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Go Down, Death! (1944)

| Drama
The owner of a juke joint arranges to frame an innocent preacher with a scandalous photograph, but his scheme backfires when his own adoptive mother interferes.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Myra D. Hemmings
Samuel H. James ...
Jasper - The Preacher
Eddye L. Houston
Spencer Williams ...
Big Jim Bottoms
Amos Droughan
Walter McMillion
Irene Campbell
Charlie Washington
Helen Butler
Dolly Jones
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jimmie Green
The Heavenly Choir
Jimmie Green's Orchestra
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Storyline

A bar owner attempts to discredit the new preacher with whom he is feuding by framing him with a photograph showing him drinking with women with bad reputations. The bar owner's adoptive mother, a member of the minister's church, supports the preacher and gets the photographic prints. When the bar owner struggles with his mother for the prints, he accidentally kills her. After the preacher's funeral sermon, the bar owner's conscience drives him to his death. Written by Gary Imhoff, gary@dcwatch.com

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"The Wages of Sin is Death and as Ye Sow, so Shall Ye Reap"... Sayeth the Scriptures! See more »

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Edited into A Dirty Shame (2004) See more »

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Spencer Williams' Go Down, Death! gets points for trying to portray the wages of sin
9 February 2011 | by (Baton Rouge, La.) – See all my reviews

In reviewing movies featuring people of color in chronological order for Black History Month, we're now at 1944 when director/actor Spencer Williams made this parable about the dangers of deliberately falsifying a scandal of a decent preacher in order to keep one's bar in business. The man of the cloth is played by real-life reverend Samuel H. James as Jasper with Williams as the bar owner. I'll just now say that while the whole thing can be a bit heavy handed and perhaps in-your-face, the intentions were heartfelt and still effective. One has to admit, though, those "fly chicks" that attempted to tease Jasper were fine especially the one that showed some leg! And those images of Hell can be a little haunting. If there's some demerits, it's that the acting and film stock are very amateurish. Still, it's the intention that counts. So on that note, Go Down, Death! is worth a look. P.S. The forward at the beginning acknowledges the poem the title is based on by James Weldon Johnson who was born in Jacksonville, FL, which is where I once lived from 1987-2003.


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