The Blood of Jesus
Pioneers of African-American Cinema: An Introduction • 56m
Spencer Williams • United States • 1941
A surreal, poignant parable.
The first feature by director/actor Spencer Williams, THE BLOOD OF JESUS, is a rural religious parable in which a woman, accidentally shot by her husband (Williams), travels to the crossroads of the hereafter, and faces the temptations of the devil himself (replete with pitchfork, horns, and cape). Williams appropriated footage from Roman Freulich’s 1936 inspirational short Broken Earth (starring Clarence Muse) to add stylish production value to this low-budget drama—but he proves to be quite the stylist himself with the images of the leering Satan and the stunning finale in which the protagonist falls to the foot of a cross and is bathed in the literal blood of Jesus, a moment that is both visually surreal and unexpectedly poignant.
Up Next in Pioneers of African-American Cinema: An Introduction
The Bronze Buckaroo
Richard C. Kahn • United States • 1939
The NMAAHC holds multiple film copies of THE BRONZE BUCKAROO
The NMAAHC holds multiple film copies of THE BRONZE BUCKAROO. The copy employed for the Pioneers project comes from the Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History a...
The Scar of Shame
Frank Peregini • United States • 1929
A woman is rescued from her abusive father by a composer.
When a young woman escapes from her abusive father, she is rescued by an aspiring composer, but encounters opposition from his class-conscious mother. This edition of THE SCAR OF SHAME includes four...
Two Knights of Vaudeville
United States • 1915
The Ebony Film Corporation may have been a white-owned company, but African-American producer Luther Pollard used it as a means of getting black faces on the silver screen. Luther often worked in collaboration with his brother Fritz, a star athlete who later became the first...