After selling his family’s cotton crop, Zeke is lured by the seductive dancer Chick into a craps game where he loses all the money to conman Hot Shot, who has loaded the dice. Zeke tries to get his money back. He pulls a gun and fires into the crowd, accidently killing his own younger brother. Grief and remorse drive Zeke to become a revivalist preacher. Even Chick gets religion and is baptised by him. But just when he believes he has found happiness with her, Hot Shot reappears … King Vidor’s first talkie is, in essence, an oratory. Rhythmically underpinned by traditional spirituals and blues music, Hallelujah explores the conflict between religion and sexuality, juxtaposing religious frenzy and sexual advances. The passion and expressiveness of the actors, an all African-American cast fascinated European audiences, while it was more than just the actors’ skin colour that was a provocation to the white American public. It would be more than 20 years – until Ruby Gentry – that a White American woman would be allowed to express her sexual drive so openly in a King Vidor film.
by King Vidor
with Daniel L. Haynes, Nina Mae McKinney, William Fountaine, Harry Gray, Fanny Belle DeKnight, Everett McGarrity, Victoria Spivey, Milton Dickerson, Robert Couch, Walter Tait
USA 1929 English 100’ Black/White Rating R12


  • Daniel L. Haynes
  • Nina Mae McKinney
  • William Fountaine
  • Harry Gray
  • Fanny Belle DeKnight
  • Everett McGarrity
  • Victoria Spivey
  • Milton Dickerson
  • Robert Couch
  • Walter Tait


Director King Vidor
Screenplay Wanda Tuchock
Story King Vidor, Richard Schayer
Dialogue Ransom Rideout
Cinematography Gordon Avil
Editing Hugh Wynn, Anson Stevenson
Sound Douglas Shearer
Art Director Cedric Gibbons
Costumes Henrietta Frazer
Assistant Directors Robert A. Golden, Harold Garrison

Produced by

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew’s, Inc.) (King Vidor’s production)

Additional information

Print: Warner Bros. Pictures Germany, Hamburg