6.5/10
747
20 user 20 critic

The Emperor Jones (1933)

Not Rated | | Drama, Music | 29 September 1933 (USA)
Unscrupulously ambitious Brutus Jones escapes from jail after killing a guard and through bluff and bravado finds himself the emperor of a Caribbean island.

Directors:

Dudley Murphy, William C. de Mille (uncredited)

Writers:

Eugene O'Neill (play), DuBose Heyward (screenplay) (as Du-Bose Heyward)
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

British District Officer in Nigeria in the 1930's rules his area strictly but justly, and struggles with gun-runners and slavers with the aid of a loyal native chief.

Director: Zoltan Korda
Stars: Paul Robeson, Leslie Banks, Nina Mae McKinney
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Rosa Moline is bored with life in a small town. She loves Chicago industrialist Neil Latimer who has a hunting lodge nearby. Rosa squeezes her husband's patients to pay their bills so she ... See full summary »

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Bette Davis, Joseph Cotten, David Brian
Drama | Music | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Danny is a content truck driver, but his girl Peggy shows potential as a dancer and hopes he too can show ambition. Danny acquiesces and pursues boxing to please her, but the two begin to spend more time working than time together.

Directors: Anatole Litvak, Jean Negulesco
Stars: James Cagney, Ann Sheridan, Frank Craven
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Although Vivian Revere is seemingly the most successful of a trio of reunited schoolmates, she throws it away by descending into a life of debauchery and drugs.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Joan Blondell, Warren William, Ann Dvorak
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

The men who captured the giant ape King Kong return to Skull Island and find his likewise gigantic but far more friendly son.

Director: Ernest B. Schoedsack
Stars: Robert Armstrong, Helen Mack, Frank Reicher
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Dardo, a Robin Hood-like figure, and his loyal followers use a Roman ruin in Medieval Lombardy as their headquarters as they conduct an insurgency against their Hessian conquerors.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Virginia Mayo, Robert Douglas
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In 1854, Jeb Stuart, George Custer and other graduates from West Point are posted to Kansas to help pacify the territory before railroad construction to Santa Fe can resume.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Raymond Massey
Havana Widows (1933)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Two golddiggers go fishing for millionaires in Havana.

Director: Ray Enright
Stars: Joan Blondell, Glenda Farrell, Guy Kibbee
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Butch Saunders has been transferred to Missing Persons because he was too brutal in other police work. He regards the assignment as "kindergarten" work. When a young woman asks him to help ... See full summary »

Director: Roy Del Ruth
Stars: Bette Davis, Lewis Stone, Pat O'Brien
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An unpolished racketeer, whose racket is finding heirs for unclaimed fortunes, affects ethics and tea-drinking manners to win back the sweetheart who now works for his seemingly upright competitor.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Allen Jenkins
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In the depths of the Depression, two teenage boys strike out on their own in order to help their struggling parents and find life on the road tougher than expected.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Frankie Darro, Rochelle Hudson, Edwin Phillips
June Bride (1948)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A magazine's staff, including bickering ex-lovers Linda and Carey, cover an Indiana wedding, which goes slightly wrong...

Director: Bretaigne Windust
Stars: Bette Davis, Robert Montgomery, Fay Bainter
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Paul Robeson ... Brutus Jones
Dudley Digges ... Smithers
Frank H. Wilson Frank H. Wilson ... Jeff (as Frank Wilson)
Fredi Washington ... Undine
Ruby Elzy Ruby Elzy ... Dolly
George Haymid Stamper George Haymid Stamper ... Lem (as George Stamper)
Edit

Storyline

At a Baptist prayer meeting, the preacher leads a prayer for Brutus Jones, who is leaving to become a railway porter. Jones joins the congregation in a spiritual. Once on the train, Jeff, a porter, shows Jones the ropes. Jones secretly takes up with Jeff's girl, Undine. He makes some money in a deal with a rich businessman on the train. Jones proves to be a cunning manipulator and a good liar. In a crap game, Jones stabs Jeff over a pair of loaded dice. Now doing hard labour, Jones kills a white prison guard and escapes. Shovelling coal on a ship in the Caribbean, Jones swims to an island. He is brought before the island's ruler, where Smithers, a crooked white trader, buys his freedom. Jones schemes his way into a partnership in Smithers' business, then finally control of the entire island through a touch of witchcraft, or so it seems. Brutus declares himself to be The Emperor Jones... Smithers reports on the unrest that Jones' rule is causing. One morning, the palace is empty of ... Written by David Steele

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 September 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El emperador Jones See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2003 restored) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

About a half-hour of completely original material was added to the movie adaptation in order to give the main character, Brutus Jones, a more detailed backstory, leaving only about 45 minutes from Eugene O'Neill's play. See more »

Quotes

Brutus Jones: Ain't talking big what makes a man big, s'long as he makes folks believe it?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally prepared at 80 minutes, the film was subject to censorship problems immediately upon release, and cut to 72 minutes. This 72-minute version was the only version available, until the Library of Congress restored the film to a 76-minute running time (and restored as well the original blue tint in the film's finale). Several minutes of the original release are still lost, presumably forever. See more »

Connections

Featured in Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Daniel
(uncredited)
Traditional American spiritual
Sung by Paul Robeson and chorus on the island
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Superstar Robeson rises above thrifty production.
8 July 2008 | by st-shotSee all my reviews

As charismatic and talented as any star of the era, Paul Robeson's filmography is mostly low rent productions made on the cheap. Eugene O'Neil's short play, The Emperor Jones, made by an independent New York company, was shot entirely in New York and while it does an admirable job with it's bare bones sets and limited amount of takes it does not do justice to the bravura larger than life presence of Robeson who gives an awe inspiring performance as he goes from Brutus Jones, Pullman porter to chain gang prisoner to Emperor of his own Caribbean Island.

The sound quality is poor (an abominable affront to Robeson's magnificent baritone singing Waterboy) and director Dudley Murphy for the most part keeps his camera static with uninspired composition as Robeson electrifies from scene to scene. Whether brimming with confidence or desperately trapped he is a man in full. It is painstakingly evident that this enormous talent deserved MGM treatment and his loss is ours as well. Uglier things were happening in America back then in terms of institutional racism but the shabby handling of this man's incredible abilities is a clear example of prejudice in another form.

While Robeson holds the center if not all the film, Frank Wilson as Jeff, a veteran porter that shows Brutus the ropes spars well with him especially in one of the film's better ensemble scenes in a juke joint crap game down South. Dudley Diggs as Smithers the surly white trader he outsmarts has some decent lines but for the most part is pure English vaudeville.

The Emperor Jones may be a rickety production but it remains valuable in displaying the qualities of a mighty talent, tragically wasted by the "American Way" of the times.


6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 20 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching



Recently Viewed