AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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The Wages of Sin
Director: Oscar Micheaux (Dir)
Release Date:   1928
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Cast:   Lorenzo Tucker    

Summary: After his mother dies, African-American motion picture producer Winston Le Jaune returns to his home for the burial. His older sister reveals to him that their mother's dying wish was for him to take care of their younger brother, J. Lee, a ne'er-do-well who has shown himself to be a coward during World War I in France. After returning to the city, Winston sends for J. Lee and gives him a job in the company. J. Lee promptly steals money from the company, putting it into financial trouble, and spends it in cabarets and at wild parties, and on women. Winston fires his brother and is forced to make numerous trips to try to raise money for the company. While away, he meets and falls in love with a woman. They plan to marry, but she suddenly disappears. In Chicago, Winston meets J. Lee and offers him his job back. J. Lee now intentionally destroys the company and betrays his brother. [The only information regarding the conclusion of this film that has been found is that a new and unusual character is introduced at this point; the denouement involves thrills and heroism; and the ending is a happy one.] 

Production Company: Micheaux Film Corp.  
Distribution Company: State Rights  
Director: Oscar Micheaux (Dir)
Producer: Oscar Micheaux (Prod)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs:
Source Text: Based on the short story "Alias Jefferson Lee" (author and publication undetermined).

Physical Properties: Si:
  b&w:

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: African American
 
Subjects (Major): African Americans
  Brothers
  Motion picture producers
  Ne'er-do-wells
 
Subjects (Minor): Betrayal
  Brothers and sisters
  Cabarets
  Chicago (IL)
  Cowardice
  Dismissal (Employment)
  Funerals
  Parties
  Robbery

Note: Modern sources list the film's title as Wages of Sin and list the following additional cast members: Sylvia Birdsong, William A. Clayton, Jr., Katherine Noisette, Alice B. Russell, William Baker, Bessie Gibbens, Gertrude Snelson and Ethel Smith. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
ChiDef   8 Dec 1928   p. 6.
New York Age   2 Feb 1929   p. 6.

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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.
 
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