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15 user 7 critic

The Blood of Jesus (1941)

Approved | | Drama, Fantasy | 26 April 1941 (USA)
An atheist accidentally shoots his Baptist wife. She dies and goes to a crossroads, where the devil tries to lead her astray.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Cathryn Caviness ...
Sister Martha Ann Jackson
Spencer Williams ...
Razz Jackson
Juanita Riley ...
Sister Jenkins
Reather Hardeman ...
Sister Ellerby
Rogenia Goldthwaite ...
The Angel
James B. Jones ...
Satan (as Jas. B. Jones)
Frank H. McClennan ...
Judas Green
Eddie DeBase ...
Rufus Brown (as Eddie De Base)
Alva Fuller ...
Luke Williams
R.L. Robertson ...
Rev. R.L. Robertson (as Rev. R.L. Robertson)
The Heavenly Choir ...
Group Singers
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Storyline

In the rural south of the United States, a godly young woman is accidently wounded by her unchurched husband. She succumbs to the injuries, whereupon a good angel bids her to journey with him to the Crossroads of Life. Before she can travel far, the devil lures her with the temptations of juke joints and the city. Can she regain the straight and narrow before it's too late? And what is to become of those she left behind? Written by Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Mighty Epic Of Modern Morals!

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 April 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Glory Road  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$5,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1991. See more »

Goofs

When Sister Elsie visits Sister Jenkins, a hand is seen pulling the door closed behind her. See more »

Connections

Featured in Classified X (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Written by Wallis Willis
Arranged by Henry Thacker Burleigh
Performed by The Heavenly Choir as Martha Ann lay dying
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Neither Heaven Nor Zion but Home

The jury that selects each year the National Film Registry is unpredictable: films as "The Blood of Jesus" merit to be rescued, for its anthropological value and for being a forerunner in the evolution of African-American cinema and filmmakers, but I have seen quite a few whose inclusion could only be justified by provincialism, as "Road to Morocco", "Lassie Come Home" and "Knute Rockne All American". In the religion fable "The Blood of Jesus", inspired by a poem by Langston Hughes and set within a black community in the South, a Baptist sister dies when she is accidentally shot by the shotgun of her atheist husband. She is then guided by an angel and tempted by the Devil in her post-mortem trip to Heaven, and goes off course into a couple of bars in the city, where she gets into trouble. It is true that the actors are amateurs, that the extras look directly to camera, and the dramaturgy is elementary. It is also true that the special effects and decors are poor, but it is clear that the film was chosen because it captured on film a few traits and manifestations of Americans of African descent, in which there is a way to do and say that is both spontaneous and naive, beyond the interference of camera, lights and technicians. The baptism in the river, the dance in the city bar, the gospel hymns sung by the choir in the dying woman's room, the costumes of the angel and the Devil (out of a costume party for children), and the Devil himself playing the piano with a band, compensate and amuse (sometimes unintentionally) for a pious tale, full of praises to the "All Mighty Lord", with an African-American sister that has to choose between the road to Heaven and the road to Zion (!), and even including the literal blood of Jesus to set her free.


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