AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Hallelujah
Director: King Vidor (Dir)
Release Date:   20 Aug 1929
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 20 Aug 1929
Duration (in mins):   109
Duration (in feet):   9,711
Duration (in reels):   12
Print this page
Display Movie Summary


Cast:   Daniel L. Haynes (Zeke)  
    Nina Mae McKinney (Chick)  
    William E. Fountaine (Hot Shot)  
    Harry Gray (Parson)  
    Fannie Belle De Night (Mammy)  
    Everett McGarrity (Spunk)  
    Victoria Spivey (Missy Rose)  
    Milton Dickerson (Johnson kid)  
    Robert Couch (Johnson kid)  
    Walter Tait (Johnson kid)  
    Dixie Jubilee Singers    

Summary: Zeke, a black tenant farmer, takes the family cotton crop to market and sells it for nearly one hundred dollars. Chick, a dance hall temptress, then uses her wiles to lure Zeke into a crap game with her lover, Hot Shot, who cheats Zeke out of his money with loaded dice. Zeke and Hot Shot fight, and Zeke gets possession of Hot Shot's gun, firing point blank into the crowd. The shot accidentally kills his younger brother, Spunk, and in repentance, Zeke becomes a preacher. He again meets Chick, and she gets religion, deserting Hot Shot to go with him. Zeke falls for Chick and jilts Missy Rose. Hot Shot returns, and the fickle Chick goes off with him. Zeke gives chase, and Chick is killed when Hot Shot's buggy overturns. Zeke then kills Hot Shot in a swamp, and, after serving time on the chain gang, returns home to the faithful Missy Rose. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's Inc.)
Distribution Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp. (Loew's Inc.)
Director: King Vidor (Dir)
  Robert A. Golden (Asst dir)
  Harold Garrison (Asst dir)
Writer: Wanda Tuchock (Scen)
  King Vidor (Story)
  Richard Schayer (Trmt)
  Ransom Rideout (Dial)
  Marian Ainslee (Titles)
Photography: Gordon Avil (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
Film Editor: Hugh Wynn (Film ed)
  Anson Stevenson (Film ed)
Costumes: Henrietta Frazer (Ward)
Sound: Douglas Shearer (Rec eng)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs: "Waiting at the End of the Road" and "Swanee Shuffle," music and lyrics by Irving Berlin.
Composer: Irving Berlin
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp. 3/9/1929 dd/mm/yyyy LP652

Physical Properties: Sd: Movietone
  Sd, also Si: Also si; 6,579 ft.
  b&w:

 
Genre: Drama
  Drama
Sub-Genre: African American
  with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Brothers
  Chain gangs
  Cotton
  Gamblers
  Gambling
  African Americans
  Preachers
  Religion
  Tenant farmers
  Vamps

Note: Several traditional Negro spirituals are used in the film, including "Goin' Home" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." Var printed three reviews of the film on the same day, one based on the New York City premiere showing, another based on a showing before an Africa-American audience at the Lafayette Theatre in Harlem, and another by a female staff writer who was not a regular reviewer.
       King Vidor received an Academy Award nomination for his work on the film. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Film Daily   25 Aug 1929.   
Film Spectator   2 Nov 1929   pp. 4-5.
Film Spectator   15 Feb 1930   pp. 20-22.
New York Times   21 Aug 1929   p. 33.
Time   16 Dec 1929   p. 58.
Variety   28 Aug 1929   p. 18.

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
Advanced Search
AFI Membership
The definitive list of classic American films

© 2014 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.