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, 35 mm Rating R12

With

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

Crew

DirectorKing Vidor
ScreenplayWanda Tuchock
StoryKing Vidor, Richard Schayer
DialogueRansom Rideout
CinematographyGordon Avil
EditingHugh Wynn, Anson Stevenson
SoundDouglas Shearer
Art DirectorCedric Gibbons
CostumesHenrietta Frazer
Assistant DirectorsRobert 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

King Vidor

Filmography (selection)

1919 The Turn in the Road; Lost film 1925 The Big Parade (Die große Parade) 1928 The Crowd (Ein Mensch der Masse) 1929 Hallelujah 1934 Our Daily Bread (Der letzte Alarm) 1938 The Citadel 1940 Northwest Passage (Nordwest-Passage) 1947 Duel in the Sun (Duell in der Sonne) 1949 The Fountainhead (Ein Mann wie Sprengstoff) 1956 War and Peace (Krieg und Frieden) 1959 Solomon and Sheba (Salomon und die Königin von Saba)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020