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. —IMDb
King Wallis Vidor (February 8, 1894 – November 1, 1982) was an acclaimed American film director whose career spanned nearly seven decades.
He was born in Galveston, Texas, where he survived the great Galveston Hurricane of 1900. His grandfather, Charles Vidor, was a refugee of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 who settled in Galveston in the early 1850s.
A freelance newsreel cameraman and cinema projectionist, he made his debut as a director in 1913 with Hurricane in Galveston. In Hollywood from 1915, he worked on a variety of film-related jobs before directing a feature film, The Turn in the Road, in 1919. A successful mounting of Peg o’ My Heart in 1922 got him a long term contract with Goldwyn Studios, later to be absorbed into MGM. Three years later he made The Big Parade, among the most acclaimed war films of the silent era, and a tremendous commercial success. This success established him as one of MGM’s top studio directors for the next decade. In 1928, Vidor received… read more
While the bits about the exaggerated sexuality of the black male are undeniably racist, the film as a whole is fascinating. Part morality play, part documentary and part wishful folkloric nostalgia, the lighting, the stilted acting and the organic music all work together to produce an atmosphere like in no other film I know.
It's so awesome watching a movie like "Hallelujah" that wears its melodramatic heart on its sleeve, and yet avoids mawkishness and is actually quite moving. That's helped along by some absolutely fabulous music, like "At The End of the Road." Nina Mae McKinney as the teasing hussy Chick is an instant favorite, and Haynes is a commanding presence, both in his regular dialogue and his singing, as the man who can't seem to keep himself on the straight and narrow until the bodies pile up. That was actually the only thing "wrong" with "Hallelujah," that the ending wasn't nearly as severe as you would expect. An endearing musical that features some quality acting, absolutely fabulous music and a vivacious energy that keeps it from seeming at all "aged." The production values are understandably dated, but this movie's spirit and energy carry over incredibly well to the present, 81 years after "Hallelujah" was released. NOTES: The music *accompanies* the action in this movie, so no need to worry about all the story and dialogue being stated through song. I'd say it's a 65/35 split, dialogue over music. Also, that still above was not in the movie. The actor on the left does play Zeke, but he is never threatened with a long rifle.