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Murder in Harlem (1935)

TV-G | | Mystery, Drama | 12 December 1935 (USA)
A black night watchman at a chemical factory finds the body of a murdered white woman. After he reports it, he finds himself accused of the murder.


Oscar Micheaux (uncredited), Clarence Williams (uncredited)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Clarence Brooks Clarence Brooks ... Henry Glory
Dorothy Van Engle Dorothy Van Engle ... Claudia
Andrew Bishop Andrew Bishop ... Brisbane
Alec Lovejoy Alec Lovejoy ... Lem Hawkins
Laura Bowman Laura Bowman ... Mrs. Epps
Bee Freeman Bee Freeman ... The Catbird
Lionel Monagas Lionel Monagas ... Undetermined Role
Alice B. Russell Alice B. Russell ... Mrs. Vance
Sandy Burns Sandy Burns ... Undetermined Role
Lea Morris Lea Morris ... Undetermined Role
Joie Brown Jr. Joie Brown Jr. ... Undetermined Role
Eunice Wilson Eunice Wilson ... Singer
Henrietta Loveless Henrietta Loveless ... Undetermined Role
Lorenzo McClane Lorenzo McClane ... Arthur Vance
Helen Davis Helen Davis ... Undetermined Role (as Helen Lawrence)


A black night watchman at a chemical factory finds the body of a murdered white woman. After he reports it, he finds himself accused of the murder. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Mystery | Drama








Release Date:

12 December 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brand of Cain See more »

Filming Locations:

Fort Lee, New Jersey, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Micheaux Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Andrew Bishop had acted for Oscar Micheaux several times, starting from as early as 1923, but this is their earliest surviving collaboration. See more »


Featured in That's Black Entertainment (1990) See more »


Ants in My Pants
(1934) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Clarence Williams
See more »

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User Reviews

Good Race Picture
13 February 2017 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Murder in Harlem (1934)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

A black watchman is doing his rounds when he stumbles across the body of a white woman. He calls the police but he's eventually arrested for the crime. Soon a lawyer is on his case trying to find out who was really behind the crime.

MURDER IN HARLEM is a fairly entertaining race film from director Oscar Micheaux who was of course the leading black director during this period. A lot of times the race films from this era didn't feature any white people but that's not the case here as the director was allowed a pretty good cast as well as an interesting story to work with.

Obviously, the director was still hampered with a very low-budget that didn't allow much technical advantages. The cinematography is the biggest issue here and especially during a few scenes where the camera zooms towards the actors, cuts off the top of their heads and then has to re-arrange the shot. Of course, normally you'd be asking for a second take but that wasn't possible when you're working with this type of budget.

The one big advantage this film had over several of the early sound films from Micheaux is that the performances were very good. Dorothy Van Engle gets most of the praise for her performance as the girlfriend and rightfully so as she comes across quite strong and certainly helps carry the picture. Clarence Brooks, Andrew Bishop and Alec Lovejoy all add very good support.

MURDER IN HARLEM is a very good example of a race movie that could have been so much more had it had the budget and technical advantages of what was going on in Hollywood. As it stands, the film is certainly very much worth watching but one can only think of what it could have been.

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