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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hallelujah! (1929)






















Starring:
  • Daniel L. Haynes
  • Nina Mae McKinney
  • William Fountaine
IMDB.com
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...

It's important to realize this was only the first year of sound pictures. Seen in that light, HALLELUJAH! has a remarkable fluidity, and a freedom from the tyranny of the sound camera that is little short of astonishing. (See "Singin' in the Rain" for a realistic depiction of this problem.) The acting is on a high level, if somewhat dated. King Vidor did an admirable job in depicting his characters' life condition, and was deservedly nominated as Best Director of 1929/30.

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