Hallelujah! (1929)

After 3 days, I just finished viewing the all-black cast film Hallelujah! starring sexy Nina Mae McKinney.  I had just heard of McKinney a few months ago.  As Halle Berry’s role of Dorothy Dandridge helped reintroduce us to Ms. Dandridge’s beauty and talent, perhaps one day a film about McKinney will be made reintroducing her to the masses.

Frankly I found Hallelujah! boring. One reason being, I’m not religious.  The main characters were fighting with their belief in Jesus and their inner sexual demons.  Nevertheless I’m  a film geek so I had to watch the film from start to finish.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not that boring.  It’s an interesting watch considering the time period.  This film was not a black production for specifically black audiences as many black films of the 20s, 30s, and 40s were.  It was made for the general American audience. King Vidor, the director, was even Oscar-nominated.  Can you image the historical significance if he had won?  It’s still a milestone in black American history in my opinion.

The acting was good.  The leading man, Daniel L. Haynes appears to have a short film acting career. Nina Mae McKinney, on the other hand, had a career lasting into the late 40s. Notable “mainstream” films include Dark Waters and Pinky. She was a gorgeous triple threat (singer, dancer, actress) signed to an MGM contract.  Unfortunately her roles were very limited.  She never got to achieve the stardom of a Jean Harlow or Alice Faye.  She does, however, deserve recognition.  She paved the way for the likes of Dorothy Dandridge and Halle Berry.

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