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Black Legion (1937)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 30 January 1937 (USA)
When a hard-working machinist loses a promotion to a Polish-born worker, he is seduced into joining the secretive Black Legion, which intimidates foreigners through violence.

Directors:

(as Archie L. Mayo), (uncredited)

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Frank Taylor
... Ed Jackson
... Ruth Taylor
... Betty Grogan
... Pearl Danvers
... Cliff Moore (as Joseph Sawyer)
Clifford Soubier ... Mike Grogan
... Alf Hargrave
... Billings
... Buddy Taylor
... Judge (as Samuel Hinds)
... Prosecuting Attorney
... Metcalf
... Mrs. Grogan
... Tommy Smith
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Storyline

Frank Taylor joins the "pro-American" Black Legion when he loses his chance at foremanship to a foreign-born man. The organization is a sort of Ku Klux Klan in the industrial sphere. Frank has troubles with his wife over this and causes serious trouble when he tells all to his best friend Ed Jackson. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 January 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La legión negra  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$235,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Banned in Austria, Switzerland, Cyprus, Finland, Trinidad and France. The ban in France was lifted after a year, and it opened to extremely negative reviews. Australian and British release versions were heavily censored. See more »

Goofs

When the Legion trusses Mike Grogan to the tree branch before flogging him, in the shot from the front both of his arms are fully extended from the branch. However, in the shot from behind, his right wrist is strapped to the branch with his arm bent at the crook of the elbow. See more »

Quotes

Cliff Moore: Well, what's the matter? You afraid?
Ed Jackson: So, you're afraid! Maybe they better change the name of your outfit from the Black Legion to the Yellow Legion.
See more »

Connections

References Bengal Tiger (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Fair and Warmer
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played when Frank turns on the radio at home
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A good one
30 March 2002 | by See all my reviews

Humphrey Bogart is first-rate in this thinly disguised story of the Ku Klux Klan and how it plays on the fears and prejudices of the poor and uneducated (and how it's run by the well-to-do and educated, a point often missed by reviewers). Bogart plays a factory worker who was expecting a promotion, only to see it go to a "foreigner" (in this case, a Pole--and, by implication, a Jew, which is where the Klan gets involved). Angry, resentful and worried about his future, Bogart gets caught up in a racist, Klan-like group called the Black Legion, which, in the manner of all fundamentalist right-wing terrorist groups, proclaims its patriotism and its "defense of God and country" against "dirty foreigners." The interesting thing about this film is that it really doesn't blame Bogart's character for what eventually happens; he's just a pawn in the political agenda of the right-wing business and political interests who actually control the group. Warner Bros. was known for its muckraking films, and this is one of its better ones. It took guts for Warners to make this type of picture during this particular period in American history; there was a strong resurgence of Ku Klux Klan activity all over the country--there was even a Klan parade, with thousands of hooded marchers, that passed directly in front of the White House in Washington, DC--and lynchings and racial murders were skyrocketing, especially in the South. While maybe not as strong as some would have liked, the picture still radiates the Warner Bros. passion for the underdog, and they did a good job here. Strong performances by the principals, tight direction by Archie Mayo and the usual Warner Bros. grit make for a first-rate film. Highly recommended.


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