In a juke joint, sharecropper Zeke falls for a beautiful dancer, Chick, but she's only setting him up for a rigged craps game. He loses $100, the money he got for the sale of his family's entire cotton crop. His brother Spunk is mortally wounded in the shoot-out which follows. Zeke goes away but returns as Brother Zekiel the preacher. His forceful preaching draws the faithful in large numbers. Even Chick wants to be saved. Zekiel has asked the pretty Missy Rose to marry him, but Chick can still cast a spell over the preacher...Written by
REALISTIC! EARTHY!...it pictures in dialogue and heart-stirring song the reckless love and the gripping drama of the Southern Negro...come to the dusky cabarets....the revivals and the baptisms. (original ad) See more »
Although this film is frequently touted as the first black-cast film produced in Hollywood, it is actually predated by the more obscure Hearts in Dixie (1929). See more »
When Zeke is shown singing atop the train car, the audio of his singing does not match his lip movements, probably due to difficulties relating to dubbing in 1929 (the footage on the train was clearly shot silent, with singing and effects added in post-production). See more »
Say, honey, wouldn't it be nice if you'd spend a hundred dollars all on your baby by this time tomorra?
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MGM also issued this movie in a silent version, with Marian Ainslee writing the titles. See more »
This film, despite its early talkie crudities, is one of the best religious dramas ever filmed in my opinion. It gets better with each viewing, as you discover more and more nuances in the script and the filmmaking as well. The performances of the leads are stellar -- especially Daniel J. Haynes in the lead. And Nina Mae McKinney is fabulous as "Chick" -- a seductress who tempts Haynes on so many different levels -- subverting and perverting his religious fervor to mold to her pure carnal lust. The spirituals are stirring; the story, though somewhat maudlin, is compelling and quite plausible. The revival scenes are both uplifting and moving. Forget that it was the first "all-black" musical or drama or whatever...it holds it place as a fine film...and doesn't need to be pigeonholed as a historical or "race" period piece. Bold, brave...and ultimately reverent...this is a true film classic.
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