DVD Hallelujah (DVD 16591793),
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  • NR
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • The first all-black film produced by a major studio, HALLELUJAH represented the culmination of King Vidor's long-standing desire to do a project dealing with the lives of African Americans, strongly influenced by his childhood experience in Galveston, Texas. The film stars Daniel Hayes as Zeke Johnson, an impoverished young sharecropper living in South Carolina. When he and his brother Spunk (Everett McGarritty) go north to sell their cotton crop, Daniel falls for the seductive Chick (Nina Mae McKinney) without realizing she's a shill for the rigged crap game of her lover, Hot Shot (William Fountaine). Finally grasping the scam, Daniel fights with Hot Shot, but his brother is fatally shot during the struggle.

    The grief-stricken Zeke is reborn as a preacher, traveling the country, spreading the word of the Lord. The cynical Chick appears among the congregation at one of his revival meetings and finds herself moved by his sermonizing. After Daniel baptizes her in the river, the couple elopes, and he finds work in a sawmill. But Chick's innate restlessness will again create problems for her new husband. Although now somewhat dated, the film was probably the closest approximation of African-American life put onscreen up to that time. The film's outstanding, meticulously researched soundtrack, ranging from jazz to spirituals, derives from the director's lifelong affinity for such music.
  • Credits
    Nina, Mae McKinney
  • Critic Reviews
    "...The film still rates with APPLAUSE, Hitchcock's BLACKMAIL and Chevalier's THE LOVE PARADE as the best movies of the sound-transitional year..."
    USA Today

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