The Blood of Jesus (1941) by Spencer Williams

Sunday, April 21, 1985, 8:00 pm

The Early Black Independent Film — II


800 Chestnut Street

San Francisco, CA, 94133

Ulmer’s Moon Over Harlem

William’s Blood of Jesus

Blood of Jesus (1941), 50 min., written, directed and produced by Spencer Williams — Amos ‘n Andy’s “Kingfish” was also a highly talented and committed filmmaker, who made several powerful religious melodramas while he was establishing an acting career. Williams stopped at nothing in reaching for impact (including using footage from ‘found’ films he acquired), and his films achieve a level of Buñuel-like obsession and grotesqueness. Blood… is an allegory about a small rural town in an uproar when a sinful husband accidentally shoots his newly-baptized wife.

Moon Over Harlem (1939), 75 min., directed by Edgar Ulmer — A recently rediscovered film produced with Black money, starring an all-Black cast, and directed by immigrant maverick director Ulmer (The Black Cat, Detour, and several Yiddish musicals). Incest and corruption within a wealthy family are set against the background of mid-1930s Harlem.