (2004) See more »


Music and Lyrics by Donald Heywood
Published in connection with this movie and possibly used instrumentally
See more »

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User Reviews

Moon Over Harlem marks Edgar G. Ulmer's rare foray into "race movies"
4 July 2008 | by (Baton Rouge, La.) – See all my reviews

From director Edgar G. Ulmer came this, his rare foray in "race movies", Moon Over Harlem. The story, about a rich widow who unknowingly marries a gangster to the consternation of her daughter, is the kind that already seemed old hat in 1939, though Ulmer does the best he could under the circumstances with the low budget and a short schedule of only four days. The best one could say about the results is that the dialogue does keep flowing and the score mostly keeps playing. Too bad someone didn't try to keep the movie preserved enough to maybe clean up some of the wear on both the soundtrack and print. All that said, the performances of Buddy Harris as mob boss Dollar Bill, Cora Green as new wife Minnie, Izinetta Wilcox as daughter Sue who also provides a nice singing voice, and Earl Gough as Sue's crusading boyfriend Bob are pretty good despite their limited rehearsal time. And it's nice to see jazz legends like Christopher Columbus and New Orleans native Sidney Bechet perform here during the wedding reception. I was also slightly amused by Freddie Robinson as Half-Pint. Also, if I didn't read the cast list here on IMDb, I wouldn't have recognized Jacksonville, FL, native Mercedes Gilbert, who I previously saw in Oscar Micheaux's Body and Soul, in this movie. In summation, Moon Over Harlem is uneven as drama but should be interesting enough for anyone curious about these old movies made for a certain segment of the United States who were being treated as second-class citizens at this time.

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